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UC ANR introduces twelve Mexican Delegates to 4-H

The Issue

The United States and Mexico have a long story of political, economic and scientific collaboration. Since 1994, when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, the U.S and Mexican relationship was profoundly transformed. Twenty years after NAFTA, UC President Janet Napolitano launched the UC-Mexico initiative in recognition of the fact that many of the issues facing California also face Mexico. This initiative has allowed UC and Mexican faculty to do collaborative research on climate change, water resource management, and migration and health issues among dozens of other topics. However, little attention has been brought to Cooperative Extension projects and research. Mexico could benefit from the more than 100 years’ experience of Cooperative Extension in the U.S., and California could benefit from exchange programs that help us to better serve the Latino population in the state.

What Has ANR Done?

Dr. Fabregas, Assistant Director for 4-H Diversity and Expansion in collaboration with 4-H Youth Development Advisors and 4-H program representatives, prepared an International Exchange Extension Program. The objective was that Mexican Delegates gain an understanding of the goals and operation of Cooperative Extension, UC ANR, and the 4-H Youth Development Program (YDP) in the United States and California. The experience was designed as a 4-H “hands-on experience” and provided the Mexican officials the basic tools to start a similar program in Mexico. Twelve Mexican officials from Universities, Federal and State governments, and nonprofit organizations had the opportunity to visit five counties. The schedule included attending a 4-H Club meeting, visiting UC Riverside, the Mexican Consulate in San Bernardino, Mc Farland High School, the South Coast REC, a 4-H Afterschool program, the Shafter Research Farm in Bakersfield, and an Organic Farm in Marin County. In total, Mexican delegates traveled more than 500 miles in seven days which allowed them to experience how through extension, land-grant colleges and universities in the U.S. bring vital, practical information to agricultural producers, small business owners, consumers, families, and young people.

The Payoff

Delegates gained knowledge to start programs similar to 4-H in Mexico

A Spanish questionnaire evaluated the participants’ gains on knowledge around UC ANR, Cooperative Extension, and 4-H as well as the overall benefits of the exchange. Eleven of the twelve participants agreed that their participation in this experience improved their knowledge on how the Cooperative Extension System works in California. Ten of the twelve participants learned about the objectives of 4-H YDP. All of the participants learned how a 4-H Club works (Community Club, Afterschool, etc.) and the importance of working with volunteers. They reported having the basic knowledge to start a program similar to 4-H in Mexico and agreed that 4-H YDP is a program which can contribute to improving the quality of life of the youth in their communities in Mexico. Finally, they are motivated to learn more technics and tools to implement 4-H YDP in Mexico.

Clientele Testimonial

“The most valuable from this experience for me and my organization was to learn more about the extension system and how to work in collaboration with government, academia and community for a greater good” [Translated from : Lo más valioso fue poder aprender más acerca del extensionismo y como trabajar en conjunto gobierno, universidades y comunidades para un bien común]
- Representative from the nonprofit sector in Mexico


María G. Fabregas Janeiro, PhD lfabregas@ucanr.edu; & Claudia P. Díaz Carrasco