In an era where population, technologies and modernization are fast growing, meeting up with the basic food needs of the population worldwide is one of the greatest challenges nations and international institutions are witnessing nowadays.
Agriculture is paving the way as a niche of development in African, Carribean and the Pacific countries while developed countries are giving a hand to achieve the development goals outlined throughout the globe. Heeding to the will and working with disabled families, I had to improve their nutritional and food security status, through their agricultural practices for a better livelihood conditions, marked my existence for life and made me dive deep in this sector.
From appreciation to inspiration
Solely oriented on plant biotechnology at University level, a “life changing” experience marked my future career during the implementation of my Master II research projects at a far remote rural community in my home country Cameroon. A forested camp with 300 square meters distance from each camp with no lights or network could definitely be termed as the “worst place to be” for an urban person like me. Nevertheless, with adaptation and practices, living in the midst of the poor and disabled families I met on site nurtured my being and changed my perception of life. A year of experience made me realize that the bulk of efforts is still to be done so as to mitigate hunger, achieve efficient and effective food security, value sustainable agriculture and render such goals accessible to the very grassroots populations.
From then henceforth, I have become a youth advocate massively contributing to the achievement of this goal through ICTs, digital communication (Web 2.0 and Social Media), knowledge management, Agricultural Extension and Rural Advisory Services for agriculture, came up to be my nowadays core fields of interest.
Time and engagement for experience acquisition/capitalization
Working with the national confederation of cocoa farmers in Cameroon has taught me the need to be present at all times for the needy furnishing them with the appropriate skills and knowledge and venturing with them throughout their agricultural process of production if I am to expect a valuable end result. With around 20 farmers organizations and nearly 10,000 farmers at the rural community-based level to supervise, support, train and inform it was indeed a mighty challenge. Changing mindsets to nurture a feeling of professionalization, business approach and living standard improvement, wasn’t easy especially considering farmers who seemed focused solely on cultivating for self-sufficiency purposes. In the Cameroonian context, around 90% of farmers have no idea of how beneficial the usage of a GPS within agricultural practices can be an added value for precision agriculture. It was interesting to hear their appreciation after they were taught how to use them. Nevertheless, running behind these set of people all the time, remaining connected and being in tandem with their socio-cultural practices is always a pleasant exercise as long as the goals and objectives are set in accordance with their needs.
#YouthsinSDGs: Resonant voices to be heard
Aware of the challenges and important issues to address that shall contribute to ensuring an inclusive and context driven achievement of the sustainable development goals, all actors of change and development practitioners are to work “hand-in-gloves”. Such a synergy in thoughts and actions will definitely contribute to the sustainability of our world and its ecosystems giving the opportunity for future generations to live long and develop future prospects for their followers. In that sense, youth can’t be left behind. Coupled with their creativity and high solution-oriented abilities and capabilities, they have to showcase their interest and concern for the future through active participation and collaboration in the definition of roadmaps, dissemination of information about ongoing events and resolutions taken, volunteers in the executions of action plans where and when necessary. These can be achieved via networking on Dgroups or live participation. I’ve participated in various agricultural related events, notably the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services in 2016, the Regional workshop of RESCAR-AOC 2016, the 1st Central African Regional Forum of Cassava, organized by the CTA (Wrap-up link ) and more are upcoming to defend their interest youth in SDGs in particular SDG 2.
Let’s be the wind that wipes out the burden future generations may encounter if our world is left on its own as it is currently. Cause from the glory and well-being of the generation upcoming shall come our salvation.
This testimonial by Marc Ghislain is part of YPARD's showcase on young people and the Sustainable Development Goals.