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School garden in Rwanda

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The role of school garden in Food security and poverty reduction in Rwanda

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School garden in Rwanda

  1. 1. 1 YYoouunngg PPrrooffeessssiioonnaallss’’ PPllaattffoorrmm oonn AAggrriiccuullttuurraall RReesseeaarrcchh aanndd DDeevveellooppmmeenntt RRwwaannddaa CChhaapptteerr YPARD TEL: +250 08620433, 08352600 e.mail:……………………………….. KIGALI-RWANDA THE ROLE OF SCHOOL GARDEN PROGRAM IN FOOD SECURITY AND POVERTY REDUCTION A case study to Rwanda Primary and secondary schools Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary June 2007 Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  2. 2. 2 ABSTRACT A high incidence and severity of poverty in many countries results in hunger, high school drop-out rates and low levels of learning, problems which affect millions of Primary and secondary school children. The main nutritional problems facing school-age children include stunting, low body weight and micronutrient malnutrition, including deficiencies of iron, iodine and vitamin A. Nutritional well-being requires access by all people at all times to adequate food, health, education and social care In this context, we have to recognize the important contribution of a well conducted schools garden program to overcome hunger, poverty and illiteracy as mentioned in The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015. The presented achievement of a school garden pirot project implemented by MINEDUC chows how this program contribute to the galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  3. 3. 3 TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT............................................................................................................................................... 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS ......................................................................................................................... 3 LIST OF TABLES.................................................................................................................................... 4 LIST OF FIGURES.................................................................................................................................. 4 ANNEXE.................................................................................................................................................... 4 ACRONYMS............................................................................................................................................. 5 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ...................................................................................................................... 6 SECTION ONE: INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXTE ..................................................................... 7 1. 1. Study contexte, objectives and methodology.............................................................................. 7 1.2. Basic of Food security and poverty reduction in Rwanda .................................................... 8 1.2.1. Indicators of Economic Development and Poverty in Rwanda (2000).................................. 9 1.2.2. The definition of poverty........................................................................................................ 10 1.2.3. Proportion of the population below the poverty line since 1985.......................................... 10 1.2.4. The Characteristics of Households in Rwanda .................................................................... 10 1.2.5. Number of students in education since 1993-2001............................................................... 11 SECTION TWO. GENERAL CONTEXT ON SCHOOL GARDEN PROGRAM...................... 11 2. 1. Major Aims of School Garden Programmes............................................................................ 11 2.2. Strategic Elements Necessary for a School Garden Programme ............................................ 12 2.3. Political commitment and institutionalization of the school garden program....................... 13 2.4. Responding to the local environment and location-specific needs .......................................... 14 2.5. Strategic considerations............................................................................................................... 14 2.5.1. Emphasize the “educational” role of school gardens........................................................... 14 2.5.2. Ensure access to water and adequate technical support ...................................................... 14 2.5.3. Link school gardens with school feeding programs ............................................................. 15 2.5.4. Maximize participation of pupils, parents and community in planning and implementation ........................................................................................................................................................... 15 2.5.5. Familiarize school children with improved methods for sustainable food production....... 16 2.6. Main Elements of a School Garden Program............................................................................ 17 2.6.1. Clear Objectives...................................................................................................................... 17 2.6.2. Appropriate institutional arrangements................................................................................ 17 2.6.3. Training and development of training material ................................................................... 17 2.6.4. Adjustment of curricula to ensure time and proper integration of school gardening and related activities................................................................................................................................ 17 2.6.5. Land and water development and school garden operations............................................... 17 2.6.6. Budgetary provisions............................................................................................................. 18 2.6.7. Monitoring and evaluation:................................................................................................... 18 SECTION THREE. A CASE STUDY TO RWANDA SCHOOL GARDEN PILOT PROJECT.. 18 3.1. Background .................................................................................................................................. 18 3. 2. School garden pilot project ........................................................................................................ 19 3. 3. Achievements............................................................................................................................... 