Senior Citizen Farmers, 4-H Millennials Stay Connected through Smart ‘Millenniors’ Program

Rice farmer Danilo Lapore takes down notes while two 4-H Club members from Magdalena, Laguna guide him through the learning modules on smartphone, mobile data, and social media.

MAGDALENA, Laguna—Tech-savvy millennials and senior citizen farmers bonded over smartphones and the Internet for a two-day mentoring program advocating #InternetForAll.

This is through the partnership between the Agricultural Training Institute and Smart Communications to make sure that senior citizens, particularly farmers, do not get left behind with today’s fast-paced advancements in technology. Through the Farmers’ Information and Technology Services Center in Magdalena, Laguna and Smart’s Public Affairs Group, the first leg of the Smart Millenniors Program for Farmers was launched.

Around 30 senior citizen farmers, elders, and 4-H Club members from Magdalena convened to strengthen senior-millennial relationship through a shared use of technology.

The Smart Public Affairs team led the lecture, while 4-H club members, who are also agriculture students from Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU) Magdalena Satellite Campus, volunteered to guide them on navigating their smartphones.

Volunteer Jimuel Patron shared, “I enjoyed spending time with our seniors despite the age gap. I was hesitant at first because my patience will definitely be tested but I’m happy that I volunteered and shared my knowledge.”

Specifically, the seniors learned about the parts and button functions of a smartphone, basics of Smart Long-Term Evolution or LTE, signing up for Facebook and Facebook Messenger, finding and streaming videos on Youtube, staying safe online, as well as the dos and don’ts in social media.

“Being able to learn all these is a big help. With it, I can now use the cellphone that my daughter gave me. Before, I only use it for calling—not even texting—but now, I can explore the Internet. There’s a lot to familiarize with, but I am thankful that I am learning little by little. I can talk to my relatives from distant places and see them through video call. I am having so much fun!” Rice Farmer Danilo Lapore, 62, said.

“I can now also get updates from the Department of Agriculture, through their Facebook page, on various farming information and tips,” he added.

The program likewise serves as an avenue for millennials to give back. Regelyn Aliparo, another 4-H Club member and LSPU student, called it a coincidence that she was able to return the favor to her gradeschool principal, “Never did I expect this opportunity to happen—I am now the teacher and she is my student. It was fulfilling to share what you know to someone you look up to.”

The Smart Millenniors Program was launched in 2017 and has already conducted sessions with senior citizens around Metro Manila, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro. However, this session in Magdalena was the first specifically conducted for senior citizen farmers. It was held last January 31-February 1, 2019 at the Farmers’ Training Center in this municipality.

ATI Today

Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.