The Baobab Tree: The Key to Clean Water in Southern Africa
College Station, Texas — Logan Baker, a 4-H member from Wilson County recently competed in the 2019 Texas Youth Institute. Here Baker engaged with experts on global challenges and was ultimately named a Borlaug Scholar.
According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, the Borlaug International Agriculture Science and Technology Fellowship Program promotes food security and economic growth by providing training and research opportunities. The program began in 2004, and participants from approximately 64 different countries have attended in the past.
“Dr. Norman Borlaug offered many gifts to humanity through his life and work,” said Billy Zanolini, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist for Texas 4-H Youth Livestock and Agriculture. “Young agricultural leaders like Logan have the honor and opportunity to advance the spirit and work of Dr. Norman Borlaug.”
The World Food Prize – Global Youth Institute facilitates an environment of exploration and problem-solving. “Students are challenged with making the world a better place as Norman Borlaug did,” Zanolini said.
Students begin by picking a country, researching topics and then select which they will use to create a presentation.
“Logan learned of the World Food Prize while participating in the 4-H GLOBE (Global Leadership Opportunities Beyond Education),” said Dr. Darlene H. Locke.
GLOBE allows youth to learn about culture, sustainable agriculture and sustainable communities, Locke said. They also learn that poverty looks different in each community and how, even as an individual, they can make a difference.
“When I was searching for my topic,” Baker said. “I stumbled upon some startling statistics: that one in five children in Sub Saharan, Africa will die before their fifth birthday because of unclean water.”
Baker’s initial plan was to make a filter paper out of a tree in Tanzania, but he was unsure about what tree he would use.
“It wasn’t long until I found the Baobab tree, known for its many medical purposes,” Baker said. “It has been hailed The Tree of Life.”
Baker said he learned a lot from the topic, discovering a whole new world. In America we tend to take things like water and food for granted, but Baker’s research shows that in third world countries, people walk anywhere from two to five miles for water.
“4-H has helped me so much with this project,” Baker said. “Whether it be with public speaking skills or the connections I have made.”
His next step is to attend the World Food Prize and share his idea with hundreds of people from across the globe, Baker said. He plans to continue to fine tune his idea, so it can be the best and most logical.
“I think the biggest thing that I took away from this is to not let your perception of the world limit you to thinking you cannot change it,” Baker said.
Baker noted, “Whether you are from the biggest city, or a one light town of only a few hundred if you truly believe in yourself, you have the potential to change not only your community but the entire world.”
“During my free time when I am not working on my 4-H projects, I enjoy playing football, golf, am on the powerlifting team, and compete in One Act Play,” Baker said.
Baker plans on attending Texas A&M University to become a veterinarian, while giving back to 4-H programs and helping bring awareness to world poverty.
For more information about the Borlaug Youth Institute visit: https://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/borlaug-fellowship-program
Contact: Texas Youth Livestock Agriculture