National 4-H has recently announced a partnership with two sub-Saharan African countries. Linda Jo Turner, Foundation Relations Consultant and Director of the National 4-H Council explains:
“We’re partnering now with Tanzania 4-H, they started about 35 years ago with help from Finnish 4-H, of all things, they now reach about 34,000 kids every year, and our partnership with them right now is to help build a 4-H network that engages more African 4-H programs, and to help Tanzania 4-H program become kind of a hub of excellence and sharing of expertise across Africa building the capacity to help young people to become better farmers, agribusiness leaders, better civic leaders through the 4-H model.”
Turner explains the goals of working with African youth:
“In sub-Saharan Africa, there’s about a dozen 4-H programs already working, reaching almost a quarter million kids, but the goals of those programs is to reach kids who may be engaged in agriculture, who may want to engage in agriculture. There’s a real problem with rural African youth right now that agriculture isn’t appealing, that agriculture is a dead end job, the last job that you want to have. Some of it is subsistence.”
Turner explains that over it’s 100 year existence, 4-H has evolved to serve the urban community as well as the rural community, and that’s their hope for 4-H in Africa, as well:
“In the Untied States, and in much of the rest of the world…lots of the world, really, the 4-H program serves rural kids, suburban kids, urban kids, so, the basic idea of the 4-H model is the same, really, whether you’re in a rural community or an urban community.”
In addition to making agriculture more attractive as a career for African youth, Turner says there’s other goals:
“This is a really a partnership with African 4-H program, we are learning from them about how they make the best, better, which is the 4-H motto, by the way. But, we’re also trying to link those programs, and improve those programs, they have a great way of helping young people change their lives, but they’re very small in some cases, and under funded they’re not funded the same way they are in the US.
We’re hoping through the partnership we can help them grow so that more kids are involved in 4-H and improve their lives, and the lives of their families and their communities.”
Linda Jo Turner, Foundation Relations Consultant and Director of the National 4-H Council.