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National Peace Corps Association Launches the Young Farmers Idea Contest

National Peace Corps Association Launches the Young Farmers Idea Contest

Using innovative web platform, diaspora and former volunteers empower youths in Africa 

WASHINGTON—Africa Rural Connect, an online project of the National Peace Corps Association, launched a new contest to promote youth-oriented agricultural initiatives aimed at generating ideas for new programs. Through the Young Farmers Idea Contest, the African diaspora and volunteers alike are invited to share their ideas on new ways to engage youths in sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 18 through educational projects, community-building initiatives, and social programs, all centered around agriculture and farming.

“We are particularly excited for this contest because we know there are a lot of ideas out there on ways to help youths in sub-Saharan Africa through agriculture and farming, but there aren’t a lot of ways to share them collaboratively. Africa Rural Connect provides the perfect platform for this kind of online competition,” says Molly Mattessich, manager of online initiatives for the National Peace Corps Association and head of the Africa Rural Connect website. “The Generation Y in Africa are key to leading the way to a more prosperous and sustainable livelihood in decades to come so when we talk about agriculture and farming in Africa they need to be part of the discussion too.”

Ideas submitted to the Young Farmers Idea Contest can run the gamut from improving youth agricultural education and training, to increasing youths’ access to finances and land, to supporting youth farming organizations. Users will be allowed to designate their idea under standard Africa Rural Connect themes such as water resources, agribusiness, post-harvest losses/storage, transportation and infrastructure, and communication methods.

Contestants can enter to win the Young Farmers Idea Contest through May 31, 2012 by posting their idea to the Africa Rural Connect website. The top 10 ideas from endorsements will go to the “leaderboard” and will be sent to a panel of judges who will evaluate the top ideas identifying those they feel are the most original, creative, practical, scalable and likely to be successfully implemented. Qualified contestants will be eligible to win first, second and third place. The first place winner receives a cash prize of $5,000 and if the winner is based in the U.S. they will also win round trip airfare and lodging to the National Peace Corps Association annual gathering in Minneapolis June 29-July 1, 2012; the second place winner receives a cash prize of $2,500; and the third place winner receives a cash prize of $1,000.

“The focus of the contest is deliberately open-ended to spawn as many new ideas as possible,” added Mattessich. “This gives contestants the opportunity to think outside of the box and innovate.”

To enter the Young Farmers Idea Contest or learn more, visit: http://arc.peacecorpsconnect.org/contest.
About The National Peace Corps Association Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., National Peace Corps Association is the nation’s leading 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization supporting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community through networking and mentoring to help guide former Volunteers through their continued service back home. It is also the longest-standing advocate on behalf of the Peace Corps and its values.
To learn more, visit: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org.

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