In a Senegalese village, children grow vegetable seedlings and organize money-raising sumo-wrestling events in a 4-H Positive Youth Development program launched in March.
At the Ndoumbouji primary school, where the main focus is gardening, “the teachers told us that every break they have, the students run to the garden,” says Ozzie Abaye, a Virginia Tech professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “The group wants to try to expand the garden project outside of the campus.”
The 4-H program, part of the Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech, is designed to motivate “young people to understand agriculture, to become agriculturalists, and to be involved in family farms and their communities,” Abaye says. But the effect spanned generations. When a 4-H club meeting was called, “the entire community turned out. They are very happy that the kids are involved in doing something meaningful.”