On Saturday 23rd October 2021, the martin Richenhagen Future Farm hosted the graduation ceremony for beneficiaries of AGCO Agriculture Foundation’s project aimed at promoting knowledge and skills for Zambian Youth.

The initiative launched last year was funded through a donation from CLAAS to honour the retirement of AGCO’s former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Martin Richenhagen.  

The project was designed around his passion to provide quality education and skills enhancement programs as a means to empower young populations and ultimately transform societies both economically and socially.  It was also aligned to the foundation’s efforts to promote and support quality agricultural education and capacity development programs for key stakeholders, including youth, women, farmers and marginalized communities across the globe.

This youth-focused initiative was implemented at the Martin Richenhagen Future Farm community in Zambia to drive societal change, inspire creativity, and build networks of values-based leaders of tomorrow. 

Facilitated by the leadership bank and barefeet theatre, participants undertook mentorship and coaching sessions, edutainment activities, and hands-on educational learning on vegetable gardening and farm operations. They also had access to Interactive and Practical Learning-Based Programs for Youth at the Martin Richenhagen Future Farm

Sharing her comments about the project, Syreeta Chitengi the director at the leadership Bank, Zambia says, “This is a great opportunity for the youth at the Martin Richenhagen Future Farm community to develop both personal and community leadership skills through the series of interactive mentorship sessions.

Through the program, we have worked with the participants on important topics around leadership traits, purpose and values, character building, matters of peer pressure, setting personal goals and community development”

Program participants shared their key experiences and takeaways as part of their graduation. Anna Akapelwa, 16, a program participant, shared that the program had provided her with the much-needed soft and leadership skills that she didn’t have before the program. She explained how she has learnt essential lessons on self-belief, personal planning, and behavioural changes.”  

The program has enabled me to develop a personal vision board. Waking up to my vision board motivates me to work towards actualizing my personal and career goals. I have also learned about the consequences of drug abuse and teenage pregnancy, and I’m determined to abstain from it and share the knowledge with my peers in school.” Maureen Phiri, 18, adds.

The program also focused on nurturing participants’ talents and skills. As Gladys Tubulu, 18, shares, “I have not only developed a strong confidence level to stand in front of a large audience but also improved my dancing, acrobatics, acting and self-management skills.” 

Margret Phiri, 20, shares how through the program she has learnt how to adequately manage waste and keep the community environment clean and healthy. “Like other participants, I see myself as an advocate of change to portray good societal values and share the knowledge from this program with other peers.” She adds.

On the green garden component of the program, participants were taken through the basics of growing vegetables to boost healthy diets.  Francis Samyandulu, 15, a participants said the practical classes on green gardens have enabled him learn and perform tasks such as land preparation for garden vegetable production. 

As the participants graduated in a colourful ceremony at the Martin Richenhagen Future Farm, it is clear that they will continue to explore ways to address societal problems and become change agents in their community post the program. 

To all the 50 participants, Congratulations from us at the Martin Richenhagen Future Farm. We are confident that you will be agents of positive change in your communities and beyond.  

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