Networking between youth, ICT and extension for a better agriculture

30 Mar 2017 by Asmita Nagila

Nepal is a developing country where different national and international organizations have been facilitating means for youth and other organizations for to contribute to the overall socioeconomic development of the country. The Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Extension Services (INGENAES) has been a great organization for working and creating an environment for other organizations to work on gender and nutrition issue relating to agricultural extension services. YPARD Nepal is grateful to INGENAES for providing us opportunities to participate and learn in different events.

On 20th-22nd of  March 2017 INGENAES conducted a workshop in enhancing nutrition-sensitive agriculture through ICT and youth engagement in Kathmandu, Nepal. Nikita Bhusal, the YPARD Nepal communications officer and I, Asmita Nagila (Regional coordinator) were honored to be invited to participate in this workshop.

Pre-workshop activities

Before the workshop was officially open we attended a pre-workshop activity on 20th March 2017, at the Bakery café, Lalitpur where we got to introduce ourselves and interact with all the workshop participants. Among the 14 participants present, we got to know each other and the organizations we have been working on and were representing. I was very excited to see experts from different fields as the contributors in this workshop.

Workshop- day one

The first day of the workshop was facilitated by Mark Bell, PhD atUniversity of California-Davis. It was a great learning opportunity for us to have Dr. Bell at the workshop as he is an expert on agriculture extension and ICTs. In addition to Dr. Bell, Nancy Erbstein, PhD, an expert in human ecology working on youth engagement in development was also one of the workshop facilitators on the first day. As a youth/young professional, I got impressing insights from Dr. Erbstein about the youth engagement.

Ms. Kabita Devkota, Country Coordinator of INGENAES Nepal was there to help us in all the activities and different phases of the workshop. The first phase was focused on panel discussions. In the first panel discussion about nutrition sensitive message, we came across questions such as: where do we stand in nutrition base and what could be done further? And realized that these questions can only be answered by knowing where we stand.

In the second panel, we discussed the use of ICT’s in agriculture and who are the real subscribers or the users of ICT’s in agriculture. Different ICT experts were included in this discussion. The panel was more focused on how we can change people’s negative perception about agriculture through the use of ICT. In the third panel discussion, experts from different youth organization were included who discussed and brought forward points about their organizations and their role in development. In fourth panel discussion was carried out by using the extension example followed by panel members. I, myself was also a member of this panel where we discussed the extension example and strong points to consider for a successful extension.

The most interesting thing about the panel discussions was the presence of people from diverse field as an expert of their field themselves brought different agendas, problems and strengths in consideration which made the learning even more effective.  In these various discussions, we also got the opportunity to share YPARD Nepal’s past events and plans with other participants. Everyone was supportive of the YPARD Nepal activities. Next session of the workshop included division of groups where we had to discuss and prepare a group project plan.

Workshop- day two: Food, projects and more

The second day started with a quite interesting breakfast with Nepali traditional food ‘fapar ko roti.’ after which we started with the first session of the day, focused on presenting the prepared group projects. Three groups prepared different projects each unique in their own way. The first group (my group) developed a project related to urban gardening which received much compliments.

The second group prepared a project about the ‘Food plate’ which targeted women and rural people for the nutrition enhancement, it was quite impressive. The third and final group presented their project on ‘Agri-hub in Kathmandu Valley’ focused on the all-around development of agriculture. In my opinion, each individual project was great and had a compelling message.

After lunch, Dr. Bell gave remarks about all the projects and pitching of the project ideas among us, which was inspirational. Later evaluation of the workshop was carried out and closing remarks was given by Dr. Erbstein. It was such a nice gesture of the organizers to bid us goodbye with chocolates.

The workshop was indeed a great one. As a youth, I always see myself playing a role in the reshaping of a sensible agriculture. This workshop has given me clarity about how I can utilize my youth power in it. We got to establish networks among diverse people from diverse backgrounds which was necessary for each of us. This workshop conducted by INGENAES has been fruitful to me and I hope this network will be used for the development of a nutritive and sensitive agriculture incorporating ICT’s in the future. I am thankful to INGENAES and YPARD Nepal for giving me this opportunity of learning and networking with experts of different fields.

Picture credit: Asmita Nagila