CHEVY CHASE, MARYLAND - In an effort to address major global issues such as poverty, food security and youth unemployment in emerging economies, 4-H programs around the world are uniting in a Global 4-H Network. With help from five founding partners - the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Cargill, DuPont, Motorola, and the Nike Foundation - National 4-H Council has begun an initiative to bring existing 4-H programs around the world together to create sustainable livelihoods and economic security for the next generation of farmers.


"By 2025, the global youth population will top 1.5 billion, weighing even more heavily on nations that are already facing extreme hunger, poverty and unemployment," said Donald T. Floyd, Jr., president and CEO of National 4-H Council. "With more than 100 years of proven success in the U.S., 4-H is now a tremendous worldwide asset capable of transforming these challenges into opportunities. By linking existing 4-H programs, youth around the world will be engaged in a global movement to improve their own lives and the economy of their country."


The Global 4-H Network has launched a pilot partnership with Tanzania 4-H, a program that reaches 34,000 children, adolescents and young adults every year. In addition to the pilot project in Tanzania, the Global 4-H Network is expanding to connect African and Asian 4-H programs, and 4-H-type programs around the world.


"The farmer who will feed the world in 2025 is today's 13-year old boy or girl," said James C. Borel, executive vice president, DuPont and chair of the National 4-H Council Board of Trustees. "DuPont believes this global partnership will help prepare tomorrow's farmers to sustainably improve their livelihoods, in turn enhancing the quality of life for their families and supporting their country's economy for generations to come."


To bring the Global 4-H Network to life, National 4-H Council is mobilizing public and private partners for this important work. Faculties from several U.S. land-grant universities are providing guidance and expertise to build the Network's capabilities, including Dr. Mary Crave from The University of Wisconsin-Extension, and Dr. Robert Horton from The Ohio State University.
Additionally, to aid in the further development and management of the Global 4-H Network, a new subcommittee has been created within National 4-H Council's Board of Trustees. The Trustee Global Advisory Committee will serve as advisors to Council's Board and CEO regarding global efforts with Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, serving as chair.


Since its beginning in the United States more than 100 years ago, 4-H has proven to be a successful model for teaching agricultural innovation, building civic engagement, and improving incomes for rural youth. Researchers in the U.S. and around the world report that 4-H is effective in promoting science literacy, civic engagement, and educational attainment. The Global 4-H Network will use the 4-H model to:


• Provide research-based information and technical assistance to help improve a country's agricultural productivity, generate income, and improve education;

• Establish a virtual 4-H Knowledge Center offering culturally-relevant and research-based resources, tools and expertise that can be used at the local level;

• Link and expand 4-H programs around the world for greater impact and scale through innovative partnerships.


Work on the Global 4-H Network has already begun. African 4-H leaders from ten countries are collaborating with National 4-H Council to develop a virtual 4-H Knowledge Center with resources that can be used worldwide. In the coming months, Tanzania 4-H club advisors will learn how to use mobile phones and other emerging technologies to receive training and share best practices for working with young people.


Susan Naburi, CEO of Tanzania 4-H, said, "Our mission is to build a world in which youth can learn, grow and work together to become economically independent and responsible adults. We are excited and look forward to the positive impact of the Global 4-H Network."


SOURCE: National 4-H Council