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Young changemakers revolutionise scaling agroecology using video

Young changemakers

April 25, 2024 - Access Agriculture is proud to announce the release of its new book “Young changemakers,” which offers a rich diversity of perspectives and insights from real-life experiences of 42 inspiring teams of youths in Africa and India who are blazing a trail as private extension and advisory service providers promoting agroecology through farmer-to-farmer learning videos.

Each of the deeply compelling stories presented in this book sparks new ideas on how young people can drive change and create sustainable jobs that contribute to more resilient food systems.

The stories reveal not only the passion, motivation, creativity and commitment of the young changemakers to promoting agroecology and sustainable agricultural practices, but also their ability to turn their challenges into opportunities. Their impact in their communities has been profound, as evidenced by the success stories shared in this book.

“As we celebrate the achievements of these young changemakers, it is essential to recognise the critical role played by Access Agriculture in supporting and nurturing them,” writes Pierre Ferrand, FAO Agriculture Officer (Agroecology & Ecosystem Services) in the Foreword to the book. “Access Agriculture has been at the forefront of empowering rural youth to transform food systems through its innovative last-mile delivery model.”

From 2019 onwards, the organisation has empowered over 120 teams of young Entrepreneurs for Rural Access (ERAs) across 17 countries in Africa and India. Its coaching and support have been instrumental in providing the ERAs with the skills and resources needed to succeed in their endeavours. These ERAs have been equipped with a solar-powered smart projector – containing a vast library of more than 270 videos in over 100 languages – which enables them to disseminate knowledge on agroecological practices to farming communities.

“The skills of these dynamic changemakers to think outside the box of conventional development work, combined with Access Agriculture’s rich library of quality videos, have shown how youth can help mainstream agroecology in an effective and cost-effective way,” says Paul Van Mele, lead author and International Director at Access Agriculture.

Targeting their services to schools, rural clinics, youth clubs, farmer organisations and refugee settlements, over three years the ERA teams presented in the book screened agricultural training videos to nearly 200,000 people, of whom 60% were below the age of 35. The videos inspired youth, women and men farmers in many different ways, resulting in changes in how they engage in their local food systems. They also inspired women and youth to start new income-generating activities contributing to healthier and more resilient food systems.

“As the stories in this book reveal, the impact of the work of these ERAs extend beyond agricultural practices, encompassing areas such as education, health, and environmental conservation,” says Dr Van Mele. “Many ERAs combine advisory services with other businesses, such as producing and selling agroecological farm inputs, setting up food processing ventures, or creating local market outlets. Several ERAs also provided social and environmental services.”

By leveraging the power of video-mediated learning, the ERAs have been able to reach out to vulnerable communities, providing them with valuable knowledge and skills to enhance their livelihoods. This book serves as a testament to the resilience, dedication and innovative spirit of these young individuals, who have not only embraced agroecology but have also become catalysts for positive change in their communities, contributing to building a more sustainable and resilient future for all.

Young changemakers provides valuable takeaways for both aspiring and existing agripreneurs and is sure to resonate with all those who wish to support and expand this unique model of young digitally equipped extension and advisory service providers in driving meaningful change in agriculture and food systems.

A free e-version of the book can be downloaded on the Access Agriculture website: www.accessagriculture.org/our-young-entrepreneurs.

To help Access Agriculture install additional teams of young entrepreneurs across India, you can support its crowdfunding campaign, by scanning this QR code.


For more information, contact Paul Van Mele at paul@accessagriculture.org

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