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CTA programme wins top UN prize for its youth and ICT work

For immediate release - Wageningen, 28 May 2015

May 28, 2015

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has been honoured in the prestigious 2015 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Project Prizes. The Centre won the e-agriculture category for its youth and ICT programme – Agriculture, Rural Development and Youth in the Information Society (ARDYIS). The prize was presented in Geneva, Switzerland, during the WSIS Forum 2015, the largest international event in the ICT for Development calendar.

Ken and ITU SGCTA’s ARDYIS entry was proclaimed winner of the e-agriculture category at the prize-giving ceremony on May 26, following a round of online voting and a review by a panel of experts. The prize marks the third time that CTA has won a WSIS award. In 2013, the Centre’s Web 2.0 and Social Media Learning Opportunities programme was named winner of the WSIS Project Prizes contest in the e-agriculture category. In addition, jointly with the FLMMA network, in 2007 CTA won the WSIS award in the e-culture category for its activities in the domain of Participatory 3D Modelling (P3DM) in Fiji.

Each year, a series of WSIS Project Prizes recognises initiatives that help to further the goals of bridging the global digital divide and ensuring wider distribution of the benefits that can be generated by information and communications technology (ICT). Launched by the United Nations in 2011, the awards span 18 categories and offer a platform to showcase success stories and models that can be easily replicated.

The CTA ARDYIS programme, a group of initiatives aimed at 18 to 35-year-olds living in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, seeks to connect young people with ICTs and promote their use for agricultural development and enterprise. Key activities include the Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition (YoBloCo Awards), which has so far attracted nearly 300 agricultural blogs, and the AgriHack Talent contest, which supports the development of ICTs, mobile apps and entrepreneurship in agriculture.

An important feature of the ARDYIS programme is the wide range of activities it uses to raise awareness among young people of the potential for ICTs in agriculture. These include e-debates, workshops, information dissemination and support in developing agricultural ICT applications and other entrepreneurial initiatives.

"ARDYIS is an incredibly dynamic project which has opened opportunities for ACP youth in agriculture through ICTs, and strengthened their capacities in using these tools," said CTA Director Michael Hailu. "So far, the project has reached young people in more than 40 ACP countries and it has supported the development of dozens of ICT prototypes, targeting different segments of agricultural value chains."
Receiving the award on behalf of CTA at the WSIS ceremony was Ken Lohento, Programme Coordinator, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

"We are very proud of this prize," said Lohento, who is leading the ARDYIS programme. "the prize also belongs to all the youth who have been participating in the ARDYIS network and who support us with their ideas and contributions. We thank all the people who voted for us from many countries around the world and the ARDYIS Advisory Committee for its support. CTA will continue to work hard to encourage and support greater youth engagement in ICTs for agriculture."

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For more information, please contact:
Stéphane Gambier
gambier@cta.int

• A French translation is available on request
• Une traduction française est disponible à la demande