20 3.4. Testimonies of Families on the importance (role) of school garden (year 2006).................. 20 3.5 Parents and community participation in the project................................................................. 21 3.6. Problems ....................................................................................................................................... 21 BIBRIOGRAPHY................................................................................................................................... 23 Annexe 1: ................................................................................................................................................. 24 Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  4. 4. 4 LIST OF TABLES Number Title Page 1 Indicators of Economic Development and Poverty in Rwanda (2000) 2 Proportion of the population below the poverty line since 1985 3 The Characteristics of Households in Rwanda 4 Number of student in education since 1993-2001 5 Major Aims of School Garden Programs LIST OF FIGURES Number Title Page 1 Strategic Elements Necessary for a School Garden Program ANNEXE Number Title 1 Photos of school garden pilot project 2 Millenium development goals Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  5. 5. 5 ACRONYMS CBOs : Community Based Organizations CDOs : Community Development Officers CSOs :Civil Society Organizations DHS : Demographic and Health Survey EICV: Enquête Intérgale sur les Condition de Vie des menage (Household Living Condition Survey) FAO : Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations HIV/AIDS: Human Immunodeficiency Virus Kg : Kilogramme MDGs: Millenium Development Goals MINAGRI : Ministère de l’Agriculture (Ministry of Agriculture) MINEDUC : Ministère de l’Education (Ministry of Education) MINISANTE : Ministère de la Santé (Ministry of Health) NGOs : non-governmental organizations NISR: National institute of Statistics of Rwanda PLA: Participatory Learning and Actions PPA : Participatory Poverty Assessment survey PTAs : Parent Teacher Association UNESCO : United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization WFP : World Food Program WWW : World Wide Web YPARD : Young Professionals’ Platform on Agriculture Research and Development Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  6. 6. 6 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY FAO statistics shows that there are school gardens in most developing countres, the best examples of which are usually the result of community-led initiatives or the dedication of particular teachers. School gardens, both urban and rural, can have several interrelated objectives which can contribute to the goals of MDGs, including: • Increasing the relevance and quality of education for rural and urban children through active learning and through introduction of agriculture and nutrition knowledge and skills, including life skills, into the curriculum; • Providing school children with practical experience in food production and natural resource management, which serve as a source of innovation they can take home to their families and apply in their own household gardens and farms; • Improving school children's nutrition by supplementing school feeding programs with a variety of fresh micronutrient and protein-rich products, and increasing children's knowledge of nutrition, to the benefit of the whole family. Carefully designed, comprehensive national programmes and guidelines, which leave ample room for local adaptation and the full engagement of local communities, are an important basis to realize the full potential of school gardens. At the national level, a school garden programme, to meet the above-mentioned objectives, should provide for: • Institutional arrangements which bring together and coordinate key players, especially Ministries of Education, Agriculture and Environment, to facilitate the development of a national policy framework and implementation guidelines, and provide technical support for programme planning and implementation; • Training of teachers, school canteen cooks and volunteers from within the community in the planning and management of school gardens and in their use for teaching and school feeding, as well as the preparation of practical training guidelines; • Integration of school gardening into the curriculum to ensure adequate time is available for school gardening and related teaching activities without compromising the rest of the curriculum; • Development of teaching materials, including textbooks, visual aids, and videos; • Budgetary support towards the cost of land development (e.g. fencing, irrigation, etc.) and Elements of school garden operation and upkeep; • Budgetary provision for the core elements of school feeding programmes in all schools with a school garden; • Adequate monitoring and evaluation of the programme. At the local level, the programme should provide for: • Means of engaging the community in which the school is located, e.g. through parent-teacher associations and cooperatives, in the development and management of the school garden, including the provision of local expertise and advice, land and voluntary labour and possibly some inputs; • A reliable source of technical advice on garden development and management, home economics and nutrition (e.g. from local agricultural extension services, health services, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and farmers' organizations). Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  7. 7. 7 SECTION ONE: INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXTE 1. 1. Study context, objectives and methodology The keys to the development of children and their future livelihoods are adequate nutrition and education. These priorities are reflected in the first and second Millennium Development Goals. The reality facing millions of children, however, is that these goals are far from being met. Children who go to school hungry cannot learn well. They have decreased physical activity, diminished cognitive abilities, and reduced resistance to infections. Their school performance is often poor and they may drop out of school early. In the long term, chronic malnutrition decreases individual potential and has adverse affects on productivity, incomes and national development. Thus, a country’s future hinges on its children and youth. Investments in nutrition and in education are essential to break the cycle of poverty and malnutrition. FAO believes that schools can make an important contribution to countries’ efforts to overcome hunger and malnutrition, and that school gardens can help to improve the nutrition and education of children and their families in both rural and urban areas. In this regard, it is important to stress that school gardens are a platform for learning. They should not be