The second edition of The MasterCard Foundation Young Africa Works Summit took place in Kigali, Rwanda and I was fortunate to be among the youth delegates selected to attend. The Summit that brought together more than 300 participants, including 47 young people, aimed at finding ways to achieve sustainable and meaningful livelihoods for youth in the agriculture sector by engaging them in conversations on the future they want.
But how did I end up here?
Sometime back last year, YPARD Malawi posted an advert on the chapter’s Facebook group. After submitting a biography in response, I was selected to attend the Summit as a youth delegate by the Malawi YPARD country representative.
My name is Jabulani Nyegere. I am a holder of Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) and working with the NEPAD Fish Node at LUANAR as a research assistant. In addition, I am also an administrative officer for Youth Action in Agriculture Development in Malawi. This program is envisaged to ensure active participation of the youth in agricultural sector under the context that they constitute the larger proportion of the population.
As a young man with a passion for agriculture, I am operating an agri-commodity business through the selling and buying of maize and beans, as well as a value addition of Irish potatoes into local crisps in Malawi. The businesses have provided employment to 15 young people. My passion for agriculture and agribusiness opened the doors to the Young Africa Works Summit.
The conference preparations started with the pre-Summit webinar sessions. The webinars helped me to better prepare for the Summit with online discussions on various conference themes. Inspired by the Summit, a seed has been planted in my life to do more in agriculture to transform my community and beyond. In fact, I have learnt so much through the success stories and the mentorship program that I am starting a piggery centre, which will give room for youth and women in my community to improve their economic activities and overall, the food security.
Indeed, nothing for the youth without the youth! The interaction, the success stories shared, and the keynote messages have strengthened me to take more action to ensure that youth are engaged in issues affecting them be it entrepreneurship, technology or policy. In this regard, I would like to thank YPARD for the opportunity to attend the Summit and may such opportunities be available to more youth who have a passion in agriculture like I do.
Photo credit: Illume for The MasterCard Foundation