African Youth Forum for Science and Technology (AYFST) program (2005 – ongoing)
The AYFST was initiated by the ATPS in 2005 in collaboration with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation - CTA, the Netherlands to provide a platform for African Young Professionals to build capacity in STI policy research, policy dialogue and policy practice
AYFST is a youth-led initiative that seeks to provide a vehicle through which young people can express their ideas, contribute their expertise and collectively participate in policy and decision-making processes as well as harness the opportunities presented by agriculture, science and technology to address their own challenges. It was born out of the concern by the African youth on the need to address the key challenges facing the youth and create space and opportunities for greater involvement of the youth in addressing Africa's development challenges. The 1st African Regional Youth Congress on Science and Technology in Nairobi, Kenya in June 2005, marked the beginning of broad collective youth engagements towards a youth led development network.
Program Launch Video
The specific strategic priorities of the AYFST program are:
- Mobilize the youth and empower them to harness ST&I for development in Africa;
- Support and facilitate regional knowledge sharing and cooperation among African youth;
- Facilitate and promote youth engagement in agriculture, science and technology, and social entrepreneurship programs in their countries,
- Facilitate ST&I career mentoring for African youths by their senior colleagues in Africa and in Diaspora;
- Provide targeted research training and capacity building especially in agriculture, S&T research and practice to address the declining expertise and growing disinterest in the sector; and
- Promote youth involvement in ATPS research and other MDG related S&T projects elsewhere.
The AYFST program is expected to achieve the following outcomes by 2011.
- Enhanced skills/capacities in agriculture, S&T research and policy advocacy;
- Improved skills in S&T research and project management and implementation practices among African youths;
- Increased youth participation in S&T research projects and other innovative and productive interventions at local, regional and national levels;
- Increased internships at various ST&I related research institutions and non-governmental organizations in Africa and elsewhere;
- A functioning networking platform; forum [online and offline] in which the youth can exchange views and opinions; and
- Increased awareness among the youth on inter-related policy issues in agriculture, science and technology and the need for multi-disciplinary approaches in ST&I research and policy making.
The Forum presents the youth with the platform to engage and share ideas and views on topical and policy issues in STI as they relate to Africa’s development with an aim of developing creative responses to the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment in cooperation with relevant institutions of society.