regarded as bulk sources of food or income, but rather as a way to better nutrition and education. FAO encourages schools to create learning gardens of moderate size, which can be easily managed by students, teachers and parents, but which include a variety of nutritious vegetables and fruits, as well as occasionally some small-scale livestock such as chickens or rabbits. Production methods are kept simple so that they can be easily replicated by students and parents at their homes The study was carried-out by RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary in Collaboration with RWANDA YPARD Representative. Its main objective is to show all reviewers the role of Rwanda School Gardens in Food security and Poverty reduction program . The study built its methodology on the use of primary and secondary data from differents Participatory Learning and Actions (PLA) methods and tools carried out by some government institutions, CBOs, NGOs,… To ensure data reliability, triangulation was emphasized by using more than one PLA tool to examine the same variable and replication of each tool with different individuals representing the same target group. This paper presents the findings of the study in four main sections:. Section one introduces to the readers the study context, objectives and methodology as well as the Basic of Food security and poverty reduction in Rwanda. Section two presents and discusses the findings of the study on general Contexte on School garden program along six main pillars: (i) major aims of school garden programs, (ii) Strategic elements necessary for a school garden, and (iii) Political commitment and instutitionalization of the school garden program, (iv) Responding to the local environment and location-specific needs, (v) Strategic considerations, (vi) Main Elements of a School Garden Program Section three presents the case study to Rwanda School Garden pilot project funded by FAO, it achievements, testimonies of families on it and problems. Section four offers general conclusion and recommendation to sustain school gardens program as an essential activity to help household to leave below the poverty line Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  8. 8. 8 1.2.Basic of Food security and poverty reduction in Rwanda Despite a decade of rapid and sustained economic growth on the path of recovery after the devastating 1994 genocide, the population of Rwanda remains highly vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition. Analysis of 2000-2001 EICV survey data suggests that over 70 % of the rural population is considered to be food poor, 45% of the children aged 3-59 months are stunted and 3.4% are wasted. Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  9. 9. 9 1.2.1. Indicators of Economic Development and Poverty in Rwanda (2000) Table 1: Indicators of Economic Development and Poverty in Rwanda Indicator Current level Source Year Populations 7.979.930 EICV 2000 Female 4.276.787 EICV 2000 Male 3.703.142 EICV 2000 Kigali urban 7 % EICV 2000 Other urban 2.9 % EICV 2000 Rural 90.1 % EICV 2000 Proportion of population below the poverty line 60.29% EICV 2000 Population undernourished 36 % MDGs indicator 2001/3 Population below $1 per day consumption 51.7% MDGs indicator 2000 Life Expectancy 49 years DHS 2000 Maternal mortality per 100 000 births 810 DHS 2000 Infant mortality per 1,000 (proportion who die before 107 DHS 2000 first birthday) Child mortality per 1,000 (proportion who die before 5th birthday) 198 DHS 2000 HIV prevalence 13.7 DHS 2000 (15-49 years) Total fertility rate (average number of children 5.8 DHS 2000 during childbearing years) Contraceptive prevalence rate 4% DHS 2000 Proportion of children completely immunised <5yrs 72% MINISANTE 2000 Fertiliser used per ha 2 Kg/an MINAGRI 2000 Gross primary enrolment (ratio of primary school 100.0 MINEDUC 2000/1 children of any age to the primary-school age group) Net primary enrolment (proportion of children of 73.32 MDGs indicators 2000/1 school going age going to school) Gross secondary enrolment 10.2 MINEDUC 2000 Net secondary enrolment 6.0 MINEDUC 2000 Adult literacy (> 15years) 52,36 % EICV 2000 -Female 47.79 % EICV 2000 -Male 58,06% EICV 2000 Malnutrition DHS 2000 Low height for age (stunting) 42,7% Low weight for age (underweight) 29% Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  10. 10. 10 1.2.2. The definition of poverty It is important to remember that the experience and effects of poverty are unique for each individual, household and community and that no two people experience it in the same way. However, for analytical and policy development purposes we need some standardised definitions of poverty at all these levels. The National Participatory Assessment, combined with the statistical surveys, has provided these definitions. At an individual level a man or woman is considered poor if they: • Are confronted by a complex of inter-linked problems and cannot resolve them; • Do not have enough land, income or other resources to satisfy their basic needs and as a result live in precarious conditions; basic needs include food, clothing, medical costs, children’s schooling etc. • Are unable to look after themselves • Their household has a total level of expenditure of less than 64,000 Rwf per equivalent adult in 2000 prices, or if their food expenditures fall below 45,000 Rwf per equivalent adult per annum. At the household level, land owned, household size and characteristics of the head of households were important criteria for poverty. In particular, households headed by widows, children, the elderly and the handicapped are deemed likely to be poor. At the community level, the shortage of economic and social infrastructure and of natural resources are important criteria for poverty. 1.2.3. Proportion of the population below the poverty line since 1985. TABLE 2: Table 2.2 Movements in Poverty since 1985 Year Percentage of households below the poverty line Rural Urban Total 1985 48.4 16.1 45.7 1990 50.3 16.8 47.5 1994 82.4 27.5 77.8 1995 76.6 25.5 72.4 1996 75.3 25.1 71.1 1997 74.1 24.7 70.0 1998 70.7 23.6 66.8 1999 69.3 23.1 65.4 2000 est. 67.9 22.6 64.1 Source: 1985 Household Survey 1.2.4. The Characteristics of Households in Rwanda Table 3: Category of Household Characteristics Umutindi nyakujya (those in abject poverty ) Those who need to beg to survive. They have no land or livestock and lack shelter, adequate clothing and food. They fall sick often and have no access to medical care. Their children are malnourished and they cannot afford to send them to school. Umutindi (the very poor) The main difference between the umutindi and the umutindi nyakujya is that this group is physically capable of working on land owned by others, although they themselves have either no land or very small landholdings, and no livestock. Umukene (the poor) These households have some land and housing. They live on their own labour and produce, and though they have no savings, they can eat, even if the food is not very nutritious. However they do not have a surplus to sell in the market, their children do not always go to school and they often have no access to health care. Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  11. 11. 11 Umukene wifashije (the resourceful poor ) This group shares many of the characteristics of the umukene but, in addition, they have small ruminants and their children go to primary school. Umukungu (the food rich) This group has larger landholdings with fertile soil and enough to eat. They have livestock, often have paid jobs, and can access health care. Umukire (the money rich ) This group has land and livestock, and often has salaried jobs. They have good housing, often own a vehicle, and have enough money to lend and to get credit from the bank. Many migrate to urban centres. Source: PPA 1.2.5. Number of students in education since 1993-2001 Table 4: Table 2.19: Number of students in education: (Rate of increase in parentheses) Primary Secondary Higher 93/4 1,174,448 (pre -genocide) 820,232 (post-genocide) 54,815 (pre- genocide) 3,077 (post-genocide) 4,597 94/5 941,012 (14.7%) 2,821 95/6 1,039,657 (10.5%) 50,000 4,196 (48.7%) 96/7 1,154,768 (11.1 %) 82,224 (64.4%) 4,440 (5.8%) 97/8 1,270,733 (10.0%) 90,840 (10.5%) 4,548 (2.4%) 98/9 1,288,663 (1.4 %) 105,292 (15.9%) 5,943 (30.7%) 99/0 1,431,692 (11.1 %) 125,124 (18.8%) 7,224 (21.6%) 00/01 1,476,272 (3.1 %) 141,163 (12.8 %) Source: MINEDUC SECTION TWO. GENERAL CONTEXT ON SCHOOL GARDEN PROGRAM 2. 1. Major Aims of School Garden Programmes A review of school garden programmes shows that the functions of school gardens can be classified as “educational” and “economic/food security”. Table 5: Major Aims of School Garden Programs increasing the relevance and quality of education for rural and urban children by introducing into the curricula important life skills teaching students how to establish and maintain home gardens and encourage the production and consumption of micronutrient-rich fruits and green leafy vegetables providing active learning by linking gardens with other subjects, such as mathematics, biology, reading and writing contributing to increasing access to education by attracting children and their families to a school that addresses topics relevant to their lives improving children's attitudes towards agriculture and rural life Educational aims teaching environmental issues, including how to grow safe food without using pesticides Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  12. 12. 12 teaching practical nutrition education in order to promote healthy diets and lifestyles providing students with a tool for survival at times of food shortages familiarizing school children with methods of sustainable production of food that are applicable to their homestead or farms and important for household food security promoting income-generation opportunities improving food availability and diversity enhancing the nutritional quality of school meals reducing the incidence of malnourished children attending school Economic and food security aims increasing school attendance and compensating for the loss in transfer of “life skills” from parents to children due to the impact of HIV/AIDS and the increasing phenomenon of child-headed households Source: FAO 2.2. Strategic Elements Necessary for a School Garden Programme The following figure summarizes the main policy and strategic elements that need to be taken into consideration in the design and implementation of a school garden programme. These are based on the lessons learnt from past worldwide experience in school gardening. Fugure1: Strategic Elements Necessary for a School Garden Program Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  13. 13. 13 Source: FAO, 2.3. Political commitment and institutionalization of the school garden program The possibility for establishing school garden program depend on the existence of the necessary political commitment and consequent national policies to support school gardens in the country and enable the development and implementation of “garden activities” in schools. Previous attempts to establish school garden programs often failed to give adequate attention to the importance of the institutional framework. Institutionalization of school gardens is the key to the sustainability of these programms. Sustainability implies independence from long-term external inputs and participation of all stakeholders (teachers, pupils, parents, school administrations, funding agencies, NGOs and ministries of agriculture, education, health, etc.). It is important to ensure that school garden program are developed as part of the national effort to improve education quality and expand access to education for children in general and rural children in particular. This implies a multiplicity of factors (such as the expansion of the school network in rural areas, rehabilitation of school infrastructure, training of teaching and administrative staff, availability of learning materials, relevance of curricula, incentive for staff posted in rural areas, etc.). School gardens would ideally need to be planned as part of the National Plan of the UNESCO-led Education for All initiative as related components are operationalized and implemented. Governments should have a vision on how school garden initiatives can fit into the country's overall educational goals. This should be complemented by plans for financial, physical and pedagogical sustainability. Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  14. 14. 14 2.4. Responding to the local environment and location-specific needs There is no single model of a school garden programme that fits every situation. School garden programmes must be well adapted to local customs and needs and to the specific socio-economic, climatic and environmental situation of the region concerned. The design of the programme should involve both Ministries of Education, Agriculture and Environment, at central and decentralized levels, the communities, NGOs and community based organizations (CBOs) with experience in the field, parent- teacher associations and the students themselves. 