#Y4AGRI is the banner youth engagement initiative of SEARCA. Guided by the principle of "by the youth, for the youth, and with the once youth," the program aims to nurture young people as partners and leaders for agricultural innovation.
SEARCA's Young Forces for Agricultural Innovation (#Y4AGRI), through the cohort of the SEARCA Youth Ambassadors Platform (SAYAP), brings the Southeast Asian Youth Fest (SYF) to gather stakeholders, especially young people, from across Southeast Asia to tackle the state and directions of food security in the region. The event aligns to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly on goal numbers 2, 9, 12, 13, and 17.
Taking off from this year's International Youth Day theme, "Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages," #Y4AGRI designed SYF to be intergenerational. It begins with a Regional Youth Forum (virtual and open to the public) hosted under the SEARCA Online Learning and Virtual Engagements (SOLVE) platform to initiate discussion between the 'youth' and with the 'once youth'. The second part features a Southeast Asian food exhibition (onsite and by-invitation) to further promote awareness and appreciation of food—the way we produce, prepare, and consume it. Young SEARCA scholars and youth partners will be engaged in this learning event.
In its third year, the video contest rebrands to SEARCA Youth Stories Competition to welcome a new variety of agriculture-related themes wherein the Southeast Asian youth contribute significantly. SEARCA Youth Stories Competition aims to realize the challenges and adversities that the youth in agriculture experienced or are experiencing and gather their solutions and actions. This video contest can serve as an avenue for the youth in agriculture to speak their minds, tell their stories, and be heard.
This year's theme, Amplifying Voices of Youth Agripreneurs, aims to highlight the potential of youth in debunking the connotation that agriculture is confined to planting crops under the sun's blazing heat, by positioning it as an enjoyable activity, an advocacy, and/or a viable career option. The video entries feature success stories of youth who delved into agricultural or social entrepreneurship, not only focusing on agricultural production but on other ventures along the value chain.
The Virtual Youth Camp (VYC) camp is designed to enable youth perspectives on challenges and solutions in the agri-food system amidst and post-pandemic. On the first VYC, there were 21 Filipino youth representatives from the academe, business, civil society, and government sectors who shared insights on navigating the agri-food system and engaging the youth on it.
A campfire session featured two UN Food Systems Champions to talk about their narratives in agriculture and the role of young people in transforming the food systems.
#Y4AGRI aims to work for and work with out-of-school and in-school youth from school children and high school students to university students and young professionals (kiddies to yuppies).
The program's strategies and activities revolve around four pillars:
Develop platforms promoting a transformative mindset in agriculture, particularly among children and youth in farming families and communities.
Improve youth access to information, technologies, and skills enhancement opportunities in modern agriculture.
Enhance youth participation in program and policy discussions on issues and opportunities for accelerating agricultural transformation.
Recognize and support emerging youth leaders and groups advocating for youth led innovations in Southeast Asian agriculture.
The SEARCA Youth Ambassadors Platform (SAYAP) is an internal youth empowerment platform for young SEARCA staff to:
Provide opportunities for professional skills development.
Enhance youth leadership and participation to the design and implementation of SEARCA programs and activities of the 11th FYP.
SAYAP is a walk-the-talk initiative of SEARCA by engaging the "young ones" of SEARCA's workforce both from the program and administrative sectors of the Center. SAYAP members are provided with opportunities to enhance their skills, learn from the "once young" and take the lead in some activities that are by-the-youth, for-the-youth, and with-the-once-youth.
SAYAP organizes SEARCArunungan para sa SEARCAbataan an internal dialogue by and for the SEARCA Young Ones with the SEARCA Young Once. The dialogue is a conversational space to enable knowledge exchanges on topics that are essential for the youth's professional and personal development, as well as to gather youth perspectives on SEARCA's programs and activities.
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