Using data can be a great way to strengthen your argument. Photo: Youth Think Tank project

As a young girl from a less privileged background, I felt that there was always a missing gap in the agricultural sector that I didn’t know how to fill and help society.

In January 2017, I joined the Youth Think Tank on its research of young people’s involvement and awareness of the agricultural innovations and technology. This inspired my upcoming project of the “Agricultural Village” – a project which aims to solve many of the agricultural problems facing Uganda and Africa as a whole.

My name is Ndagire Moreen Maria and I’m currently a 21-year-old at Earth University pursuing a degree in agricultural science and natural resource management to become an agronomist who will change the agricultural history of Africa.

As a Youth Tank member, my priority was to know at which level of the agricultural chain young people were most engaged and how much of the technology in agriculture they applied at that particular level. But we found so many causes and blockers of young people’s engagement in the agricultural sector and their use of the technologies.

The whole process was heartening as well as sad at some points, knowing that there are young people to whom simple mobile technology services seem very hard and new to them. Their enthusiasm about agriculture was intriguing but then the things that block them very saddening as well.

Maria (left) with other members of the Uganda research team

The one thing about young people is that they feel more comfortable sharing with other young people and the whole process ceases to be an interview and becomes a conversation between two young people with a common interest. To us they would say exactly what they feel or what they need.

If anything my time as a Youth Think Tank member has taught me how valuable it is to hear young people’s opinions and how much more important it is to not let them be limited by resources or opinions.

In my idea of the agricultural village, there are things that I felt young people needed when I was interviewing them: they need food security, they need reliable markets, they need technical agricultural consultations and so much more.

As I’m progressing on the project of the agricultural village I know exactly where the loop is and how I need to address it also as a young person venturing in agriculture. There are so many findings in the agritech report for this year and I hope it serves as an eye opener for the policy makers and the young people themselves venturing into Agriculture.

Maria is one of the researchers for Restless Development’s Youth Think Tank project.

This is the first in a short series of blogs looking at the project and its findings.

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Why young people need to be asked what they need

by wearerestless Reading time: 2 min