2.5. Strategic considerations 2.5.1. Emphasize the “educational” role of school gardens School gardens can contribute to increasing the relevance and quality of education, improving the children's and their parents' knowledge of food production techniques and nutrition, and stimulate the development of home gardens. These achievements would together lead to an improvement in the nutritional status of the children and their families and thereby contribute to improving food security and human capital. The potential role of school gardens in improving children's practical agricultural and nutritional knowledge and “life skills” is particularly valuable in the context of child-headed households as a consequence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Genocide…. School gardens offer a great opportunity for improving the quality of education and for learning basic life skills. Gardens can serve as a “laboratory” for the teaching of modern farming skills and nutrition, but they can also be used for practical work related to biology, environmental studies, mathematics as well as reading, writing and arts. Ensuring that school gardens achieve a significant educational impact, however, may require adjustments in the national school curriculum, the production of training materials, teacher training and the provision of funds to meet physical and human resources costs for such activity. School garden activities can include nutrition education, food preservation techniques, integrated pest management, integrated soil fertility management, sustainable natural resource management, recycling and composting, and environmental awareness raising, especially in urban areas. This can be done by building an interdisciplinary curriculum whereby core subjects (such as mathematics, social science, biology, etc.) can be linked to practical activities, such as gardening, establishing a fruit and vegetable stand where produce is sold, small business planning, food preparation and preservation, etc. Accordingly, creating an entry point in the curriculum and developing appropriate lesson plans that link theory and practical action should be a prerequisite for the successful implementation of school-based and community gardening and nutrition education programs. The potential for food production per se in school gardens has been overemphasized in the past. The school garden will normally supply requirements only for a limited number of months or even weeks every season. The effect on increased vegetable and fruit production and on diversification of production is considered to be more indirect. Some of the school children who have participated in school gardening activities will also be interested in helping their parents and families in establishing home gardens. In this way, the multiplier effect on production within the community is likely to be more important, in terms of production, than the school garden itself. 2.5.2. Ensure access to water and adequate technical support A shortage of water is reported to be a major constraint for the development of school gardens,. Except where there is reliable rainfall, the development of simple irrigation systems (water points, roof catchments, etc.) for school gardens needs to be considered. Apart from increasing the reliability of harvests, irrigation enables crops to be planted at suitable times so that they come into production during school terms. In many countries with free roaming animals, the protection of the garden with fences is Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  15. 15. 15 also indispensable. Where land availability is a problem, particularly in urban areas, there may be good opportunities for container-based cultivation and for hydroponics. The availability of technical skills to support school gardens needs to be considered. The charging of (usually over-burdened) school teachers with extra training and supervisory responsibilities needs to be carefully assessed against other possibilities involving the community and NGOs. Public-private partnerships, including sponsorship by firms, need to be explored. One option for engaging NGOs would be to link school gardens with NGO-driven community gardens. This is useful because often expertise exists among the members of the community gardens in managing gardens efficiently and there is capacity to transfer knowledge to others. At the same time it would reduce the workload of teachers and the need to train teachers in gardening. Many such examples exist. clubs or associations local NGOs running vegetable gardens can assist teachers and provide practical training courses for students. They might share in the profit of the garden produce and/or the output in general. Farmer field schools within the village may also provide a good source of the necessary technical assistance. The use of volunteer services may also be a valuable source of agricultural skills, at least in the early development of school gardens. It is essential that the knowledge and skills imparted to the school children be technically correct and sustainable to facilitate replication in the homestead. Local access to good quality seed or seedlings together with fertilizers and 'safe' pesticides appropriately packaged is essential to enable the technology demonstrated in the school garden to be transferred to the homestead. These inputs could be provided through the private sector or through a community based organization whose members would also require some initial training either through the Agricultural Extension Service or through a Volunteer Programme. 2.5.3. Link school gardens with school feeding programs School feeding is a powerful tool to alleviate short-term hunger and enhance children's learning capacities. School feeding also provides an incentive for parents to send or keep children at school. School gardens, if planned and implemented with the support of parents and the community, can complement school feeding programs and enhance their long-term impact in terms of children's health/nutritional status and learning achievements. The promotion of micronutrient-rich vegetables, including indigenous varieties, fruits and other foods (e.g. small livestock) in school, home and community gardens will diversify the local food base, generate income and add nutritional value to children's school meals, thus contributing to their nutritional status. As noted above, however, it is generally not possible for a school garden to generate much of the staple food required for a school feeding program. 2.5.4. Maximize participation of pupils, parents and community in planning and implementation Experience has shown that school gardening and nutrition education have a greater impact and can be sustained longer if they are part of a programme involving the whole school and linked to activities which engage parents and the community. Establishment of school gardens without the involvement of parents can create tensions within communities. Parents want their children to learn to read and write, and “ruralization” of the school curriculum is often rejected. It is essential to promote school gardens in the right context, i.e. as an applied activity with the potential for providing pupils with “life skills” and also increasing their environmental awareness, especially in relation to the conservation of natural resources (soil and water). Assisting in the creation of PTAs, where these do not exist, or supporting already established PTAs, is a constructive way to involve parents as partners in school-based gardening activities. Other good avenues for parents' effective involvement are through periodic visits to the school garden and through garden-related children's homework. Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  16. 16. 16 One comparative advantage of school-linked gardening is the active role that school children can learn to play in the provision of food for themselves, and in involving their parents in the learning process as opposed to being passive food recipients only. Where pupils have not been involved in the planning and management of projects and where they do not share directly in either the produce or the profits of the project, they have tended to reject the work, resulting in project failure. Children feel extremely proud and happy when the produce of their effort in the school garden is utilized for their lunches. Gardening also provides for group work experience, enjoyment in the outcome of the work done and of the acquired knowledge of agriculture and nutrition. Misuse of school gardens and exploitation of pupils has unfortunately been a relatively common phenomenon in the past. In the reality of most rural schools, economic concerns often take precedence over teaching objectives, as poorly paid and unmotivated teachers are tempted to use the proceeds of the school farm as an additional income for themselves. This situation, coupled with an authoritarian school climate where pupils have no participation in the management of their produce, all too easily generates a teacher-pupil relationship of mutual mistrust and resentment, where pupils feel exploited as cheap labour for the teachers' benefit. This can be partially avoided by parent and community participation in the programme. 2.5.5. Familiarize school children with improved methods for sustainable food production In secondary schools, in particular, the familiarization of students with up-to-date methods for improved sustainable production of food that are applicable to their homesteads or farms is a potentially powerful tool for improving the household food security. Horticultural species, as opposed to other food crops, are of relatively high-value and have a great yield potential. They can provide up to 50 kg of fresh produce per square meter per year, depending on the crops and technologies applied. Compared to other agricultural activities, horticulture makes efficient use of scarce land and water resources, thereby providing an excellent means for the application of efficient, environmentally sound and sustainable technologies. Relatively sophisticated technology like hydroponics can also be promoted. Under hydroponics, plants can be grown closer together than in the field, thereby increasing yields, and multiple cropping can be practised. Hydroponics can conserve space, reduce pest incidence, and almost eliminate weed problems. If properly organized, surplus production can be marketed. For schools with restricted land access, hydroponics can offer good opportunities for growing a variety of vegetables, herbs and spices. The establishment of protected cultivation in greenhouses is another option for modernizing school garden programmes in some countries. This offers exciting opportunities for teaching modern agricultural practices, including irrigation and integrated pest management, as well as water harvesting technologies. Linkages with environmental education (e.g. through tree planting, organic production, integrated soil fertility and pest management, etc.) may also be established. Tree planting in schools can be promoted for various purposes, such as for shade, fruit production or even for harvesting of natural pesticides. Composting and household waste management could be a useful area of learning which would also encourage community involvement. The inclusion of training courses in bookkeeping and marketing into teaching related to school gardens, will increase business skills and contribute to an improved understanding of the economic value of small-scale agriculture. Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  17. 17. 17 2.6. Main Elements of a School Garden Program 2.6.1. Clear Objectives the objectives of a school garden programme should be well-defined, realistic and specifically tailored to the situation being addressed. The objectives may differ according to the type of school (primary, lower secondary, secondary, vocational, etc.). The type of garden eventually implemented will also depend on the objectives. The objectives should be discussed at length with all stakeholders to make sure that there is general agreement. In particular, the balance between learning and production should be clear. Parents' and students' expectations should be taken into consideration when defining the objectives. 2.6.2. Appropriate institutional arrangements Institutional arrangements are a very important element determining the success and sustainability of a school garden program. Key players, including Ministries of Education, Agriculture and Environment, as well as students, PTAs, and other institutions such as NGOs and civil society organizations where appropriate, need to participate in program planning and implementation as well as monitoring and evaluation. At the national level, the school garden program contributes to address issues such as the revision of curricula, training of teachers and trainers, and legal issues such as access to land and allocation of funds. At the local level, the school garden programme, while based on the overall framework provided at the national level, would take due account of the community needs and ecological conditions through participatory processes, before implementation. 2.6.3. Training and development of training material Training of teachers and volunteers from the community in the planning, management and use of school gardens, and the preparation of practical guidelines and training materials, are essential elements of a successful programme. The institutions that will provide this “training of trainers” need to be determined and agreed upon from the outset of the programme. The participation of parents and members of the general community is key to successful school garden development and management and should be encouraged. Mechanisms for twinning the school gardens with local farmers who have gardening expertise, as well as with women's, youth or community groups, should be identified and developed. Possibilities for eventually twinning school gardens with garden-based farmer field schools in the community, or with schools in industrialized countries, should also be investigated and fostered to the extent feasible. 