The work of this unit forms an important part of the extension delivery system. It integrates the needs, interests and potentialities of rural women into the design of training programmes, projects and activities aimed at enhancing their quality of life and that of their families and communities.
In keeping with our philosophy for the total development of the family, the training programme focuses on the development of their social, economic as well as intellectual well-being. The major areas of training include Home Management and Resource Utilization, Home Food Production & Preparation and Family Nutrition, Child Development & Family Life, Clothing & Craft, Budgeting & Money Management, Income Generation, Agro-processing, Building Self Esteem, Interpersonal Relationships, Prevention and Management of Chronic Diseases, Conflict Resolution, Small Business Management and Basic Computer Skills.
The Officers use various extension methods to implement the training and developmental activities. These are through:
# Theoretical and practical presentations in community groups or clubs.
# One-to-one training and counselling during home visits.
# Public education fora and exhibitions.
# Food Demonstrations, showing the versatility of our local foods.
# Development and distribution of pertinent publications.
# Mass media presentations and promotions.
We continue to make the programme relevant to the needs of rural families to help them cope with inflation, nutrition and health concerns and the overall maintenance of a strong family unit.
Over the past financial year the Unit has worked with 84 groups of women throughout Jamaica within which 2,500 women were trained during 959 sessions. Personal interventions were done through 1,271 home visits. The nutrition programme featured the establishment of vegetables, root crops, pulses & legumes, spices and condiments broiler chicken and pigs, within 405 home gardens and small stock enterprises.
41 food promotion fora featured the use of local food especially root crops, and fruits and vegetables in preparing a variety of nutritious dishes and products, with commercial value. These include cassava, dasheen, breadfruits, coconuts, banana, plantain, guavas, mangoes, peanuts, ginger, carrots and tamarind.
Income Generating Projects
In an effort to provide income-earning opportunities for rural women, the unit develops value-added products from primary agricultural produce around which small agro-processing enterprises are developed and implemented.
Two of these enterprises are owned and managed by RADA while others are managed solely by the women with technical support from RADA.
The Rural Agricultural Development Authority operated projects i.e. Twickenham Bammy Industry and Hanover Chips in addition to being income earners to support some activities of the unit, also serves as a model for other small businesses. Twickenham Bammy Enterprize has successfully demonstrated the sustainability of similar businesses, through the use of good manufacturing and management practices.