The 4H movement continues to promote the “Engagement of youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing in developmental and leadership roles.”
The 4H’s which represent the head, heart, hands, and health supports the idea of practical and hands-on learning, advancing the knowledge of agriculture, the environment, human health and wellbeing. The international organisation which was developed out of a thrust to drive agriculture back in 1902 has now broadened its goals to cover a full range of youth, including minorities, and a wide range of life experiences. Head of the 4H Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands Denis Baptiste is encouraging parents to allow their children to join the movement, as it promotes a greater awareness of the origin of their food.
“Knowing where your food comes from is one of the main benefits of being a 4H-er. You are able to understand the benefits of the food you grow and the nutritional benefits. During this time of climate change and other pertinent issues, we teach children how to grow their food. We also collaborate with the Grenada Food & Nutrition Council to provide information, training so that children also have a greater understanding of the nutritional values of their food.”
The unit works with over 70 schools according to Baptiste, with its mandate of promoting agricultural development. Baptiste said, “At present we have 72 registered clubs, [the] majority of them exist within primary schools while we have about 12 secondary schools and three tertiary institutions.”
The 4H unit provides an opportunity for hands-on learning in the areas of leadership and life skills. The unit also provides a leader to guide its members. “Wherever we have a group we have an adult leader for the group to provide guidance to our members.”
Some of the projects that have been undertaken locally include poultry projects, small ruminants, tree planting, back yard gardening, quizzes, workshops fundraisers and others. Baptiste speaks to the procedure that one has to follow, in order to become a member of the grouping. “Once your parent or guardian gives the go-ahead, after you express your interest in joining the club you speak to a 4H leader, which will provide a registration form. Your parent/guardian must complete the form and return to the leader. This would be followed by a fun enrollment process.”
To date, the Grenada 4H movement has received funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the National Zero Hunger Challenge Initiative. The movement was first introduced to Grenada in 1959. It is a global network of youth organisations that provides experiences for young people to learn by doing. Students here have been involved in gardening, poultry projects. Children engage in hands-on projects in areas such as health, science, agriculture and citizenship.
Ministry of Agriculture