All good thing must come to an end and make way for even greater paths. My journey with the IUPAC Next Generation Programme has elapsed and it all has been full circle and gained some profound lessons on this journey.
As I go down memory lane I started of as a mere MBA Student, and Crop Scientist based in Pandamatenga Village, Botswana passionate about seeing drone integration into Crop Protection. Through the IUPAC Next Generation Programme, I evolved from being a technical scientist to being an agripreneur equipped with financial and business management skills through the Programme’s mentorship and guidance. I also learnt through various activities and engagement with other youth about different personality traits that we can capitalize on becoming efficient professionals. Thus, I became more self-aware and learnt that in addition to science, I am also a creative person, or what we would call a ‘Yellow’. This was very interesting because through the programme I have learnt to harness the skill of science communication in crop protection and incorporating creative skills especially during process whereby my project had to be developed into a brand, in which I was quite active in providing creative direction.
Concerning the project TEMO-THUO MONANA, despite it being delayed, it has attracted a lot of attention from key stakeholders and boasts having secured a valuable network of young people, institutions and organizations that are coming together as a collective to ensure that Drone Technology becomes a reality in Botswana. The project has manged to raise P50 000 (€5,000.00) from an administrative partner (who wishes to remain anonymous), which was then donated to farmers in Pandamatenga Village to buy components of a pilot drone to control Quelea. The pilot season of this drone and its functionality was so successful that the farmers increased their yields and doubled what they would normally yield. Taking into consideration the COVID 19 food crisis that is looming, Botswana was able to safeguard food in reserves into the coming year, with Pandamatenga Village being amongst the major contributors to food security.
Antonette Bojosi Ncube– N-GAGE Champion