When it comes to the mental health crisis enveloping society not only in South Africa, but the world over, there is a huge emphasis on putting out fires. At the International Agricultural Academy for Africa, we believe in preventing fires. Our transformative approach to support all our students, farmers and their workers, the agricultural industry and related state departments is based on our core belief that: we have everything we need inside us.
The i3A -Garcias for Africa Connection
Project Garcias for Africa has been introduced to the International Agricultural Academy for Africa (i3A) in 2016 to bring ground-breaking discoveries about the mind to all their students.
This project points people towards a profound but simple truth: the “Inside-Out” understanding of how people experience life from moment-to-moment as we have discovered that there are principles to psychology that will not only unlock your Mind’s potential but offers incredible hope for humanity.
In practical terms this means that i3A has adopted a strategy that the mental wellbeing of its students is the preferred Point of Entry of its intervention, before any training in the field of agriculture is provided.
i3A has adopted this strategy because we are of the opinion that the field of psychology is fighting a losing battle (trying to put out fires) to find ways to help people to cope with, control and attempt to manage their emotions, perceptions and behaviors, rather than understand them to be the infinitely variable output of a universal system that works the same way, perfectly for everyone.
Through the Garcias for Africa Program, we would like to introduce our students and people to a new understanding of the mind that exposes the powerful yet invisible link between what we think and how we feel, and why we behave the way we do. We will show that just as all problems begin in the mind, so do all their solutions. The program will empower people to insightfully realize that they get caught up in a devastating misunderstanding of how life really works, and in doing so, allow them to rediscover their innate mental wellness and resilience (the way to prevent fires).
Why is this program important for our students?
Most of us tend to think that some people are born with wellbeing – meaning feelings such as security, resilience, gratitude, kindness, peace of mind, clarity and wisdom – and others are not. We often believe that these qualities come from achievements, circumstances, acquisitions or other factors – from the world out there. Here is the thing: innate qualities are there, whether we feel them or not. But when we don’t know or we forget that our wellbeing is innate and unconditional, we believe that there are things that can give us our wellbeing and things that can take it away. We attach our wellbeing to something or someone else, which inevitably creates a lot of misguided, insecure thinking. We can begin to doubt ourselves and we may believe there is something wrong with us.
But when our students or any other program participants start to realise that all these qualities are built-in – that we are born with them – and that they can never be damaged, lost or broken, they start to relax. Knowing that they already have everything they need inside of them, that nothing is wrong with them, and nothing is lacking, is a profoundly hopeful and liberating discovery for our students.
What difference does the program make?
At the program’s conclusion, participants will have learned how they can navigate their challenges with greater ease and success, found the confidence to make positive changes, and understood what prevents them from accessing their natural resilience and wellbeing. We expect to see the following improvements in the lives of the students and other participants we work with regarding their:
- Resilience & Wellbeing, e.g., clarity, self-esteem, dealing with setbacks, coping skills, decision making.
- Mental Health,g., anxiety, stress, depression, self-harm, addictive behaviours.
- Motivation, e.g., progress, attendance, perseverance, problem-solving.
- Behaviour, e.g., self-regulation, exclusions, disruption, anger, aggression.
- Relationships,g., tolerance, respect for difference, teamwork, positive relationships with family members, colleagues,
workers, clients, suppliers etc
Over the last three years more than 250 emerging farmers of the SERNICK Group have been exposed to the Gracias for Africa project with great success. Currently i3A, in collaboration with Agri Enterprises, is presenting the Garcias program to 720 emerging farmers throughout the country as part of its Comprehensive Mentorship Training Program.
i3A, supported by Agri Enterprises is also presenting a Comprehensive Mentorship Program for Metropolitan’s handpicked Collective Shapers and once more the preferred Point of Entry for this intervention was the mental wellness (Garcias for Africa) program.