October 1999 // Volume 37 // Number 5
Empowerment: What Is It?
Many use the term empowerment without understanding what it really means. A literature review resulted in no clear definition of the concept, especially one that could cross-disciplinary lines. This article defines empowerment as a multi-dimensional social process that helps people gain control over their own lives. It is a process that fosters power in people for use in their own lives, their communities and in their society, by acting on issues they define as important. The Connecticut People Empowering People program uses this definition to connect research, theory, and practice.
Perceived Influence of Selected Factors On Decision of High School 4-H Youth to Volunteer
The author observes that volunteerism has never been strong in the parish 4-H program with which he works. A study was designed to identify factors influencing teens to volunteer. Findings from the study parallel findings from a 1996 survey, conducted for the Independent Sector, that sheds some light on the volunteering behavior of American teenagers. Recommendations include incorporating factors identified in the local and national studies in a plan that will motivate youth to volunteer and to volunteer in a continuing manner. Further research in teen volunteerism should identify additional factors influencing youth to volunteer.
Effective Use of Risk Communication Strategies for Health & Safety Educational Materials
Risk communication strategies can help increase the effectiveness with which educators, specialist communicate with audiences about human health and safety. This publication outlines specific techniques and strategies to motivate people to take action, calm people down when they are enraged, and to communicate information that may be difficult to understand. Many programming areas, agriculture and natural resources, community development, consumer and family sciences, and 4-H and youth each deal with risk-related subject areas. The application of strategies like those outlined in this publication can help to increase the effectiveness with which health and safety programs are developed and delivered.
Making Our Nonpoint Source Pollution Education Programs Effective
Educational programming is a common part of most watershed protection projects, but education strategies vary greatly from project to project, and from educator to educator. The amount of information and the way it is delivered also varies. Educational programming provides information to landowners in order to encourage environmentally beneficial action, such as the installation of best management practices. Education strategies, especially those that seek to reduce nonpoint source pollution from agriculture, generally rely on a combination to two approaches. The first uses diffuse communication campaign methods to disseminate information, somewhat randomly, over a wide area. The second comprises one-on-one information transfer techniques such as on-farm visits and individual farm trials. To assess the effects of these two educational approaches, the rate of adoption of nutrient management strategies by farmers in two different Wisconsin watersheds between 1990 and 1995 was compared. The study found that by focusing educational programming through one-on-one information transfer techniques the adoption of specific nutrient management practices increased and the application of excessive nitrogen and phosphorus decreased.
Collaborative Problem Solving: Financial Education for Youth
Financial literacy is a highly promoted objective - one that takes many partners to address effectively. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension family economics specialists initiated a statewide collaborative effort to develop new ways to link financial education for youth to educators. An Economic Education Expo was planned which attracted more than 100 educators and 40 inner city, ethnically diverse young people. Adults attended workshops ranging from economic standards to personal finance. The young people shared a wide range of entrepreneurship experiences and expertise. A collaboration wall exercise after lunch gave participants an opportunity to write mini proposals for small grants. At the end of the conference, more than 80 percent of the participants said the Expo would help them do a better job. At a follow-up evaluation meeting, the collaborating partners said they often found themselves in competing situations, and it took Cooperative Extension to bring them all together to work toward a common goal.
Extension's Role with Farmers' Markets: Working with Farmers, Consumers, and Communities
Farmers' markets are popular outlets for fresh food in many communities. Consumers choose to shop at these markets for a number of reasons, including freshness, appearance, and taste of produce, as well as enjoying the atmosphere of such a market. In addition to these benefits to consumers, farmers' markets serve the vendors who sell at them and the communities in which they are located in economic, educational, and social ways. This article examines the multiple benefits of farmers' markets and suggests ways that Extension can continue to take an active role in furthering their growth and development.
Research in Brief
The Domestic Labor Puzzle: Meaning and Emotion
It is hypothesized that domestic labor inequality produces negative emotions among dual-earner wives. However, researchers are puzzled to find that the majority of wives don't report negative emotion. This paper examines the meaning domestic labor has to women and how it influences their emotion. A cluster analysis was conducted using three measures: domestic labor as part of the wives self-identity, importance of equality, and fairness of the division. The analysis shows that when meaning is considered, visible connections emerge between the division of labor and emotions regarding inequality. Meaning may be the missing piece to resolving the domestic labor puzzle.
Stakeholder Satisfaction with a 4-H Extension Program for Five- to Eight-Year-Old Children
Stakeholder evaluations are essential for modifying or adjusting a program to ensure it is meeting its goals. A sample of 277 parents, 144 volunteers, and 44 agents/program assistants were surveyed to determine the perceived value and acceptance level of Ohio's 4-H K-2 program and its curriculum. The results were clear. The stakeholders of Ohio's 4-H program believe it is beneficial and effective for improving life skills for five- to eight-year-old children. Other states could benefit from using stakeholder evaluations to determine the immediate concerns of the people directly involved in the success or failure of a program.
Gathering Food and Nutrition Information from Migrant Farmworker Children through In-depth Interviews
As educators target the growing population of children of migrant farmworkers with nutrition education programs, information about educational needs related to nutrition and food safety knowledge and food purchasing and preparation responsibilities is needed. Individual interviews were conducted with 22 children (9-12 years old) in migrant work camps. Most children were significantly involved in food preparation activities, but to a limited extent in food purchasing activities. Most had learned food preparation skills at home, but did not verbalize preparing or planning meals based on knowledge of nutrition or food safety.
