This was the motto of the 30th International Seminar for Leaders of Rural Youth Work from 10 to 23 August 2022 in Herrsching
For 60 years, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) has been organizing the International Seminar for Leaders of Rural Youth Work every two years at the House of Bavarian Agriculture in Herrsching am Ammersee.
The International Seminar is aimed at leaders and multipliers in responsible positions in youth work or vocational training in rural areas worldwide.
Leaders from all over the world should thus receive diverse support and suggestions for further development and strengthening of rural youth work in their countries.
The focus of the seminar was to develop competences, to share own experiences and to build networks as well as to develop personal action plans.
Two young women from our project in Kenya, Lynette Gakii (left in picture) and Irene Sikuku (right in picture) took part in the Rural Youth Seminar.
We asked them for a short interview:
1. Tell us about yourself
Lynette: My name is Lynette Gakii. I am currently a youth representative on the board of the Women Farmers Association of Kenya and volunteer for the same organisation. I also work as a freelance coordinator in Central Kenya with BBV-LIZ. I have a Bachelor's degree in Agribusiness Management and am currently pursuing a Master's degree in Development Studies. I am passionate about sustainable agriculture and climate-smart farming. I come from a family with an agricultural background. My grandparents owned a large farm where they grew potatoes, corn and wheat and did dairy farming. They were my first inspiration to get involved with farming.
Irene: My name is Irene Sikuku. I come from a family of 6 with 3 sisters and my parents. I studied at Egerton University in Nairobi and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Community Development. I work as a freelance coordinator at BBV-LIZ and as a tutor at Sang'alo Institute of Science and Technology in Bungoma.
2. What surprised you most here in Bavaria?
Lynette: My visit to Bavaria was very interesting. I was surprised to see how many trees there are in Munich and how enthusiastic people are about cycling in the city. When we visited a farm, I was surprised to see how 3 generations were managing the farm, everyone was working. What surprised me most was that there was a beer garden right next to Kloster in Andechs.
Irene: I was very surprised about the city of Munich, so many people cycle here. The city is so green. I think everything is so well organised here: The city is tourist-friendly, there is a lot of information at every station. When I heard about the history of Munich, I was surprised how much people stick to rules that were set up a long time ago.
3. Did you have a different image of us in your mind? If so, which one?
Lynette: Before I visited Bavaria, I researched on the internet what to expect in Bavaria and what Bavaria is best known for. Honestly, being in Bavaria and experiencing the culture, the people and the food felt surreal. My little research didn't prepare me enough for my stay. I didn't expect how culturally rooted Bavarians are until we experienced the culture.
Irene: Yes, I imagined everything to be very different from here in Africa. But when I arrived here, I felt at home.
4. How did you experience the other women/men from the different countries in the seminar?
Lynette: It felt like a big brother house. There was so much to learn from the 75 participants from 40 different countries. I made friends from many countries. The memories and the lessons I take home are priceless. The exchange with youth leaders who are on the same mission but have different perspectives was truly amazing. Every participant I met was on a mission to improve their leadership skills and become better leaders for their organisation and country.
Irene: It felt like I was living all over the world. Connecting with people from all over the world gave me a different perspective. The international evening let us become part of each culture. This exchange of experiences with different perspectives and views was an eye opener for me.
5.What was your highlight of the seminar and why?
Lynette: The interaction with 75 participants from 40 different countries was a great experience. The international evening was the highlight of the seminar, it was interesting to experience different cultures in just 2 hours. We all presented our heritage and represented our countries.
Irene: for me there were several highlights. Firstly, the networking with the other participants, the discussions and exchange on climate change and getting to know different approaches to problem solving.
6.What is your message to friends, colleagues and family in Kenya?
Lynette: It is really hard to put my experience into words. The seminar was really enriching and it was very motivating to see how at the end of the day we all want to make the world a better place. I am really grateful that I got the chance to participate in the international rural youth event "Ready to act - tackling challenges".
Irene: EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. There are solutions to the challenges we face. If we start making changes in our sphere of influence, we will achieve something, be it in the community, in the region or even in the whole country.
7.What is your personal insight from this seminar?
Lynette: Everything is possible and the only obstacle is your mind.
Irene: Think globally and act locally.
8.What are you taking with you?
Lynette: The friendships and the networks I have made. I also learned a lot about myself and how to build a team, how to work in a team and how to be a team leader. I leave Bavaria committed and motivated.
Irene: During a mountain hike, I only wanted to climb to a certain height. But with the motivation of my friends, I reached the top of the mountain. That was my most important realisation. If you are determined to do something, you will achieve it, and it is okay to achieve your goals with the help of others.
9. What are your plans for the future? Is there anything you would like to do?
Lynette: During the seminar, we were able to learn leadership skills, share challenges and solutions with other participants. I felt motivated by the leaders of the youth organisations I was involved with and learned what it takes to be a courageous young leader representing the young voice in the organisations. My plan is to strengthen the youth section of WoFaAK and work with other youth organisations in Kenya and Uganda.
Irene: My dream during my studies was to change the community. Every year, the number of young people who are qualified but do not have employment is growing. I want to empower and support these youth in the East African community.
Thank you and safe journey back home!
Lynette, Irene and Nathalie, our project assistant of BBV-LIZ in our office in Munich.
Field trip: Shaping change with the help of education and advice - calf husbandry at the Bavarian State Research Centre for Agriculture, Teaching, Testing and Specialist Centre for Dairy Cattle and Cattle Husbandry Achselschwang