Today at 1.2 billion, youth are considered to be the most influential age group in the world due to their capability of shaping the future of the world. They are, however, lacking to seek opportunities that would benefit and recognize their innovations, creativity, and holistic development, ultimately facilitating to development of a strong foundation for next-generation members. Hence, they need to be empowered and enable opportunities in order to build a resilient future.

Fairtrade Network of Asia and Asia Pacific (NAPP) has organized the launch meeting of the Youth Knowledge Hub Project to develop skills and awareness among youth participants in performing the important role of sustainable development and subsequently making them future leaders in selected domains. It was a two-day event that has seen the participation of 20 youths who joined together to gain more experience from this initiative in New Delhi.

This project is aimed at targeting 4 different domains.

  1. It aims at agribusiness and value additions to provide youth with a holistic understanding of seed quality testing, organic farming, deep ploughing techniques and marketing of products among others.
  2. In this age of technological advancement, the project targets introducing technology and innovation in the space of agribusiness to the youth such as training in using technology for soil testing, modern machine and equipment, modern technology for farming, and crop management among others.
  3. Climate change is one of the most important issues that need to be accounted for the survival of this world. Hence, this project is aimed at covering various aspects of climate change such as increasing engagement or awareness in the community on climate change, use of solar energy and wind energy, stopping deforestation, studies on the impact of climate change and introducing climate resilience techniques in order to empower the youth for taking action.
  4. This project also covers initiatives of social media as it has been proven to be an effective and efficient tool to achieve these domains and create a real impact in society.

To achieve these targets, this project has carefully developed activities such as including a language and skill development programme, exposure visits on each domain targeted, gender youth profiling, need assessment for capturing output and a learning workshop at the end of the year for a way forward. Fairtrade NAPP has also partnered with the National Institute of Agriculture Extension Management for support and the National Institute of Language for the training of the youth in the English language and personality development that are necessary for the youth to navigate this world.

Fairtrade NAPP has been focusing on increasing the capabilities of women cooperative members to take leadership and management roles in their communities, organizations, and households to bring about equitable and sustainable change in society. A new initiative on youth and gender profiling was launched with activities (such as role-play of two focus groups engaged in the discussion) to identify opportunities, challenges and key areas for strengthening gender equality.

The feedback from youths is the most important learning from these sessions.

  1. It is very important to have polite interaction with the community where there needs to be a social connection between people and society.
  2. The youth expect the authorities to have good knowledge of their needs and problems and eliminate any misinformation while engaging with the youth community. Hence, the authorities should use a combination of methods for engaging with the target population that cater to their needs and connects with them.
  3. The most important feedback from the youth is that this project needs to have clear goals, be professional that targets today’s issues and needs to be adaptive to various issues.

The feedback received from all has helped interviewers develop an in-depth understanding of ways to interact with the youths in order to empower them to take leadership roles in shaping our future. This will help Fairtrade NAPP in communicating its causes and activities to the youth better in future.

The first meeting of the need assessment was also organized for the identification of the strengths and resources available in the community to meet the needs of youths and community members. It was noticed that there is a need to differentiate needs, want and desire and needs should be categorized as per priority.

In the end, an agreement was signed by 19 youths who will take this journey and avail the resources for becoming future leaders. This was a very successful launch of the Youth Knowledge Project with good interactions, learnings and better strategies for the way forward. This project adopts an inclusive approach for youth to discuss innovative ideas in aspects of agribusiness and agriculture technologies. This will be an important step for Fairtrade NAPP to align our strategies with the United Nations Sustainable Goals and the promotion of youth leadership to influence society on sustainable development.

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