On Monday, April 24, YAI co-founder Emily Kennedy spent the day in Soroti meeting with local government and a few young farmers to discuss the importance of youth in agriculture and how the current growing season has been shaping up so far.
Meeting in Awaliwal Parish, Emily met with Gweri sub-county LC3 Chairman, Hon. Peter Ebau, LC1 Chairman, Hon. John Odela, and local councilor, Hon. Richard Aporu, as well as young farmers Lydia and Emmanuel. Each shared insights into the struggle to engage youth in agriculture and in general. They also discussed how they felt YAI’s program would benefit the area.
The themes that came up throughout these discussions were the possibility for building capacity and generating income. It was also noted that agricultural success leads to empowerment of the individual, which is further passed on to the community, at large. Using the income derived from agricultural sales were also noted as being used to pay for school fees, medications and other forms of medical treatment, improvement of the household diet – or more specifically, a healthier, more balanced diet – and future investments.
The latter was a welcomed response and discussion, given that many are struggling to provide more than one meal a day, or affording school fees for children. Therefore, the idea of being able to save and invest in land, livestock or other agricultural inputs and/or equipment, or any other form of security was a positive sign.
Lydia focused much of her portion of the discussion on the youth perspective, and aired concern for the many idle youth she sees around her parish. She believes agriculture is the best way to curb this trend, indicating when young people have a job or purpose they can no longer be idle. It was great to have a female voice on hand, as well.
Following the discussions, a short video was made, which will be published next week.
The visit, although short, proved to be very positive. Support for the program is felt throughout the sub-county, with many community members willing to participate in forthcoming discussions about curriculum, participant selection, and a number of other aspects related to programmatic development. YAI looks forward to working with these community members and within the Gweri sub-county.