2.6.4. Adjustment of curricula to ensure time and proper integration of school gardening and related activities School gardens may be part of regular curricular activities or extra- curricular activities. However, such options might differ from area to area and will reflect national priorities and choices related to the curricula. Basic subjects such as reading, writing, mathematics, science and arts can profit from the presence of a school garden and render the learning of these subjects more interesting for the children. Learning activities directly related to crop production (or small animal husbandry, fish culture, etc.), as well as nutrition, can be integrated as appropriate into general science and nature studies. 2.6.5. Land and water development and school garden operations Budgetary support towards the cost of land development such as fencing, drainage and small-scale irrigation needs to be calculated. The legal aspects related to these investments should be clearly spelled Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  18. 18. 18 out (property and user rights, maintenance obligations, etc.). Elements of school garden operation and upkeep need to be identified and calculated. The project should envisage a clear process gradually leading to the material and financial sustainability of the school garden program. This could take one or two years depending on the situation, and may need government support during this period. However, an “exit strategy” for the government's support needs to be identified. 2.6.6. Budgetary provisions A national school garden programme, ideally supplementing an established ongoing school feeding programme, will entail the following costs, at a minimum: Core programme costs: • technical assistance to the Ministries of Education and Agriculture to integrate school gardening and associated nutrition education activities into the school curriculum; • start-up workshops and workshops to review curricula and to identify opportunities for integration of school gardening activities and associated nutrition education; • planning and assessment workshops at national and local levels; • preparation of teachers' and pupils' materials on gardening and nutrition; • training of trainers, teachers, local extension workers and community facilitators. Physical inputs for each school's garden: • tools, seeds, fertilizers and non-toxic plant protection products and materials; • materials for small-scale irrigation where rainfall is not reliable (pedal pumps, water reservoirs, piping or drip irrigation tubing, etc.); • secure, weatherproof garden sheds and durable, animal-proof fencing; • animal housing and other materials necessary if small animal husbandry is included; • manuals and other educational materials. 2.6.7. Monitoring and evaluation: All stakeholders involved in the planning and implementation of school gardens should be involved in the monitoring and evaluation process. This applies to the national, regional, and local level and includes community involvement, and especially parents (e.g. through PTAs). Technical advice on garden development and management could come from local agricultural extension services, NGOs and CSOs such as farmers' organizations, as well as nearby farmer field schools which may include parents of students at the school. A school garden programme in support of household food security within the context of FAO's Special Programme for Food Security, ideally linked to nearby farmer field schools, can readily benefit from the monitoring and evaluation system that will already be in place for the SPFS. SECTION THREE. A CASE STUDY TO RWANDA SCHOOL GARDEN PILOT PROJECT 3.1. Background The Rwandan school garden project was conceived following distressing reports on children’s health. A survey carried out in 2000 showed that children of all ages suffer from serious nutritional problems. The survey showed the following: • 43% of children under 5 experience stunted growth; • 29% of children under 5 are underweight; Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  19. 19. 19 • 7% of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition; • High dropout and repetition rates(10% in each case) in primary schools; • Poor health due to students’ poor diet, which in secondary schools mainly consists of starchy food and a few beans; and • Insufficient calorie intake (1650 Kcal per person per day). These problems are the result of poverty and traditional Rwandan diets (fruit, vegetables and animal products are seldom consumed). The government of Rwanda set the 2020 goals to reduce poverty and hunger and raise average calorie intake in Rwanda from 1650 to 2100 Kcal per person per day. To help reach these goals, the Ministry of Education initiated a long-term school gardens and nutrition education program in primary and secondary schools. This program aims to: 1. Improve pupils’ knowledge, attitudes and life skills related to food security and nutrition; 2. Promote production, distribution and consumption of fruit and vegetables in order to diversify food access. 3. 2. School garden pilot project The project started in 20 schools (10 primary and 10 secondary schools) and its aims were: • The integration of practical garden skills and nutrition education into primary and secondary school curricula; • The promotion of school gardens as living laboratories; • The enhancement of synergies between the existing development programs such as the school feeding program funded by the World Food Programme (WFP) in primary schools; and • The involvement of parents in creating school and community gardens. The pilot project was funded by FAO with a grant of US$ 374,012 and implemented by Ministry of Education Rwanda (MINEDUC) . This sum provided 20 schools with seeds, fertilizers, tools, livestock buildings (cowsheds and henhouses) and twenty ¾ crossbred Friesian cows. Under the supervision of a volunteer teacher, pupils created a garden of at least one and a half hectares at each school and cultivated vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, eggplants, beans, Soya bean, night shade, spider plant, cabbage, Amarantus cruentus, leek, spinach, carrot, maize, potatoes and sweet potatoes. During the first three months, hard ploughing work was carried out by laborers paid by WFP on a food for work basis. Each class was given a plot where pupils grow a kind of vegetable every term. All pupils were involved in school garden activities. The work they carried out depended on their age and the physical demands of the tasks. The pupils’ activities were mainly: • Transporting waste from the kitchen, classes, dormitories and gardens for making compost; • Transporting and spreading compost in the garden; • Watering at the nursery and the garden. This is, of course, one of the pupil’s favorite tasks; • Hoeing and weeding: • Mulching in plantations; and • Harvesting. This is the pupils’ favorite activity. Schools intend to follow up school garden and farm activities through pupil’s nutrition clubs. These groups of students supervised by teachers discuss nutrition problems in each school and come up with solutions to tackle them. Each school was provided with a crossbred Friesian cow to produce milk and their dung improves soil fertility. Most schools built cowsheds themselves while 8 primary schools received support from the pilot project for this. School authorities benefited from trainings on cow farming organized by the pilot Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  20. 