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‘Planting the seeds for tomorrow’ – Harambe promotes farming to Nigerian Youth

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Omotola Synmonu, President, Harambe Nigeria chats with a reporterOn the 28th of August 2009, Harambe Nigeria, will be holding its second annual conference on youth development, themed ‘Planting the seeds for tomorrow’. The conference will hold the Shell Hall of the Muson Centre. Harambe Nigeria is the country’s arm of the global Harambe Endeavor Alliance, with a mission to revolutionize the way Nigerian youth engage with the agricultural sector by nurturing them into agri‐entrepreneurs and leaders.
The global Harambe project is an alliance of African students attending world-class universities, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge and the London School of Economics.
The conference – held in conjunction with the Songhai Institute, LEAP Africa, The Future Project, Nigeria, and the Obafemi Awolowo University – will be followed by a fund raising dinner that same day; targeted at selected attendants from the conference, a handful of upwardly mobile young people, celebrities, corporate executives and government.
The symposium on youth and development aims for an intellectual gathering of representatives from relevant agricultural institutions and, aims to build Nigeria’s first online Agricultural network for youth that will represent the multifaceted nature of agriculture and the un‐harnessed potential available within the field and to actively transform the negative image surrounding agriculture into a positive image that is appealing to Nigerian youth.
According to the organisation’s chief executive, Tola Sunmonu, “Our careful selection of individuals will represent the vast array of opportunities available in agriculture including agricultural policy, agri business, and farming techniques. A significant portion of the youth in attendance will be from agricultural universities around Nigeria. We will select students from each of the following universities: University of Agriculture (Abeokuta), University of Agriculture (Abia), University of Agriculture (Makurdi), Ahmadu Bello University, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Lagos and Delta State University.”
The symposium is designed to be a comprehensive all day program complete with an Agricultural job fair, keynote speakers, panels, brainstorming sessions, and extensive opportunities for networking. The first segment of the conference will be successful in the process of transforming the negative image of agriculture amongst youth by highlighting the experiences of others and the untapped opportunities available within the field. The job fair, presentations and panels will be used as tools to achieve this objective. The second part of the symposium will be the first phase in building an online network. The symposium will culminate in a networking banquet dinner open to all conference attendants. The banquet dinner will be the channel for a transfer of information amongst all Agricultural parties, particularly amongst different generations, that will be sustained via the project website.
“In line with our theme of “planting the seeds for tomorrow”, Ms. Sunmonu contined, “our youth participants will receive ‘Harambe Seeds.’ These seeds are a metaphor for the various opportunities available within the agricultural sector and a reminder that youth must become involved in collectively nurturing and taking care of these seeds by applying their time and skills to ensure that these seeds can flourish and become a source of sustenance for our nation. We believe that this will make the message of our symposium tangible and memorable.”
Speaking on the sustainability of the idea, she emphasised that, “The effects of our symposium will be sustainable because we will be maintaining this network online via our website. Our website will be used to its fullest capacity to serve as that much needed channel of information amongst the agricultural community by facilitating necessary dialogue amongst all members as well as showcasing relevant agricultural news and literature as well as postings for job opportunities and developmental projects within Nigeria.”
In September 2008, Harambe Nigeria hosted its first annual conference on youth and development in Lagos, to stress the importance of youth being agents of change, particularly within the agricultural sector.
The success of the conference was evident in the large crowd that overfilled the capacity of its Terra Kulture hall, attracting guests from across Nigeria as well as the extensive media attention including from the BBC. That first conference set up the path to launch the Harambe Incubator for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural development [HISARD], which is currently operating at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife. 10 carefully selected fellows from the agricultural department receive the training and skills to enable them create innovative and sustainable solutions to agricultural problems facing the local Ife community as well as transform the image of agriculture amongst their peers and the next generation of agrileaders.
The first 30 students from out of state for this year’s conference will receive a subsidy: To apply send the following details – Name, School Department/Major, Location (where you are coming from) and Phone number, will receive 10,000 Naira at the end of the conference to subsidise their expenses!!

Applications should be sent to [email protected] – This offer closes on the 19th of August.
Photos from the inaugural Harambe Nigeria Conference Below

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