Youth involvement in agriculture and rural development through ICTs, has recently been on a rise in ACP countries. Among the factors that have attributed to this development is the penetration and adoption of ICT in these regions. Across the agricultural sector, ICT tools and processes have facilitated various Agricultural Value Chain stages to yield sustainable growth. More so, the integration of ICT innovations has brought about a paradigm shift in Finance for Agriculture.
While this development remains of great importance to the ACP regions and the world over, the dissemination and exchange of information on best practices, emerging innovations, challenges and opportunities remains an important aspect of sustained development in the sector. The sharing of this stipulated information and knowledge through the use of Social Media has proven to be successful. With ambitious youth and ICT, in particular digital media enthusiastic generation, social media is a fast growing medium of knowledge sharing, a practice which has seen an increase in the engagement of youth in agriculture and rural development.
In the eyes of this development, I have seen my career re-alignment, and in its wings, my career growth. I am one of the on-site Social Reporters for the Fin4Ag Conference, which is taking place from 14 -18 July 2014, in Nairobi, Kenya.
Right from the economic heart of Zambia, the Copperbelt Province, I am a young ICT for Development (ICT4D) enthusiast and Tech-Social Entrepreneur working in the area of promoting increased and effective use of ICTs for agriculture, youth and rural development, in Zambia, and the Southern African region.
With an education background in Information Technology, I have been part of several social reporting teams for the past years, including the ICT4Ag Conference organised by CTA and its partners in November 2013. As an on-site reporter, my experience at the ICT4Ag Conference was a successful and life-changing one. I saw and experienced how ICTs and in particular, Social Media can be successfully used to engage youth in agriculture and rural development.
For the past 5 years, I have among other duties, been working on various media tasks, mainly charged with the task of facilitating knowledge sharing among Public Access Centre/Telecentre Managers and stakeholders in Southern Africa as part of my work at Southern Africa Telecentre Network (SATNET). My work has become so relevant to Youth, ICT, Agriculture and Rural Development, following SATNET’s focus on these sectors.
Social Reporting at the Fin4Ag Conference is yet another exciting opportunity for me. It is not just about writing but a learning and practice opportunity, to learn how to effectively, efficiently, sustainably and innovatively communicate and share information and knowledge to enhance Agricultural Value Chains and in particular Finance for Agriculture, especially for smallholder farmers. It is an opportunity for me to understand how to communicate more efficiently so as to ensure the cycle of a value chain marketing system is not interrupted, a process that would see farmers linked to consumers’ needs, working closely with suppliers and processors to produce the specific goods consumers demand, and through flows of information and products, ensure consumers are linked to the needs of farmers, and as a result reduce poverty and improve livelihoods.
I am looking forward to give the best of myself for this new social reporting assignment and collaboratively fit into our team, to ensure my excellent contribution to the dissemination of information at the conference and engagement of participants onsite and remotely in the deliberations of the conference, using various Social Media tools, skills and knowledge that will be at my disposal.
The time is really ripe for the paradigm shift in Agricultural Finance, and this time around for the revolution to be showcased in the eyes of Social Media.
Blogpost by Simon Wandila, Social Reporter for the Fin4Ag Conference.