Pius Hiwe, Youth-Leader Communications Champion, Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), speaks about communication for effective youth inclusion at the SIANI Annual Meeting 2020 held in Sweden.
You can now watch the video and read the presentation script in a chronological sequence.
What does the communications officer of a youth network with over 18,000 registered young professionals in 70 countries across the globe have to say about:
Youth communication and networking?
And ideas for policymakers, organizations and others who are not youth can do to enhance these two concepts for the youth?
Well I have this to say:
Dont mistake legibility for communication
Sometimes we often perceive communication as a monologue rather than a dialogue or an act of engagement. Often policymakers and related stakeholders think they are connecting with the youth but only to realize theyve been immersed in their own echo.
In a recent meeting with one of YPARDs major stakeholders, the representative asked a similar question: how do we engage rural youth on agricultural issues? Then proceeded to say: We have well-outlined reports and findings on thematic issues related to agriculture and rural youth I simply interrupted with a question: On the average, how many pages are these reports? I can still remember the assertive tone in his voice when he said: At least each report is approximately 30 pages and we have over a 100 of these! I know my math is not as good as Einstein but, you will agree with me on this - that is a little above 3000 pages and that should take an average RURAL youth 3 minutes to read. Pardon my use of sarcasm here.
Little wonder an average rural youth can remember pages of musical lyrics and not one abstract from a report. Maybe there is something about engagement that musicians understand Dont get me wrong please, Im not advocating that policymakers should form the next QUEEN or Cold Play band and start making hit records (even though the thought of that sounds interesting).
And this leads me to the next thing I have to say
Personally, Im highly motivated by these images to get married as soon as possible (pardon me again for my use of sarcasm here too).
Well, aside from my personal inspiration from this (pointing to the slide)
The second critical lesson from this is: In communication, speaking (or as you can see from the images, shouting) is just the start, engagement is the heart and listening points you in the right path.
Speaking from and of the heart, I mean engagement, allow me to share a few lessons we learnt at YPARD:
From YPARD Kenya: The chapter (in collaboration with FAO, USAID & GIZ) played a very vital role in developing Kenyas Youth in Agribusiness Strategy which feeds into the overarching Government of Kenyas National Agriculture Policy. The journey to achieving this success story and the strategy document can be accessed on the YPARD news and E-library section.
This was achieved by consulting and NETWORKING with youth groups involved in the agricultural value chain in Kenya.
Mentoring Toolkit: This toolkit synthesizes a decade of learnings and resources from agriculture and forestry mentoring programs implemented by Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), the International Forestry Students Association (IFSA) and African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD).
This toolkit was developed as part of a GFAR Collective Action and has been funded by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and the European Union.
This 193-page document containing 12 modules and 17 appendixes was communicated through engaging videos on YouTube, blog posts, compressed 1-pager executive summary and on all social media platforms.
Lastly, as I conclude my very long presentation (at this point Im not sure if this is sarcasm or irony)
Before I leave you with this adage from Eastern Africa, the question that comes to mind begging to be considered is: can policymakers, other related stakeholders and the youth learn the art of collaboration from musicians and start making record hits of sustainable impacts in the lives of rural youth?
Because . "what you do for the youth without them, you do to them"