Are you Interested in Blogging on Agriculture? Submit your blog & Win up to 3,000 Euros!

Are you a blogger or interested in blogging? Do you also have interest in Agriculture? If your answers are in the affirmative, then this opportunity is for you.
Submit your individual or Institutional Blog and win up to 3000 Euros. The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), in collaboration with FARA, Yam-Pukri, CAFAN, AYF, ANAFE, SPC/PAFPNET and e-Agriculture is pleased to launch the 2nd Edition of the Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition (YoBloCo Awards).
This contest is organised in the framework of the ARDYIS project, which aims to raise youth
awareness and improve their capacity on agricultural and rural development issues in ACP countries using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

The aims of the blog competition are to:
Put into limelight issues, successes and challenges faced by youth engaged in: agriculture in urban and rural areas;
Encourage the production of information and the use of new information and communication technologies by young farmers’ groups and organisations interested in the “youth in agriculture” question;
Promote the sharing of information on the issues of agriculture and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

Who can participate?
The YoBloCo Awards are open in two categories:
a. Individual category
This category is open to students in agricultural training courses, young farmers, journalists or other young people interested in ICT or agriculture.
b. Institutional category
This category is open to local or national
young farmers’ organisations;
young members of farmers’ organisations;
young members of any organisation interested in agriculture, rural development and ICT.

For this competition, an organisation is understood as any type of non-profit or for-profit association, cooperative, forum, network or related grouping, excluding government institutions. Organisations that receive funding from governments but are not formal governmental institutions can be eligible if they fulfil all criteria.

If the organisation or grouping submitting an entry is not officially registered in the country, it should be recommended, via a letter of recommendation, by a national partner organisation, which is officially registered.

When young members of an organisation are submitting an entry in the “Institutional category”, they should apply on behalf of their organisation. If the entry wins an award, it is the organisation, which will be declared winner and will receive the cash prize. The blog creator or a representative of blog creators (if it is a team) will be invited for the prize giving ceremony and receive a trophy on behalf of the winning organisation. When a team applies on behalf of their organisation, the person representing the team must be specified in the application process. The cash prize won would be sent to the organisation.

For both categories, the young people participating must be between 18 to 35 years old (by the time of submission) and be nationals of ACP countries signatories of the Cotonou Agreement (see Note 1 below).

How to participate?
Individuals or organisations who wish to submit a blog and take part in the competition will have about 4 months to prepare or update their blogs with content related to agriculture (see Section 3 below). Blogs and all required information/documents will be submitted via an online form between December and January 2014 (the link to the blog submission form will be provided on this page as from 2 December 2013).

Prior to the blog submission, all people/organisation interested to be updated regularly on the competition can subscribe on this link: EEPURL

Content of eligible blogs
The blog submitted can be a newly created one, or an existing one but which has been recently updated with content related to agriculture. However, mainly blog posts from the commencement of the competition will be judged.

A blog that deals with, or contains posts/articles on subjects other than agriculture must include, consistently (see Note 3 below), new articles related to agriculture, in order to be considered eligible.

In the context of the YoBloCo Awards, “new articles” or “new posts” refer to texts published between the launch of competition until its closure (please check section 7 below for the deadline). Posts/articles considered for the competition must be in French or English and can be related to one or several ACP countries.

Articles on the blog should cover themes or issues such as:
Challenges, success and issues faced by Youth in agriculture and related activities;
Climate change, environmental conservation, natural resource management;
Agri-business (marketing, commercialization, processing, etc.);
Agricultural production and Food security;
Agriculture value chains and agricultural policy;
Actions, policies and strategies related to youth involvement in agriculture;
ICT use in the agricultural sector (how can ICTs promote agriculture or how can ICT support innovation in agricultural value chains, ICT and agriculture policies, ICT and extension services etc.);
How are ICTs improving (or can improve) youth opportunities in rural areas;
Contribution of Diaspora in ACP Agriculture;
The role and importance of Family Farming and Smallholder Farming in alleviating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas. (see Note 4 below);
Any other agriculture related theme or issue.

Selection process
There are two different processes for the two blog categories.
a) Individual Category
The eligible individual blogs submitted will first go through a public evaluation process, whereby the online audience will vote for, and comment on the blog that they like the most. Following the public evaluation, 15 finalists will be selected based on the number of votes they will receive, and they will finally be evaluated by an independent jury composed of expert in the field of ICTs and Agriculture. The first prize for this category is 1500 Euros and other prizes will be awarded!
b) Institutional Category
Blogs in the institutional category will also go through the public evaluation process, whereby the online audience will be required to leave comments on the blogs that they like the most (there is no limit on the number of blogs to comment). The jury will then choose the best blogs per region for this category and will take into account comments made by the public. The prize for this category is 3,000 Euros per winning organisation. In addition, some of the most appreciated blogs by the public may receive special rewards from organisers if the jury does not select them.

Updates on the whole voting process and results will be shared regularly on the YoBloCo Blog and entrants who are subscribed and submitted a blog will also be informed by email.

Votes and comments on blogs will end in March, 2014.

Selection criteria
The main selection criteria are the following:
Quality of language in posts
Originality of posts/articles (most posts should be written by the entrant)
Quality of analysis in the posts
Frequency/Consistency of blogging
Animation of the blog
Presence of agriculture related content (especially since the launch of the contest for existing blogs)
Overall technical quality of the blog
For the institutional category, additional criteria are:
Presence of information on the organisation’s activities
Presence of information in youth in agriculture issues

A. Individual category
1st Prize:  1,500 Euros
2nd Prize: 1,000 Euros
3rd Prize: 800 Euros
B. Institutional category
3000 Euros per region (West Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, Caribbean and Pacific)
C. Special Prizes
Best female blogger: 1000 Euros (only individual blogs will be eligible for this prize)
Best blog on Family Farming (see Note 4 below): 1000 Euros (an individual or institutional blog may be eligible for this prize)
Best blogs with business potential: at least two blogs will be selected, out of the best finalist individual blogs selected by the public, to receive mentorship and incubation opportunities  (See Note 5 below)
D. Runners-up
A number of runners-up in will receive a certificate of participation
Winning blogs and other best blogs will be promoted by CTA and its partners’ various channels.  In addition, authors of winning blog or other best blogs will have the opportunity to be involved in future activities of CTA or its partners.

Deadline and key dates
Launch of the competition: 8 October 2013
Submission of Blogs: 2 December 2013 - 31 January 2014
Online Evaluation (public): February - March 2014
Jury Evaluation: April - May 2014
Winners Announced: June 2014
The date of the prize giving ceremony will be announced subsequently.

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