YALTA Topical Deep Dive Sessions
The Youth in Agroecology and Business Learning Track Africa (YALTA initiative) in close collaboration with its partners, organised a series of topical deep dive sessions to strengthen coalition activities on a wide range of topics. The sessions brought together key stakeholders to deliberate on how partners can strengthen youth participation in agroecology, through policy development and increased attention for agroecology in research and education.
More than 90 participants including young people, representatives from civil society organisations, farmer associations, private companies and research, took part in the sessions across the four countries involved in the Yalta initiative. An overview of some of the key discussion points is detailed below:
Rwanda Deep Dive Session
Based on the findings of the policy brief developed in Rwanda on “increasing the attention for agroecology in research and inclusion of agroecology in the agricultural education curriculum in Rwanda”, the topical deep dive participants discussed a wide range of solutions to mainstream agroecology in research and education. One of the key topics discussed was the notable gap between policy and what is being implemented in practice. Participants exchanged their ideas on this topic and recommended a series of solutions to address this issue.
Kenya Deep Dive Session
The Kenya topical deep-dive centered on building youth platforms for participation in agroecology policies. The meeting was primarily aimed at bringing together key stakeholders to deliberate how partners can strengthen youth participation in policy development. The ambition is to have a ‘youth in agroecology policy initiative’ that will bring partners together to pool their efforts for effective representation and participation of youth in agroecology policymaking.
During the discussions, participants identified factors which limit youth participation, such as a lack of public participation information and a lack of funding for policy development. A proposal was suggested to lobby county governments with a view to increasing youth participation in policy processes.
Uganda Deep Dive Session
In Uganda the primary objective was focussed towards providing a platform for agroecology stakeholders to discuss agroecology and youth employment, in relation to food system transformation. Stella Lutalo, the Country Coordinator of PELUM Uganda, emphasised the importance of the coalition's vision of taking agroecology and the youth agenda to the next level.
Participants contributed and identified a number of issues, including raising awareness about agroecology products and services, certifying agroecological products, financial inclusion, integrating agroecology into the education system, as well as scaling up agroecology in national policies and frameworks. Participants nominated institutions and individuals to pursue these issues in order to have a collective impact.
Ethiopia Deep Dive Session
In Ethiopia, a topical deep dive was held with the aim of creating an understanding of food systems, as well as providing a networking space for youth with other food system actors and players. The event also resulted in policy directives for increased youth participation in agriculture.
Across each of the four sessions, a series of recommended actions was identified whilst partners pledged their full support and expressed a desire to become more involved in coalition activities, to address the challenges raised. It was proposed that YALTA follows up by organising a coalition meeting to further analyse issues, prioritise them, and develop a road map.