The Trelawny 4-H Club has expanded and diversified its online programs to meet training needs during the pandemic.
Parish director Natanish Hines told JIS News the move responds to growing demand for vocational training, including in new areas, as people seek to pivot and identify other sources of income.
She says that since 2000, “we’ve gone above and beyond to provide the necessary training our youth need to pivot today. We have run a number of online trainings and of course these are free trainings.
Ms Hines notes that traditionally training has focused on areas such as heifer rotation, goat rotation, tractor operation and maintenance, environment, entrepreneurship, attribution and certification. of drivers through agreements with the Ministry of Transport and Mines, and the international clubbite exchange.
However, she tells JIS News that the program offerings have been broadened, with an emphasis on equipping people with skills in rabbit herding, goat care and management, and poultry care and management.
The objective is to meet local demand but also to encourage the consumption of rabbits as a source of animal protein.
As of June 2021, training has been extended to care and management of pigs, beekeeping (beekeeping) and cattle breeding for dairy and beef production.
An interesting feature of the new training modality, Ms Hines told JIS News, is that it has been expanded to include non-clubbites and people outside of Trelawny. “We have participants from all over Jamaica… and we have reached people from 14 parishes through our online platform,” she says.
Periodically, the platform’s capacity of 100 is oversubscribed with people looking to change careers, get training and certification, or improve their earning potential, she adds.
“We saw on occasion… for the care and management of rabbits, the care and management of poultry and beekeeping, where we registered up to 99 participants. We also had 105 registrants, ”notes Ms. Hines.
Participants receive a master’s level certification upon completion of the training.
Ms Hines told JIS News that she was happy with the level of absorption of the male participants, who outnumber women.
“I have to say kudos to our men, and it’s not just the lonely and unemployed (participating), you will find that we have church groups coming in. You will find that you have a lot of (community) organizations.
“We even have professionals… who use the certification for their personal and professional development,” she says.
Ms Hines says the number of grassroots programs being rolled out by Jamaica’s 4-H clubs is also a clear indication that the movement remains committed to its core values, which are youth agricultural training and youth empowerment. .
Jamaica’s 4-H clubs are dedicated to mobilizing, educating and training young people between the ages of five and 25 in the areas of agriculture, housekeeping, leadership and social skills, which which will prepare them or influence them towards careers in agriculture and professions related to agronomy.
The aim is to provide a cadre of young, trained leaders capable of contributing to national development.