Title: Igniting Change: Celebrating International Youth Day and Youth Power in Agriculture

Why you should celebrate us, the youth!

Tibenkana Denis

8/12/20234 min read


No other day gives me extra joy and peace like this day, I always want to enjoy my youthful age more than anyone, acknowledge what my peers are doing, and go beyond borders to celebrate them. There is no powerful statement in the world that gives me peace of mind than “empowering youth to create change”. We are in a generation full of highly motivated and inspiring youth who are sparkling change in society. We have a benchmark.

A few days ago, I was learning about unconscious bias against gender lenses facilitated by Dr. Diana Opollo, Gender Equality, and Social Inclusion (GESI) Advisor. I felt challenged by how we don’t consider some aspects of life that may directly hinder us from fostering humanity and gender balance, “I mean how many times do we think about what we are about to say and how it can impact the person receiving it?” Being kind to one another costs nothing, not judging from an overview point is a habit that I put into consideration as a systems thinker, but celebrating good moments achieved is part of me. Shout out to all the youth playing part in transforming agriculture in Uganda, Kaima Abubaker supporting farmers in livestock production, Atugonza Mercy supporting farmers in the Coffee value chain, Tumwesigye Deriphan supporting farmers in Agro-processing, Nyowe Apuli supporting farmers in western Uganda, to mention but a few.

This article today is about celebrating us, the youth!

About the day:

As the world gears up to celebrate International Youth Day on August 12th, a wave of excitement and inspiration washes over us. This day serves as a reminder of the tremendous potential and boundless energy that young people bring to the table. This year, we're not only celebrating youth as change-makers in their communities but also giving a resounding cheer to those who are shaping the future of agriculture. From sowing seeds of change to reaping innovation, International Youth Day is the perfect moment to unite and empower youth worldwide to make their mark on their countries and the world.

The Youth of Today: Torchbearers of Change: Every generation has its defining moments, and the youth of today are no different. They're stepping up as fearless agents of change, tearing down barriers, and creating opportunities where none existed before. They're not waiting for someone else to solve problems—they're taking the lead themselves. International Youth Day is a rallying cry for the youth to embrace their power, use their voices, and actively shape the world they want to live in.

By the way, judging a fish based on its ability to climb walls or fly like an eagle, it may end up hating itself the entire life for not being able to climb or fly. We can’t be the same, that’s why Diversity at all levels should be fostered, and that’s how we can harness each one’s ability to create change in various societies. In most cases, we undermine youth depending on their age, and capacities, and those practicing agriculture, are not considered as having decent jobs, is it about having a decent job? No, let’s support them and celebrate them.

Celebrating Youth in Agriculture: Cultivating Innovation: Agriculture, the backbone of societies and economies, has seen a remarkable transformation thanks to the innovative spirit of young minds. From rural-urban farming initiatives to sustainable practices that conserve natural resources, youth in agriculture are proving that innovation knows no age limits. They're leveraging technology to revolutionize farming, finding creative solutions to food security challenges, and ensuring a greener future for all. On this International Youth Day, we salute their dedication and applaud their efforts to bring about lasting change in the agricultural landscape. For example, Samuel improved farmers' agribusiness financial systems using the eMaisha Pay mobile platform, Mawejje Creation who is revolutionizing the fashion industry using banana wastes, Nanteza Viola who is training farmers in sustainable maize value addition, and many more.

Uniting Youth for Change: This International Youth Day, we issue a global call to action—let's harness the energy of young people, amplify their voices, and foster a sense of unity that transcends borders. Every country, every community, every young individual has a role to play in making the world a better place. Together, we can address climate change, reduce inequality, and champion social justice. It's not just about today; it's about nurturing a generation of leaders who are committed to building a brighter tomorrow. Everyone somewhere is playing a vital role, for example, Nwafor Cedric, Founder of Roots Africa is playing a crucial part in bringing agriculture students in Africa to rally for causes in their communities, I celebrate you today!

Ways You Can Get Involved:

  1. Start Small, Dream Big: Embark on local initiatives that address community challenges. Plant trees, organize clean-up drives, or create educational programs for underserved youth, and start community initiatives. I have embarked on setting up an agro-processing space in Kamuli district and by 2030, I believe Kamuli district will be the food basket of Uganda. Cheers to us making it possible and everyone in your capacities.

  2. Embrace Agriculture: Whether you live in a rural area or a bustling city, you can connect with agriculture. Start a community garden, promote sustainable food choices, or support local farmers.

  3. Raise Your Voice: Utilize social media to share your thoughts, ideas, and solutions. Advocate for the voiceless and create a society for all, be positive, and do not look on seeing your communities living in fear, poverty, and injustice, stand up and defend what is right.

  4. Collaborate: Join or create youth-led organizations that focus on issues you're passionate about. Collaborate with like-minded individuals to amplify your impact. We can only run far together, united we win. Let’s support each other, our power as teams can bring about transformation.

  5. Engage with Policy: Participate in discussions and initiatives that shape policies. Advocate for changes that reflect the needs and aspirations of youth.

Conclusion: As the world comes together to celebrate International Youth Day, let's remind ourselves that change is not a distant dream—it's a collective effort that starts with us. The youth have the energy, passion, and power to mold a future that's equitable, sustainable, and bright. Let's stand united, cheering on youth making a change in their communities and agriculture. It's time for youth to rise, unite, and be the change they want to see in the world. Happy International Youth Day—a day of inspiration, celebration, and empowerment!

Tibenkana Denis