HOME economics is more than just creating a good home. This was the view expressed by International Federation for Home Economics (IFHE) president Dr Gwendolyn Hustvedt on Wednesday at a news conference at UWI’s St Augustine campus.
The briefing was held to commemorate 2019 World Home Economics Day and speak about the IFHE 2019 annual meeting in Port of Spain.
The meeting will be attended by over 50 participants from different parts of the world . It is also a forerunner to the IFHE World Congress in Atlanta next year. Over 1,000 participants are expected to attend the congress.
Hustvedt said, “A relevant aspect of home economics that we don’t highlight is that home economics doesn’t only prepare us to be active contributors in our home.” She explained that for over a century, home economics “ has served as the basis for professionalisation.”
Home economics, Hustvedt continued, recognises that excellent skills in cooking, good home management, good textile and design skills “can serve as the basis for economic development.”
She said people who develop proficiencies in various aspects of home economics can “engage in entrepreneurial activities.” Hustvedt said through home economics, people can be educated “to take the skills that they have in their home and bring them out into the world.”
She observed that economic budgeting used in successful households can “be the basis for a sound business plan.” Similarly good resource management in the home, Hustvedt explained “is just the next step to have good resource practices in your small business.”
Caribbean Association of Home Economics (CAHE) representative Geraldene Hodeln said home economics is a subject which is taught across the Caribbean. She said the IFHE allows home economics practitioners to collaborate with other professionals around the world.
Hodeln said this exchange of ideas can raise the teaching of various subjects in the Caribbean. She said home economics does not only improve a country but can improve regions. Hustvedt also said home economics has the potential to capture students who feel disenfranchised by the other sciences.
She added that the various aspects of home economics introduce STEM components (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to students. Hustvedt also said IFHE sees itself as playing an important role towards the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, by promoting sustainable living for all.
Among the issues advanced by IFHE are clean water and sanitation; zero hunger; no poverty; responsible production and consumption. Formed in 1908, IFHE is a non-governmental organisation which attracts individuals and organisations from 60 countries.