Tafadzwa Anne-Marie Dzinoreva, the world president of the International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences (IAAS) for 2017-2018, can't resist an opportunity to inspire and equip others for change.
Dzinoreva is due to complete a graduate degree in Public Policy and Governance in 2018. Her journey to the helm of one of the largest student organizations in the world began in 2014, with a study-abroad placement.
While studying for a degree in Agribusiness Management at Africa University, Dzinoreva did an internship at Farm Creeks Farms in Iowa. During her stay in the United States, she visited Iowa State University where the IAAS was holding its 57th World Congress. Dzinoreva was invited to join the Congress for one week.
"That one week was life-changing," said Dzinoreva. "I was so excited to see people of my own age engaged in real talk and the search for solutions to producing high-quality food sustainably and feeding the planet, I thought, we need this in Africa."
On her return, Dzinoreva worked with fellow students in the school of agriculture to establish the National Committee of IAAS Zimbabwe at Africa University. Since 2014, two local committees (or units) have been added—at the University of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe College of Forestry.
True to the IAAS motto, Dzinoreva thinks globally and acts locally to target food shortages, food waste and hunger. She champions ongoing, student-led IAAS projects among farmers and in communities and helps to prepare "students to fulfill the challenges of their future work" through advocacy, training and global exposure.
"I have gained quite a lot by being part of IAAS and now I think bigger," said Dzinoreva. "It has given me the confidence to stand for what I believe in—unity, team work, innovation and encouraging other students who are preparing to contribute through careers in agriculture and related sciences…and for this, I go back to the internship opportunity I got through Africa University. (It) has opened more doors for me than I ever anticipated."
For Dzinoreva and her colleagues in the IAAS World Executive Board, growing the IAAS and its global impact is a high priority. Since December 2016, the IAAS presence in Africa has grown from 13 countries to 22. Sixteen are IAAS member countries, while six others are in the process of formalizing their ties to the IAAS.
Ramoudane Orou Sannou, the African Regional Director of IAAS, describes Dzinoreva as a leader with brilliant ideas and the courage to implement them.
"It is truly a chance to have her in this position," said Sannou. "She can put her passion and commitment in agriculture to make a lasting impact on IAAS and above all, strengthen our presence in Africa, which for me is the region whose students have need for such an association that prepares them for their future professional life."
Founded in 1957, the IAAS has a membership of more than 10,000 students and units in more than 50 countries. The organization promotes sustainable agriculture and food production worldwide by encouraging students to exchange ideas, network, and hone their professional skills through training, international exchanges/internships, and the implementation of community development projects. IAAS partners include the World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Andra M. Stevens, Director, Communications, Africa University Development Office
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Africa University Fund transforms Africa by educating and empowering students from across the continent through Africa University, the first fully accredited, United Methodist-related educational institution on the continent. The Africa University Fund supports the general operating expenses of Africa University including faculty and staff salaries and vital infrastructure. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Africa University Fund at 100 percent.