Dateline Argentina: Generating Entrepreneurial Spirit
Junior Achievement Argentina and Monsanto have been working together since 1998 with the objective of generating an entrepreneurial spirit in children and youth that allows them to achieve their goals within a framework of responsibility and freedom.
In 2006, this relationship advanced when Monsanto decided to work with Junior Achievement Argentina in the development of a new program focused on rural enterprises. The result of this work was the creation of Our Field (Nuestro Campo in Spanish), a six-session program designed for students aged 13 to 15.
The purpose of Our Field is for students to understand the importance of education for their future and the role of education in their personal achievements, particularly in the field of agriculture. Through the six sessions, students become familiar with current rural reality and learn the steps needed to carry out a project. The program allows them to recognize the influence of science and technology in rural work, emphasizing the relationship between biotechnology and agriculture.
Since 2006, the program has been implemented in more than 50 schools in Argentina, reaching 3,300 students. And more than 130 volunteers have participated in the program. Our Field was honored in the education category of the joint management of the field awards by Banco Galicia and was recognized by Junior Achievement Worldwide.
Today, Junior Achievement Argentina and Monsanto are working on developing a new version of the program called “P.A.M.P.A.” The objective of “P.A.M.P.A” is for students to understand farming and its importance in people’s life.
Through 10 learning sessions, students will simulate the operation of rural enterprises, analyzing individual decision making on issues related to the world of agriculture. This will help them gain an understanding of the impact of the economy on quality of life, both nationally and globally.
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Argentina
For Juan Marcelo, a 14-year-old in Zarate, Argentina, participation in a scholarship program offered by the Fundación Cimientos meant he didn’t have to drop out of school when his family fell upon hard times. Marcelo had been recognized as an excellent student with educational plans and goals for the future. But during his third year in high school, his father lost his job, and his home situation changed significantly. His mother had to return to work, and Marcelo had to take on additional responsibilities at home, causing his grades to suffer.
But through the financial and social support the family received from the Fundación Cimientos Scholarship Program, funded in part with $30,000 from the Monsanto Fund, Marcelo was able to finish the school year successfully and begin his fourth year of high school on time.
The scholarship program supports students from low-income families by providing educational mentoring and financial assistance that can be used to cover education needs and any other expenses that may directly affect the students’ ability to attend school.Program participants receive personalized education coaching during the school year, and the students’ parents and/or a tutor meet monthly to talk about the students’ development and school performance. Additionally, there are group meetings where students can discuss issues they are facing as they try to obtain an education.
Once a year, all scholarship recipients are invited to a meeting that includes recreation and reflection activities, encouraging students to further share experiences and strengthening their bonds with their educational coaches.
An independent impact assessment of the program showed students awarded the Cimientos scholarship remain in school more years than their peers who are not in the program, and the scholarships often motivate parents and siblings to return to their own studies. Since the Monsanto Fund began sponsoring students through this program in 2001, 531 scholarships have been granted.