At the occasion of YPARD 10 years, YPARD Country representative: Sokhna Rokhaya GAYE tells how she got involved with YPARD, how YPARD Senegal shaped up to become a strong YPARD Chapter and how it benefited her personally.
Freshly graduated with a Master's degree in sociology, I was still looking for my way in 2012. Like any early bird researcher, I had many study topics in mind. I was reluctant to carrying on with health issues, HIV and homosexuality, by fear of unfunded social stigmatization. Gender and Conflict? The postwar societies? I questioned myself for a long time. But I finally found my way when, on December 10, 2012, I discovered YPARD.
How did I discover YPARD?
It all started with a training I made hazardously with CTA and the AUF. This was a call for applications for a Learning Opportunity on Web 2.0 and social media in Dakar and Saint-Louis (Senegal). It was in October 2012, when I was timidly beginning to do research on value chains. I did not know what it was exactly.
I applied to the call without much conviction. But I know that my expression of interest to follow the training was very solid. I received the confirmation of my participation in this Web 2.0 training which was to connect me to the great YPARDian family. An email transferred to the web2 for Dev group by Nawsheen caught my attention and redirected me at www.ypard.net .
And YPARD Senegal?
Interested, with the desire to be fully committed, I sought contacts of the YPARD representative in Senegal. But there wasn’t any at that time. I thus wrote this short email to firstname.lastname@example.org: "Hello, My name is Sokhna Rokhaya GAYE. I am a Senegalese doing research in the field of agriculture. I discovered YPARD, this morning, through Nawsheen’s blog and I registered on ypard.net. I would like to know how to be representative of YPARD in Senegal in order to play a role in the development of agriculture."
YPARD Senegal was then officially established six months later, after some exchanges and outreach activities made at the University Gaston Berger of Saint Louis, my university. It was followed by a series of campaigns in some agricultural areas, like in Louga, Kaffrine, Thies etc. These campaigns attracted youth commitment with YPARD Senegal in the Senegal River Valley and in other regions of Senegal
The impression and the positive image that its members give to agriculture justifies the importance of YPARD’s work: this perception attracts more young and retains them in the sector of agriculture. With YPARD, agriculture has a new look, for young students in Senegal and even for rural development professionals who re-discover their attachment to "earth" again, after abandoning it for many years. Furthermore, the importance of YPARD leans in the power of networking.
Partnership: a strong aspect of YPARD Senegal
University Gaston Berger opened its doors from the early days of YPARD Senegal. Our partnerships have expanded. Among the institutions that collaborate with YPARD Senegal, we mainly count: l’Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR), West and Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research and Development (WECARD) and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), among others.
In his new project "Rice offensive" to be held in Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Nigeria, WECARD took YPARD as a strategic partner to ensure better integration of young people in the said project.
This partnership building, YPARD Senegal has not limited it to itself. It puts other African representatives in contact with other institutions for a better integration of young people in their program.
YPARD Senegal is also active in social reporting with a dynamic team. Members of YPARD have become agricultural entrepreneurs and qualified to receive trainees and volunteers from the Peace Corps in their agricultural perimeter. Also, through our partnership with IPAR, YPARD members who are students have received training to better develop their research skills.
YPARD: my inspiration, motivation and discovery
I found YPARD a great source of inspiration and motivation. Personally, my experience was enhanced with YPARD, my network has expanded and my opportunities have multiplied, at all levels: nationally, regionally and internationally, for someone who was still searching for its way.
With YPARD, I discovered other cultures and other ways of living.
I couldn’t mention everything YPARD brought me in terms of capacity building and networking.
Dieureudieuf YPARD! (“Thanks” in my National language: Wolof)
YPARD, a federal movement
Directly or indirectly, YPARD is the gateway for many young people to enter the agricultural sector. YPARD understood what could seduce young to attract them to agriculture and it started on time! Any young person feels at home at YPARD. YPARD made agriculture attractive to young people. With its international scope, YPARD must unite all youth movements focusing on the agricultural cause. What YPARD has done in 10 years, through volunteerism and commitment, can hardly be found as successful in any organization. Very proud to be a ypardian.
YPARD ca ca kaw Kanam rek! (Always on top, always stronger, always further)
Read other testimonials and celebrate YPARD 10 years with us; stay tuned at www.ypard.net/10years