BLOG | World Home Economics Day

Since March 20th 1982, The International Federation for Home Economics (IFHE) has continued to recognize March 21st each year as World Home Economics Day. The purpose of the Day is to publicize and promote IFHE and the Home Economics profession. It is a special occasion for members, member organizations of IFHE, like the Ghana Home Economics Association (GHEA) and professional Home Economists to hold events and special activities to commemorate the day aimed at promoting the profession in different regions of the World. Since 2002, specific themes have been identified by the IFHE for the Celebration. The general theme for this year, 2017 Celebration of the World Home Economics Day is “Home Economics Literacy – Empowering for Healthy and Sustainable Lifestyles.”


Theme:

❝ Home Economics Literacy for Healthy and Sustainable Lifestyle of the Ghanaian Family. ❞

Home Economics –

The IFHE defines Home Economics as a field of study and a profession, situated in the Human sciences that draws from a range of disciplines to achieve Optimal and Sustainable living for individuals, families and communities.

Home Economics Content

Home Economics Content draws from multiple disciplines, synthesizing these through interdisciplinary and trans disciplinary inquiry. The content from which studies of Home Economics draw is dependent upon the context, but might include: food nutrition and health, textiles and clothing; shelter and housing; consumerism and consumer science; household management; design and technology, food science and hospitality; human development and family studies; education and community services and much more.

This disciplinary diversity coupled with the aim of achieving optimal and sustainable living means that Home Economics has the potential to be influential in all sectors of society by intervening and transforming political, social, cultural, ecological, economic and technological systems at global levels.

This is further driven by the ethics of the profession, based on the values of caring, sharing, justice, responsibility, communicating, reflection and visionary foresight

Ladies and Gentlemen herein lies the strength of the profession for it has the capacity to draw from such a diversity of disciplines, allowing for the development of specific interpretations of the field, as relevant to the context.

Home Economics practitioners

Home Economists are thus concerned with the empowerment and Well-being of individuals, families and communities, facilitating the development of attributes for lifelong earning for paid, unpaid or voluntary work and living situations. Home Economists serve as advocates for individuals, families and communities.

Impact of the Home Economics Profession

Our Contemporary world is characterized as one of unprecedented transition from industrial to knowledge based culture and a globalized economy with all its encompassing effects on society and culture

Additionally, the information age is complex, diverse and unpredictable, yet it has a strong commitment to retaining those elements of society that are valued, while looking ahead to improving the world in which we live such that Sustainable Development becomes possible with its focus on the family as the basic unit of society. In this vein the Home Economics discipline is currently enjoying renewed attention globally as one with potential for achieving this societal transformation.

Education in Home Economics predisposes individuals and families with the requisite skills and knowledge to function in the ever changing dynamic world to become responsible citizens and consumers. Hence the current name for the profession in some countries is Family and Consumer sciences.

Home Economics Literacy

Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve knowledge and potential and to participate fully in their community and wider society (UNESCO, 2003).

The Concept of Home Economics Literacy, according to Turki 2004 is the multidisciplinary expression of several literacies. Home Economics Literacy can thus be defined as the amalgam of multiple literacies which include the following:

  1. Food Literacy - Food Literacy is understanding the impact of one’s food choices on your health, the environment and their Economy. As Home Economists we empower families on healthy dietary practices in our schools and communities and plan activities that will educate individuals, families and communities on the importance of for example good nutrition for a healthy populace. Food literacy can reduce the incidence of mal nutrition and the onset of various diseases and health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity etc. in the Ghanaian family.
  2. Health Literacy - Health Literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.
  3. Health Literacy - Health Literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.
  4. Financial Literacy - Financial Literacy is the education and understanding of various financial areas. The topic focuses on the ability to manage personal finance matters in an efficient manner.
  5. Consumer Literacy - Consumer Literacy results when consumers have the ability to choose and use communications products effectively
  6. Environmental Literacy - In recent years, the term ‘environmental literacy has become increasingly prevalent, but how exactly is environmental literacy defined? The current most broadly accepted definition encompasses experiences, understanding and action. Environmental literacy is integral to fostering this understanding emphasizing that humans are part of a global community and that actions and decisions made locally by individuals or communities have effect that go well beyond local environments

Its purpose is to enable individuals as family members, become responsible consumers and global citizens to make informed choices and opt for appropriate behaviors and attitudes in other to safeguard and enhance personal family and community well being .

Home Economics and Sustainable Development

Home Economist, families and consumers enact these literacies using effective communication strategies. There is therefore a strong relationship between Home Economics Literacy and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Both recognize the important role of Education for poverty eradication, changing unsustainable and promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production; protecting and managing the natural resource base (environment).

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is my firm belief and conviction that, Home Economics Literacy is one of the effective strategies that can assist in creating healthier, more productive ad creative individuals who strive for sustainable quality of life.

There are several activities that Home Economics conduct every day that express the major role Home Economics Literacy plays in promoting family and consumer wellbeing through the transmission of essential life skills in different settings and with different population groups. These activities should be brought to the attention of the general community by using the internet, social media and the local mass media.

Improving the quality of Life of Families is what we are all about. Whether it is helping them to obtain good nutrition, to take care of their health, or appropriate financial knowledge and skills to have safer homes, to start up a small business or to make best use of their income for the good of the family. Home Economics Professionals will continue to contribute to support Social Integratio through research, addressing various aspects of social integration and intergenerational solidarity in relation to families and households. Education to improve the capabilities of young and old, including resource management and income generation and outreach to support families and communities.

Education is central to improving quality of Life and is acclaimed to be one of the powerful tools for promoting sustainable development, we as practitioners should intensify our efforts at creating awareness of the importance of Home Economics Education for healthy and Sustainable lifestyles to achieve Sustainable Development.

The writer is a Consultant in Home Economics/Management (amoahes@yahoo.co.uk)