Editor’s Note: Liz Hohenberger, one of the UC Davis grad students who manages our Trellis Fund, shares a Thank You note sent by an organization that had previously received funding from the Trellis Fund.
The grants that the Horticulture Innovation Lab awards through its Trellis Fund aren’t huge; we fund 6-month projects for $2,000, matching small organizations with U.S. graduate students who can provide expert support. Since the Horticulture Innovation Lab also funds million-dollar projects, this may not seem like much, but we know that Trellis Fund projects can have a lasting impact on the graduate students (think of them as tomorrow’s agricultural leaders) and the local organizations that work together.
We recently received an email from one of the first organizations to receive Trellis funding, a reminder of how big of a difference this small grant can make. The email from Uganda started with:
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and the East Africa Community (EAC) have signed a grant agreement intended to promote urban and rural agriculture and agribusiness in order to improve youth employment in the region.
The total budget of $440,000 (Shs1.5 billion) is a one-year grant agreement which allows FAO and EAC to find a path for young people to secure decent work opportunities, as well as explore innovative e-business models in the agricultural sector.
The agreement, which took place on the margins of the just concluded African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, was signed by Mr Libérat Mfumukeko, the secretary general for EAC and Dr Patrick Kormawa, the sub-regional coordinator for Eastern Africa and FAO representative to the AU and UN Economic Commission for Africa.
The summit was held under the theme “Harnessing Africa’s Demographic Dividend by Investing in Youth”.
In his remarks Mr Mfumukeko emphasised the positive impact of the agreement by saying “the cooperation with FAO was long overdue, and the current support will go a long way in addressing pertinent issues in East Africa where agriculture is the way of life.”
Despite relatively high economic growth in the partner states of the EAC, youth unemployment remains a great concern for the region, as it slows down economies and causes social problems.
The two institutions have the tools to respond to unemployment in the EAC region. FAO has developed the expertise on youth, agriculture, livelihoods and migration.