4-H Positive Youth Development in Agriculture program connects and impacts communities in Senegal

Senior Virginia Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Agent Ruth Wallace (left) stands with a group of children and adults in Senegal. In March of this year Extension and the 4-H Positive Youth  Development in Agriculture Program traveled to the West African nation to scale up programming in the region.

Senior Virginia Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Agent Ruth Wallace (left) stands with a group of children and adults in Senegal. In March of this year Extension and the 4-H Positive Youth Development in Agriculture Program traveled to the West African nation to scale up programming in the region. Reggie Morris, 4-H Youth Development Extension agent in Alexandria, is pictured in second row, second from right.

When it was time to take nominations for officers of the 4-H Positive Youth Development in Agriculture program in the Senegalese village of Toubacouta, one young woman stood out.

As Aida Nathalie Dieng’s hand shot up almost unconsciously to volunteer for the position of president, she spoke in a determined way about why she wanted to serve as the leader of the club in her village, and toward the end of her speech tears began to run down her cheeks.

“Having the opportunity to be heard is empowering, and even moving,” said Kathleen Jamison, professor emerita and Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist in 4-H  youth development.

Jamison and her team recently took the mission of Virginia Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Positive Youth Development in Agriculture program to the West African nation with the goal of building ties between children, families, and communities to give individuals the ability to live sustainable and meaningful lives that exemplify 4-H mission goals.

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