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Purdue Extension’s Elysia Rodgers Honored on International Day of Rural Women

 The United Nations will celebrate International Day of Rural Women on October 15, 2021. We will be celebrating all rural women on this day, but one Purdue woman has been chosen by the Network of Rural Women Producers in Trinidad and Tobago (NRWPTT) to be honored. DeKalb County Director and Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator Elysia Rodgers will be  honored at the NRWPTT International Rural Women’s Day celebration event. Rodgers was selected because of her contributions as a goat farmer, mentor and F2F volunteer.

Elysia Rodgers

“I learned so much from Elysia. She has a great style of teaching and imparting her knowledge to others,” said local Trinidad and Tobago volunteer, Adanna Piggott. “Elysia is one of a kind. She is a very good farmer and teaches from her own experience. She handles her livestock very well and is a great role model for rural women.”

Rodgers has been a virtual volunteer for the Purdue Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program in collaboration with The University of the West Indies at St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago for several workshops including Farm Record Keeping, Pest & Disease Identification for Tropical Crops and Multimedia Skills for Virtual Agro-Tourism Tours. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)  program provides technical assistance from U.S. volunteers to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries. In 2020, Purdue University’s International Programs in Agriculture (IPIA) and Purdue Extension announced the USAID John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program would be implemented in Trinidad and Tobago over the next three years.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Purdue F2F program temporarily transitioned the project into a virtual volunteer assistance strategy to support host organizations, which have provided real-time and pre-recorded trainings for host groups in Trinidad and Tobago.

“When it was announced there would be a transition to virtual volunteer assistance strategies, I was a little uncertain how the programming would work overall,” said Elysia Rodgers. “I remember during my first assignment in February/March 2021, we had a snowstorm in Indiana the night before one of the virtual classes. At the start of the class, I took my computer outside so they could see the snow falling, all while I was listening to the crooning of tropical birds from their end. One of the most impactful takeaways I’ve had is seeing how we have different growing seasons yet share many of the same problems.”

“Being chosen as an honoree as part of the NRWPTT International Rural Women’s Day truly is an honor,” said Rodgers. “I felt great about how each of my assignments went but being recognized like this after working with all individuals truly makes me believe that my work had an important impact on the success of their farming practices and business.”

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