Youth Ag-education Innovation Cooperative
Texas A&M students team up with WeFeedUs, Inc. on aquaponic project in Rwanda
College Station, TX- November 19, 2014 – Five Texas A&M students and one Alumni are launching a youth empowerment program in Rwanda called the Youth Ag-education Innovation Cooperative (YAIC) through partnerships with WeFeedUs and Building Bridges with Rwanda (BBR). Implementation is scheduled to begin September 2015.
YAIC addresses unemployment by giving youth the tools necessary to support themselves through entrepreneurial agri-business strategies. By incorporating a functional business strategy, an international cross-cultural network, and an applied learning structure within the cooperative, youth will acquire the skills necessary to add value within the agricultural sector and address food insecurity within their nations. YAIC’s goal is to change youth’s negative perception of agriculture by offering a viable agri-business model based on agri-tourism and aquaponics.
BBR’s founder, Lama Mugabo is currently on the ground working with youth in Goshora, Rwanda. He and several Universities, including Texas A&M, are working together with YAIC to establish study abroad programs focused on encouraging intercultural exchange and agri-tourism, and offering a high impact experience for American students to participate in.
WeFeedUs, Inc. provides scalable commercial aquaponic models to grow sustainable food and support the development of renewable energy ecosystems. In partnering with YAIC earlier this month, Founder & CEO, Mike Andrus expressed, “We want to provide youth with practical experience and share our entrepreneurial spirit with young minds who will one day take responsibility for our planet.” WeFeedUs previously built a proof of concept aquaponic facility in Pennsylvania. They now plan to build large scale agriculture innovation centers throughout the US and abroad which include aquaponic, hydroponic and algae growth systems. By providing financial as well as in-kind support to the YAIC mission, WeFeedUs seeks to build awareness about aquaponic facilities and demonstrate their ability to provide sustainable solutions that address global food insecurity.
YAIC’s long term mission is to create a model that can be replicated throughout the world.