What Kinds of Youths are Interested in Agriculture? Meet the Harambe Nigeria Executive Team
Dilemmas are always tough. But when it comes to knowledge and education, should we ever have to forego certain options? Our education system in Nigeria compartmentalizes us. When we get senior secondary school, we have to decide: arts or science, literature or geography, history or chemistry? Years later, the result is at once evident and indicting: science students with poor writing and analytical skills and little knowledge of the country they call their fatherland, arts students with little appreciation for the wonders of science. Students are often unable to connect the dots, often saying things like: “I’m in commerce; agriculture is not for me”; “I’m in medicine; international development is not my thing”;”I don’t read the news; I’m an engineering student.”
Because the real world is in fact not that fragmented, students graduate unprepared for the vicissitudes and complexities of the labour force. Our shortsightedness and lopsided knowledge leaves us with the shorter end of the stick every time. The truth is if Nigeria is to reach its development potential, its leaders must be well aware of events happening around them and be well-equipped to tackle everyday challenges in any sector. If Nigerian youths are to benefit from opportunities, build outstanding careers and become game-changers on the international scene, they must venture out of their little corners and into unchartered terrains.
Connecting the dots at Harambe Nigeria
We all buy and eat food, so shouldn’t we all be interested in agriculture on some level? Of course! That’s why Harambe Nigeria has built a team of individuals from different backgrounds and with diverse interests. Bringing their different experiences to the field, the team is able to formulate a holistic strategy to leverage the opportunities and tackle the challenges in agriculture.
The President: Tola Sunmonu, a graduate of economics, is a consultant at a leading non-profit consultancy. While learning about agricultural practices, she is interested in powering economic opportunity and growing viable businesses in the agricultural sector.
Vice President and Creative Director: Obinna Ukwuani, a student of economics and engineering, is also interested in photography and technology. As he seeks to promotes economic empowerment through agriculture, he also captures important aspects of life and human interaction – including agricultural processes – through photos.
Director of Photography: In the field of agriculture as well as elsewhere, Michael Pearse cultivates his passion for photography. He also leverages professional expertise in information technology and software design and his interest in Nigeria’s development to effect positive change within the sector.
Director of Finance: Ademola Adewale-Sadik, a graduate of finance and a second-year law student, is interested in agriculture from a business perspective. This includes creatively connecting those who hold capital to agribusiness practitioners, and exploring the ways in which investments in technology can increase agricultural efficiency and productivity. If agriculture is to position itself as a driver of economic growth in Nigeria and the developing world at large, these are issues that shouldn’t be taken lightly
Technical Director: A master’s student in electrical engineering and computer science, Olayemi Oyebode is able to leverage his ICT skills in the Harambe Nigeria project. With ICT for agriculture — through mobile phones, mobile banking and other systems — becoming a source of empowerment for farmers across Africa, these skills are valuable, life-changing skills.
Director of Communications: Chika Uwazie is a graduate of psychology and a master’s student in human resource management. She is interested in capacity building and career counseling. These skills are important for all Nigerian youths including aspiring agricultural entrepreneurs and professionals.
Editor-in-Chief: Grace Akinrinade, a graduate of English and Africana studies, is the editor-in-chief of the Harambe Nigeria newsletter. Having previously written for the Guardian Newspaper of Nigeria, as well as alternative newspapers focused on the African diaspora, she now uses her skills to ensure that Harambe Nigeria programs – and other agricultural programs and prospects- are publicized through the most prominent media available.
Director of Nigerian Affairs: Adebola Williams realizes how valuable his passion for Nigerian youth and his professional career in media and advertising are for the agricultural sector especially for the next generation of agricultural professionals, businessman and rulers who need to be well-equipped to inherit the future.
The HISARD Fellowship Program Managers
- Murktarat Yussuff is a sociology and African/African-American studies major as well as a poet, fashion designer, and photographer. She is interested in agriculture from a social change perspective. She has an eye for context and cultural sensitivity and this is important when promoting agricultural enterprise in different and diverse communities.
- Tukeni Obasi, a political science and African studies student, is interested in agriculture from a policy and economic perspective. Marrying this with her writing interests, she is interested in promoting conditions under which people can achieve economic self-sufficiency while educating the general public about the resources in the field.
- Olumayowa Okediran is a student of animal physiology. However, through his work with libertarian and advocacy organisations, he has developed a strong interest for free markets and individual enterprise. Mayowa finds that his academic and social interests can be cultivated within Harambe Nigeria and in the agricultural sector in general.
- Adaeze Wosu, a student of public health is able to develop and exploit her entrepreneurial skills within Harambe Nigeria. This is because she realizes that hunger/malnutrition and health are two sides of the same coin.
Needless to say, in the same way that these young students and professionals are bringing their diverse interests to bear in agriculture, their engagement in other sectors is also informed by their knowledge of agricultural practices thus creating a virtuous cycle of all-round growth. It is through this positive feedback mechanism that Nigeria will be able to achieve sustainable development in all sectors and produce professionals who will excel in every aspect of their lives.
So who should be interested in agriculture? Anyone! Everyone! The next time you think agriculture is not your thing, think again. Think about your experiences and immediate interests and how you can bring those to bear in agriculture. Think about the importance of having professionals from diverse fields drive development in Nigeria. And then join us in this agricultural revolution because the harvest is ever plentiful.