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Geek & Agriculture Lovers-for-ever celebrate their 1st #GCARD2 anniversary

28 October, Online

FB post - GCARD2 AnniversaryAll day long my FACEBOOK news feed has been happily buzzed by “Love” messages. The group of young professionals we had put together for what became a once-in-a-Lifetime-social reporting experience, were celebrating! It was all natural that they use social media as their party ground. That is without mentioning that they are all spread all around the world - from Trinidad and Tobago going through Nigeria, the Netherlands, to China and beyond!

One year ago exactly, on the 28 October 2012, these young social media enthusiasts were kicking off the social reporting of GCARD2, a big global conference for agricultural research for development organized in Uruguay by GFAR. Yes, you got me well and there is no trick: “geeks” and “agriculture” can be used in the same sentence with no false note.

And they proved it! After 2days training on social media and social reporting prior to the event, not only did they rock it all on-site with blogging, tweeting, facebooking, flickering etc, in order to share the outcomes of the GCARD2 with the World and thus include more people into the discussions - Read more ;

No; the magic’s of this team is particularly in the way they brought forward what they learned during this one-time event to build and strengthen their OWN initiatives back home. Two months after the GCARD2, they had made social media baby projects all around the world. Read more: If agriculture is an aging profession, we need to make some changes.  

One year; has all died since then? You bet it did? You’d guess it wrong! Here are some very few examples of how these young professionals carried on their social media, networking and communications activities initiated from what they had learned at the GCARD2.

The 6th African Science Week’s large young social reporters’ group beat the outreach records!  The young woman at the centre of this was Idowu Ejere, Ghana/Nigeria, from FARA, and… a GCARD2 Social reporting trainee! Learn more. YPARD took part in the organization of this, strong from the GCARD2 experience and the team of social media lovers built then. More here.

Dinesh Panday, from Nepal, focused on exploiting the great impact of national daily newspapers, as a medium  for giving better awareness about youth in agriculture’s related issues . See his articles here, here, here and here! We also loved his testimonial as featured story on Farming Matters : Youth and agriculture: It's up to us . After GCARD2, Dinesh also became YPARD Nepal country representative and conducted a YPARD Awareness campaign in ALL agriculture related universities of Nepal – KUDOS!! Learn more! Knowing the benefit of working as a team and a network, he then built a strong YPARD Nepal working team of local representatives.

Machteld Schoolenberg, from the Netherlands, is now working at IFAD HQ in Rome on Geo-Information Systems in the Environment and Climate division. One of the first things she did when arriving is to integrate IFAD’s Social Reporters Team. She got addicted in trying more Social Media tools since GCARD2 : Foursquare, Flipboard, Storify etc ; Tumblr and WordPress blogs; and her paperli built during GCARD2 is still up and running! She also gave several presentations on the benefits of Social Media for organisations at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment (NLs) and the Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and gave individual 'workshops'/brainstorm sessions to 10-20 colleagues and friends to work with social media in a professional way.

Myriam Perez Dumoulin, from Spain/France, advocates about the power of social media and its usefulness for youth who are willing to work in agriculture. She is notably responsible for a course at the university and she is willing to orientate it towards "Social Media to improve employability"

Codrin Paveliuc-Olariu, Romania/Belgium, customized his blog on food security and social media with 190+ blogposts up so far; he built a proposal for a "Digital Agricultural Communications" Master programme - now in discussions with 4 European universities for a possible implementation; he developed a proposal for a new corporate communications service for rapid issue management - now in discussions with 2 investment funds for seed funding; he organized 3 #Youth2Ag Twitter chats on youth in agriculture. Learn more on storify. Also, he gave approximately 50 presentations on food security, social media, youth in agriculture.

Federico Sanchez, Costa Rica, is contributing to the implementation of VIVO: an online platform for linking better scientists in agriculture. Learn more at

Olawale Ojo, Nigeria,  became YPARD country representative, and through this new responsibility held an Awareness meeting at Kogi State University, and gave a training on the use of Social Media (FEB 2013) such as a presentation on the role of Social media to the IITA Youth Agripreneurs (September 2013). He took part in the Africa Speakers Dialogue on Food security in Kenya with Emmie Kio and a new team of YPARD Social Media enthusiasts, in the #AASW6 and the CAADP-KIS workshop both in Accra Ghana. Meanwhile, he carried on developing his own initiative: Agropreneur Naija now has a Facebook page, with more and more interactions on twitter and a revamped blog : AgropeneurNaija –The Blog. Also held the #cooltofarm tweetmeet in about 3 occasions.

Sridhar Gutam, India, is continuing his mission as YPARD India representative and his Open Access India activities. He participated in Science Forum 2013 at Bonn, Germany as a sponsored early career participant, benefitting from a great mentorship programme through the event. He also participated in the Regional Workshop on Youth and Agriculture at Islamabad, Pakistan and is working in buidling YPARD network in Pakistan.

Keron Bascombe, Trinidad and Tobago, upgraded his blog and  is seeking to transform it into a full social enterprise, promoting agriculture, agri youth, ICTs and other technologies in agriculture. He also continued as a freelance writer and blogger, has been a National Youth Award winner in Agriculture (3rd place) and became YPARD representative for Trinidad and Tobago.

They are still, all, part of the GCARD2 Online Social Media Team now re-baptized YPARD-SMT (write at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you want to join us! -) . They thus carry on being active as online social media support team for key events in agricultural development. You can find them here and there as LinkedIn Coordinator or team member working on Flicker account’ s management for the 6th African Agricultural Science Week, Slideshare coordinator for GLFCOP19, but also as suppport team at the ICT4AG event organized by CTA, or “simply” tweeting remotely to cover the different events happening in all regions of the world.

Funny enough – on this very specific period, we are eagerly working on what will be “THE” YPARD Global “event-of-the-year” for 2013, with a quite different concept from GCARD2. With CIFOR and CCAFS, the organizers of the Global Landscapes Forum to be held at the side of UNFCC COP19 2013 - and Peter Casier, THE knowledge broker at the heart of all the above mentioned events - we are putting in place a TEDx-style session where 11 young  professionals will take the stage for delivering inspirational speeches based on their own story as young professionals in agriculture or related areas (environment, fisheries etc etc). The youth session will be – once again – strongly geared on social media and online presence, with a combination of web casting, twitter string etc! Check the Youth session's landing page for the full programme!

GCARD2 Social reporting team is the root of an organic movement growing and growing again, for reaching out more and more young people and get them involved – with fun and pride - in the field of agriculture. “There are millions of young people out there that need to get a voice and get involved; how do we reach and include them?”, Federico stressed, during the GCARD2. Big task it is, Federico, but I think we are going towards the good direction! Don’t you think so?

Youth presence at GCARD2 didn't include the social reporting programme only. Learn more about how the youth took a key role in the global conference for agricultural research for development. Check "Youth and the GCARD2 report".

Youth and Ag workshop in Pakistan - my thoughts
A Young Farmer’s Vision

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