Equipping young people to make a change in agriculture
This YPARD report (PDF) provides one of the first comprehensive explorations of the impact mentoring can have both on young and senior agricultural professionals. A diversity of mentoring models were studied and in early 2015, YPARD decided that to understand how mentoring can best benefit its diverse global network, a number of different approaches to mentoring should be piloted – namely face to face, virtual, blended and group/peer mentoring. This report explores the outcomes, strengths and limitations of each approach. As this report demonstrates, young people in agriculture who have received mentoring are likely to see and promote agriculture as a viable career, have increased opportunities to access funding, from seed funds to loans to scholarships, become more business savvy and are invited to meaningfully participate in important conferences and events. They are seen as role models in their communities, enabling community resilience and better farming practices, leading to more secure and diverse food supplies. The report presents case studies and data exploring the impact mentoring is having in the lives of young people. Recommendations discussed include: 1. Face to face meetings enhance mentoring relationships and require investment; 2. Relationships must have an anchor/focus but this must be flexible; 3. Take steps to address time poverty; 4. Help mentees ask for help; 5. Set a nurturing, patient and supportive group culture in all projects; 6. Training and checking in is crucial; 7. Mentees need access to funding and practical opportunities; 8. Future program management and coordination is decentralised; 9. Expand M&E design to capture longer term lessons and successes; and 10. Operate from a comprehensive and realistic budget.