Ever wondered how to empower young minds to become effective leaders while fostering collaboration and creativity? This can be answer through a transformative journey that unfolded at the Youth Strategy and Leadership Building Workshop in India. With an engaging ensemble of 22 dynamic representatives, the workshop emerged as a beacon of empowerment as young minds are now armed with the tools to evolve into impactful leaders and actively contribute to community development. Participants got to explore various topics including understanding the concept of fairtrade, goal setting, SWOT analysis, and developing youth strategies. The essence of this workshop laid in cultivating active participation, fostering group work and brainstorming sessions to foster collaboration and creativity among the participants.

The Youth Strategy and Leadership Building Workshop commenced with an icebreaking session among the participants. The next session focused on Fairtrade practices and Fairtrade NAPP’s structure. The subsequent session had a dual purpose: providing a program overview and aligning it with participant expectations that covered various aspect such as financial, physical, human resources, and intellectual property. To put the discussion into practice, participants were encouraged to develop a project aimed at addressing the problems faced by farmers, producers, and hired labourers in India. Another session explored challenges and opportunities in rural youth participation in South region agriculture. The discussions during this session included agriculture fundamentals, science, technology roles, and interactive exercises. The workshop seamlessly blended theory and practice, fostering critical thinking.

“It was a good experience for us. We came to know the importance of youth in agricultural activities and also how to implement modern technologies for the development of agricultural sector.” -Jithin, Sahyadri Organic Small Farmers Consortium.

The second day began with participants reviewing and summarizing the discussions and activities from the previous day. The purpose of this session was to construct models using paper to visually present their ideas. This hands-on activity covered essential elements for crafting a robust youth strategy. Each group concentrated on different facets, including strategy, vision, mission, and goals. In the following session, the emphasis shifted to deliberating the path ahead, outlining a timeline, and specifying actions to propel progress in the ongoing initiatives.

One of the highlights of this workshop was the session focused on the Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA) project launched by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in the year 2015-16. The participants were encouraged to be a part of this project as it encourages youth participation in agriculture-related activities and entrepreneurial ventures in India. This workshop was crucial for setting the stage for subsequent discussions and activities aimed at fostering youth leadership within the fairtrade movement. It addressed the concerns and confusion surrounding the engagement of youth in developing strategies for community and national development. It emphasized collaborative, participant-driven learning in implementing the tangible projects. The workshop served as a stepping stone towards empowering youth leaders and developing strategies to address the challenges and opportunities faced by rural youth in the agriculture sector in the South region of India.

“The youth leadership program was a great experience. It was an opportunity to learn and interact with youngsters from diverse, yet related backgrounds. The program helped us in conceptualizing our ideas to develop good strategies for the youth.” – Janet Biji, Highrange Organic Women Fairtrade Farmers Association

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