WHYFARM: Engaging youth to protect food security

WHYFARM is using educational entertainment to inspire youth involvement in agriculture and help tackle the global food crisis. The not-for-profit organisation uses hands-on activities to teach children in Africa and the Caribbean about nutrition and sustainable agriculture.

Agriman is transforming young people’s perception of agriculture. © Luke Smith

An innovative approach to engaging and educating school children in the importance of agriculture for food security and nutrition has been developed by a young entrepreneurial farmer in Trinidad and Tobago. Alpha Sennon, WHYFARM founder, plans to grow the world’s future feeders by turning agriculture into ‘agricoolture’ with the help of his superhero, Agriman. Originating in the Caribbean, where the average age of farmers is 55, the not-for-profit organisation intends to address the pressing challenge of who will feed the world in 2050.

Sennon is acutely aware that, “It’s not just about growing food today, but about making the industry sustainable for future generations.” For this reason, WHYFARM concentrates on using educational entertainment to transform young people’s perception of agriculture and influence their decisions towards improving nutrition.

AgriVenture – agricultural adventure camps – is another WHYFARM initiative. WHYFARM Haiti has received a grant from the Pollination Project to help fund these camps, which run over the course of 2 months, with 30 young participants engaging in a series of workshops outside of school. The children are taught to build their own vegetable gardens and by participating in fun, hands-on activities, they learn about sustainable agricultural practices, such as composting and water preservation. The camps help to cultivate students’ interest in agricultural development and empower them to contribute to food security in their communities.

In Trinidad and Tobago, Agriman has been visiting schools with the WHYFARM team. Working with the children, Agriman demonstrates a simple way for them to plant their own fruit trees using WHYFARM’s SelGri (self-growing) box, and encourages them to try it themselves. The sessions inspire young people by showing them new technologies that are evolving in the agriculture sector. After Agriman’s visit to Arima Girls RC School in Arima, Trinidad and Tobago, Sennon notes that, “The children were truly excited and saw agriculture in a new light.”

Projects focused on imparting agriculture skills and nutritional knowledge to young people using educational entertainment are also currently being rolled out by WHYFARM teams in Rwanda and Zambia.

For more information visit: http://whyfarmit.com

Stephanie Lynch

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.