ITALY: Salesian Net4Grow project provides agriculture training and business networking
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Net4Grow project was recently presented at the end of the Expo Lombriasco AgriCultura 2019, held in October. The collaborative project is facilitated by a network of representatives from the Salesian Agricultural School of Lombriasco, the Plaza Argentina Association, the Salesian agricultural schools worldwide, the Past Pupils of Don Bosco, and businesses and professionals in the agriculture sector.
The project is led by Father Marco Casanova, director of the Salesian Agricultural School of Lombriasco, and Daniel Ormeno, coordinator of the project from the Plaza Argentina Association. Others have joined the project including representatives from the Salesian International Volunteering for Development (VIS), ISIRES Institute of Turin, the Agricultural University of Turin and the Agrimana Studio, which is coordinating the staff of agricultural technicians, agronomists and veterinarians.
The goal of Net4Grow is to preserve and develop agricultural vocational training and generate projects for shared local development. Additional training for both teachers and students in agriculture, livestock, innovation in the agro-industry and agribusiness is being planned for current Salesian vocational and technical training centers. Net4Grow is also working to set up on-the-job training for students so they can take what they have learned in the classroom and put it into practice in the world.
The project benefits both students and the business community. Net4Grow is also launching a Network Academy dedicated to entrepreneurs, where businesses become partners in research through the Net4Grow LAB in order to launch projects with national or international partners. Businesses will also be able to take advantage of vocational training courses that are tailored specifically for the work they do. Lastly, the Network Academy will help entrepreneurs create new opportunities where they can offer their products, services, and search for partners and collaborators in Italy and abroad.
“Salesian projects like Net4Grow are so successful in part because they remain flexible and diversified to meet of the needs of their students and the businesses that collaborate on the project,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Being an integral part of the communities in which they work, Salesian missionaries are aware of local needs first-hand and are then able to develop a project to directly address those needs.”
Salesian programs across Italy help youth who are unable to attend school and others who drop out to work at the few jobs available to them. A growing number of children work as laborers on farms and others have turned to the sex trade to help support their families. Those in poverty often live without adequate shelter, hot water, regular meals and health care.
Italy, Europe’s third-largest economy, has close to 2 million children living in poverty, according to UNICEF. The poverty rate has risen in the wake of Europe’s economic crisis. Unemployment is at its highest level since the late 1970s with the overall jobless rate at 12.5 percent and youth unemployment as high as 41 percent.
According to UNICEF, a growing number of youth are living away from their families in temporary shelters and within government and charity programs because of inadequate support from or neglect by their families. Salesian programs work to combat these challenges by providing shelter, nutrition, education and workforce development services for youth in need.
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Salesian Missions – Italy
UNICEF – Italy Poverty