Agricola – The Farmer I

Yummi

Since April 2010 JMfA e.V. (Young People for Africa) is participating in the project: "The School Garden Initiative". Under the professional guidance of the Rwanda School Garden Initiative (RSG), a non-governmental organisation (NRO) in Kigali, all three schools located in Kirinda, IPK, ESI and GS, put up a common schoolgarden where vegetables and fruits have been planted. The harvests shall be used in the school canteens to improve the students' nutrition and to get a more effective and variable menu. The income of the harvests will then be reinvested into the schoolgarden. Background of the initiative is the malnutrition of many pupils and students in Rwanda. With the help of this project both, pupils and students, are expected to learn how important fresh and locally produced food is for a healthy diet and how fruit and vegetable can be cultivated on their own – e.g. at home or anywhere else outside the schoolgarden.

JMfA e.V. took over the costs of about € 9,000 to set up the project; further € 5,500 had been taken over by the Committee Bad Kreuznach, Germany. This committee gained that money on the occasion of a 'Day for Africa' at schools in Bad Kreuznach. For a long time already they are having a partnership with the second Secondary School at Kirinda (ESI). The church (Eglise Presbytérienne au Rwanda Région – synodale de Kirinda) provided the land for the schoolgarden.

The initiative was started in April 2010 with a great Umuganda-Day (teamwork-day). Members of RSGI and the three school directors organized a two-days' introduction training for agriculture and domestic animal raising. One teacher per school and 5 pupils/students per school participated in that seminar. Main emphasis was put on gardening and rabbit keeping. Each of the three schools now has a "School Garden Club"; members are all those who participated in the training course. Once per week the students do their gardenwork and are responsible for sowing seeds, planting, caring and last but not least harvesting. Every School Garden Club is in possession of at least two sorts of vegetables and fruits. To gain the most possible experiences in gardening the students are expected to change the sorts after each harvest. The school garden shall be planted and harvested two or three times per year.

At present more than ten sorts of vegetables are cultivated in the school garden, amongst them are carrots, different kinds of cabbage, onions, beetroot, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Moreover fruit trees and perennial plants had been provided.

The commitment of the schools and the citizens of Kirinda is very intense and could not even be stopped by a shortage of water during an extremely long dry season. The problem was successfully solved by enthustiastic work and energy-sappping efforts.

July 2010