24 Jul, 2018

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Jones Kanjira(first from right) with his friends
Jones Kanjira, a Master of Science in Rural Development and Extension second year student at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) Bunda Campus was one of the few selected students to participate in the 2018 Global Food Security Symposium that was held in Washington DC, USA.

Twenty seven students were selected from a pool of over 800 applications around the world of which some were from the top US universities such as Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technologyand Columbia University.

The event which is held annually by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, brings together undergraduate and postgraduate students of ages between 18-35 from across the globe to learn and discuss global issues. This year’s theme was “Surging youth populations can fuel tremendous agricultural growth that will impact the global economy, but, if underemployed, they present a risk”.

According to Kanjira, the symposium was so inspiring, educative, and fun. “All students shared their research projects. Mine was quite congruent with the theme and I joyously explained how technical and vocational education and training could make agriculture attractive to the youth thereby solving youth unemployment and global food insecurity. The networking was just vibrant. I was so overwhelmed to meet students from different universities, scientists, policy advisors, researchers, and leaders from across the world,” said Kanjira.

He said the trip was quite an enrichment to both his academic and personal life, saying through this opportunity, he built up his network base, enhanced his communication skills and even promoted his visibility.

He added that apart from getting useful feedback and insights on how to approach his research, he got exposed to brilliant and fascinating ideas.
“For example, I learnt the concept of Uber for tractors being practiced in countries such as Ghana, India and Philippines. I was also intrigued to learn how the use of comic books has raised awareness about HIV/AIDS and contraceptives among youths in Kenya, something I thought could be utilized here in Malawi, particularly for raising awareness and perception of technical and vocational education and training among young people in the country,” said Kanjira.

The trip was fully funded and he encouraged fellow students to apply for such opportunities.

“As you can see, trips like these are and can be so impactful. I recommend you to visit, check for upcoming events and apply for the next Symposium that will be held from 20 to 21 March, 2019. Who knows, perhaps you might be the next person to visit the White House” concluded Kanjira.

Jones was the only student who represented Malawi in the symposium from 20th to 22nd March 2018.