Who are the IAEFP implementers in Mexico?
The University of Missouri (MU) is partnering with the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP) in Puebla, Mexico, to grow youth agricultural and leadership education in Mexico. UPAEP offers high quality education to high school and university students in Puebla, being one of the largest educators in the city. It is a private non-profit university, and its culture and values lead it to promote community engagement and service. The Agronomy Department manages a learning farm and it launched an agricultural extension center in 2022.
The IAEFP will be a timely investment in important agricultural production and food safety capacity in a valuable trade partner state in Mexico.
What will fellows be doing?
Fellows will be based at a high school (two fellows per school) where they will engage youth in the classroom and in extracurricular activities in topics related to agriculture, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Fellows are not limited to their host high school, and are invited to engage with other schools and with extension activities led primarily by the UPAEP university faculty.
In the high schools, we envision truly transformational experiences for the youth as the fellows facilitate positive youth development (PYD) activities that engage the students’ sense of personal agency and help them implement educational project activities, using curriculum from 4-H and other sources. The fellows will also each have a relevant agricultural extension project in the community to provide technical expertise and extension training for farmers and entrepreneurs.
During the IAEFP exchanges, fellows will dedicate time weekly to promoting ag-related hands-on learning in high school (supporting the full-time teachers), as PYD leaders in their schools (in extracurricular spaces), and as technical experts that can provide agriculture extension in their rural and urban communities. Their contributions will leave a lasting impact in their communities and the experience will advance the fellows’ knowledge of agricultural entrepreneurship and their ability to serve immigrant communities in the U.S.
Will there be Training and Mentorship?
Fellows will receive multi-disciplinary training to support their teaching, positive youth development, Puebla-relevant agricultural knowledge, their cultural competency and exchange growth, etc. as well as a mentor from the UPAEP faculty members.
Pre-service, in-service, and post-service training and support from the University of Missouri and UPAEP include:
- Cohort pre-service virtual training sessions building on the AgriCorp model
- Program orientation with FAS officials
- Content and cultural competency training
- Classes or tutoring to grow Spanish language proficiency
- Training and support upon arrival in-country, and throughout the fellowship
- One-on-one mentorship from subject matter expert during fellowship
- Access to online academic resources from University of Missouri
How close will I be to other IAEFP Fellows?
Fellows will be placed in pairs at a high school located in a medium or large city. The high schools are within a few hours of travel from each other in or near Puebla, allowing for collaboration and for access to resources at the UPAEP university facilities.
Fellows’ homebase is at the high school, but they are able to organize activities that reflect local needs and the fellow’s own interests and technical knowledge areas.
What living standards can I expect as a fellow?
Each site will have two fellows who will advance the agricultural education and extension with the high school’s teachers and administration, with community members, and with faculty from the UPAEP university. The two fellows will share a furnished 2+ bedroom apartment the program provides near their high school. Each fellow will receive a monthly stipend of US$550 for their living expenses and US$200 for local transportation costs (i.e. $750/month). The stipends and provided housing is similar to what a recent college graduate earns in Mexico. Fellows will have health insurance provided within the Mexican system, plus a travel insurance policy for medical emergencies. Mobile phone coverage is important and a local plan will be paid for by the program.
The IAEFP has some budget lines for the costs of programs in the schools and extension activities, and youth are encouraged to lead and manage budgets for their 4-H projects.
The program values and prioritizes activities to facilitate cultural exchange, such as facilitating regular dinners with a welcoming family and trips with university faculty and students for educational and cultural purposes.
NOTE: Fellows are not considered federal employees and do not have employment rights with the U.S. Federal Government.
Will I have cell and internet access?
Yes, cell coverage is quite good in the cities, while trips to more rural areas may have spotty reception. Some of the cellular companies in the United States, such as AT&T and T-Mobile, have the same coverage at the same cost you pay in the US while you use your cell phone in Mexico. The program will provide fellows with a local SIM and cell plan.
Can fellows travel around the country and to other countries?
Fellows will have lots of activities to lead and to participate in – for the high schools, for the 4-H clubs, for extension activities, and for their own professional development. There may be breaks throughout the school year that allow for travel. Some weekend trips will be set up for the cohort and colleagues as team-building cultural activities. All travel outside of the Puebla area must be approved by the program coordinator in partnership with the security lead, to ensure the fellows’ security and that adequate safety measures are in place.
What is the timeline of activities?
- March – April: Fellows selected
- June – July: Preparation for the fellowship: Online calls and trainings, required readings, etc.
- August: Fellowship scheduled to begin in Puebla, Mexico
- Late May: Fellowship scheduled to end