Guyanese Youth Rebuilding the Caribbean’s Fruit Basket

Eksi Edwards had never been to Canada before. As a young Guyanese woman that’s nothing uncommon. It’s a rare thing for youth to have the opportunity to travel abroad and experience the change in perspective travel affords.

But in July of 2017, Eksi was selected to participate in the Global 4H Summit in Ottawa, which brings together 4H representatives from all over the world. The experience changed her forever. “It was something that could never, ever, ever be compared to,” she says. “I came back with a lot of ideas.” Now she wants to send a 4H member from Guyana to every summit “to show the world what Guyana can do.”

But Eksi’s trip almost didn’t happen. Only a few years ago, 4H Clubs, which had previously thrived in Guyana, were nowhere to be seen. It was Cuso International volunteer Alexandra MacAulay Abdelwahab who brought them back. Now there are five clubs in the country with the one that Eksi is the president of at the Guyana School of Agriculture being the most active.

Understanding the impact 4H Clubs have on not only youth, but also on communities, Cuso International frequently partners with 4H to help youth develop more than their practical knowledge of agriculture, but also their personal growth and leadership. You can see the impact it has had on Eksi.

Despite a shy demeanor she speaks with confidence about how she sees the club affecting her life and the lives of its members. “4H has shown us that you don’t have to work for someone else. You can start you own business, make your own things and have other people work for you.”

But Eksi’s ambition goes beyond the club. She sees it and the Guyana School of Agriculture as two key parts to rejuvenating Guyana’s agriculture industry: “Guyana was the fruit basket of the Caribbean. I want to take us back there.”

You can empower young women like Eksi with the knowledge and skills to overcome obstacles by making a gift to Cuso International today. Your donation will be leveraged to make ten times the impact.