Missouri Master Gardener Demographics
A survey was conducted of Missouri Master Gardeners to identify their demographics and to determine if Master Gardeners fit general volunteer demographic patterns. Females accounted for 65% of respondents and males 35%. Those in their 40's comprised the largest demographic group. The majority were married with children; over 50% had at least a college degree; one-third had household incomes of $60,000 or greater; most were long-term residents of small towns or rural areas. Missouri Master Gardener demographics fit the pattern of volunteers in general, but demographic data proved to be a poor predictor of intent to continue volunteering.
4-H Projects: Is Completion Important?
There are, by policy, no standards or requirements for 4-H membership that compels an individual to complete a project. This baseline study gained information on project completion of two project areas in 1996-1997 in West Virginia: 4-H animal science and food preparation. Data were collected and analyzed from reviews of 7,569 project enrollment forms from 45 projects. The overall completion rate was 67.3%. Results of this study provide direction for defining project completion and its importance in providing a viable educational program for 4-H youth. Further inquiry into factors affecting completion of 4-H projects needs to be made. Completion rate could also be one measure for evaluating project curricular content and project support by leaders and/or parents.
Factor Analysis Adds New Dimension to Extension Surveys
Survey has been one of the most popularly used research and evaluation tools in extension work. Traditional approach to survey analysis involves the use of frequency counts, t-test, correlation, and measures of central tendency. One procedure often left out, if not totally ignored because of its reputed complexity, is factor analysis. Factor analysis is a variable-reduction statistical technique capable of probing underlying relationships in variables using Likert-type scales. The procedure essentially removes metric redundancies from a survey and extracts the common thread that binds a set of observed variables together. The analysis can be implemented using a powerful SAS(R) procedure, called PROC FACTOR. This paper discusses implementation of factor analysis in SAS and proposes its use as an additional statistical procedure for Likert-based extension surveys.
Ideas at Work
Transferring Poultry Information to the Public Using the Internet: AvianNet @ Purdue University
This article describes the impact of AvianNet, a web site designed to aid the dissemination of information from the university to county educators and poultry producers. Educators most frequently use the site (33%), compared to poultry producers (19%). The number of phone calls regarding poultry needs to the authors' offices has decreased by ten-fold compared to a similar period before the inception of this project. It is believed that this decrease is a direct result of the extensive poultry database. County educators who would have previously called the authors' offices can now search under the web site's "publication" section. Direct links to hundreds of Extension publications can answer the majority of previously phoned-in questions proposed to county educators by poultry producers who do not utilize the Internet.
University Outreach and Extension took the lead to initiate a Storytelling Festival in the southwest region of Missouri. About 500 people including children, teenagers, parents, child care providers, teachers, and senior citizens attended the festival and festival outreach. The festival included workshops, storytelling time, a family concert, and displays. Local storytellers shared their stories at 12 nursing homes and senior citizens centers. The event was an overwhelming success because of community collaboration and involvement. An evaluation showed 78% of respondents said the festival provided them with broader views about diverse cultures and increased their understanding about history, heritage, and literature.
Corn Earworm IPM Educational Program in Utah
An educational program on corn earworm IPM helped growers reduce insecticide applications while maintaining market quality. On-farm demonstration plots using pheromone traps were used to monitor corn earworm moth populations. Monitoring showed that up to three pesticide applications per season could be eliminated. Moth levels varied depending on the geographic location. Growers were taught IPM practices by farm visits, state training meetings, tours to university research farm, and publication of a fact sheet. After they were trained, growers were encouraged to adopt IPM practices by monitoring their own fields and adjusting spray schedules based on CEW moth population levels. A total of 25 growers who manage 400 of sweet corn adopted IPM practices from 1994-1998.
Reaching Migrant Farmworker Youth Through 4-H Career amd Workforce Programs
As the population in the U.S. changes, The Extension 4-H program is challenged to reach out to new and culturally diverse youth audiences. Addressing this challenge, South Texas Extension 4-H faculty developed partnerships with educational agencies, community organizations and private industry to reach out to migrant farm worker youth. Through a day-long conference focused on careers in the food and fiber system and higher education, migrant youth learned about employment opportunities in agriculture and related technical and college education options. This model program (a) provides an alternate avenue of participation in 4-H, in addition to traditional clubs, to new audiences, and (b) develops career awareness and workforce preparedness among youth.
Tools of the Trade
Dot Posters: A Practical Alternative to Written Questionnaires and Oral Interviews
Dot posters provide a quick, inexpensive, and reliable method for collecting information in public settings such as farmers' markets. Instead of filling out questionnaires or being interviewed, respondents are asked to answer close-ended questions on large flip charts by using stick-on "dots". Consumer response to the approach was overwhelmingly positive as 90% agreed to participate and 94% preferred this data collection method to written questionnaires. Overall, the dot posters add to rather than detract from the atmosphere in the markets. Dot posters represent an accessible and useful tool that should be considered for many research situations.
Land Grant University Information Delivery through Automated Telephone Message Services in the United States
At least 15 states have offered information delivery through prerecorded telephone messages to answer repetitive questions. The public's response in different states varies from less than 100 to over 50,000 inquiries per year. Factors that determine usage include marketing, population, and availability of current scripts. States have shared scripts and a few have combined audio services with adjoining states. In response to the United State's 11% Hispanic Latino population, some are translating scripts into Spanish. To contain costs, a network could be formed. This group could share subject matter, communication needs of emerging populations, and marketing and product ideas.
Chi Epsilon Sigma (National Extension Support Staff Fraternity)
Chi Epsilon Sigma (CES) is a national, professional Extension association first proposed and organized in Ohio for support staff. The purpose of CES is to maintain the standards and ideals, uphold the morale, prestige and respect of Extension support staff, to develop an effective working relationship and a spirit of fraternal fellowship among the present and emeriti employees of Extension, and to encourage professionalism within Extension. Now in its 12th year, Chi Epsilon Sigma is considered a success story by both the administration and support staff members in Ohio.