20. 20 project. 25% of the cows are now producing between 4 and 8 liters of milk per day. This quantity is still insufficient to be distributed to the whole school. The milk, therefore, is blended with maize gruel in order to improve its nutritional value and consumed by pupils at breakfast. 3. 3. Achievements According to the pupils and their parents at the pilot schools, the advantages of the projects were: • Improvement of children’s knowledge of growing vegetables, which will be a life and vocational skill; • Balanced diets which enable children’s good physical and intellectual growth; • Development of children’s interest in manual work; • Improved health and reduction of the incidence of diseases related to malnutrition (eg. Eye problems, disturbances to the digestive tract); • Reduction of the dropout, repetition and lateness rates; • Improvement in pupils’ academic performance; • Nutrition education; • Providing a practical learning field for school subjects such an biology and mathematics; • Reduction of schools’ spending on food due to a food supply from the school garden; • Reduction of parents’ spending and the time take for children’s lunch due to school feeding by WFP and vegetable harvests from the school garden (children once needed to bring vegetables to their school); • Improvement of family diet through the replication of what students learn at the school garden and pupils bringing seedlings to their family from school; • Stepping up of crop production; • Job creation paid for by WFP; • Environment protection through organic gardening and rainwater harvesting; • Reduction of hunger and starvation; • Income creation through the sale of surplus harvests from the school garden, which assures the sustainability of school garden activities. (eg, the profit per year was US$245 at Cyanika primary school, US$2,698 at Buyoga secondary school, US$576 at Rebero primary school and US$450 at Shyogwe secondary school). 3.4. Testimonies of Families on the importance (role) of school garden (year 2006) Ms. Makakibibi whose daughter attends Stella Matutina secondary school stated that vegetables protected people from diseases such as blindness and kwashiorkor, and children who consume vegetables grow normally since vegetables contain essential nutrients for growth. Ms. Nyiradivayi whose daughter also attends Stella Matutina secondary school said, “The project has had a major impact on our community. When our children came home in the holidays, they asked us for plots to grow vegetables. When the crop was harvested, some of them were sold and we earned money to buy other items such as clothes.” School authorities are also interested in school garden activities and the resultant benefits. Mr Tugireyezu Eugène, head teacher of Buyoga secondary school described how producing vegetables throughout the year gave children constant access to vegetables. Consequently these children had a deep appreciation of the importance of what was taught to them. Sister Aurea at Stella Matutina secondary school stated, “Thanks to the project now it is common knowledge that vegetables are essential to help to fight disease and hence they decided to produce them Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  21. 21. 21 in large quantities. We distributed them to our students to ensure that they stay healthy and to improve their learning capacity”. Mr Twahirwa, headmaster of Rebero primary school, described the school garden’s impact on the community. “We see parents and other members of the local community in the neighborhood observe the different vegetables we grow in our school garden. They show great interest in improving their farming skills. We sometimes offer children some seeds or seedlings to be grown at home. The outcome is very positive because many parents are now aware of the importance of vegetables in their diet. 3.5 Parents and community participation in the project Parents contributed greatly to promoting school gardens in the following ways: • Motivating their children by helping them to grow vegetables at home; • Supporting school gardens by providing compost and water. The water is brought by children in small containers such as plastic or glass bottles (½ or ¾ liter) and used to prepare food, to clean the kitchen equipment and the classrooms. Children also sometimes bring compost in small locally made baskets or bags from their families to schools when it is requested by school authorities; • Protecting school garden. Indeed, parents asked school neighbors to take care of school property and keep their livestock away from school premises; • Visiting school gardens and providing advice to school authorities; • Offering free veterinary services to schools: one family(a husband and wife team of veterinarians) come regularly and treat sick cows at the Stella Matutina secondary school; and • Allowing their children to take care of the school gardens during holidays. Local administrative and religious authorities have also offered schools plots of land for garden activities 3.6. Problems Schools are eager to see the school garden and nutrition education curricula developed and implemented. The procedure for approving and integrating such activities in the curricula is taking time even though schools are ready. The proposed new curricula will mean that teachers have enough time for school garden activities to be inserted in the syllabus. Other problems are as follows: • Problems related to bad weather and water shortages; • Lack of compost, which is produced only in small quantities; • Plant diseases, pest and predator problems, especially in the dry season; • Lack of water conservation systems; • Lack of agriculture and livestock technicians in every school; and • Lack of appropriate clothes for school garden activities. Despite these problems, Rwandan school gardens have shown themselves to be successful and are having a major impact on nutrition education. Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  22. 22. 22 SECTION FOUR. CONCLUSION AN RECOMMENDATION Institutionalization of school gardens is the key to the sustainability of school gardens program, School garden programs must be well adapted to local customs and needs and to the specific socio-economic, climatic and environmental situation of the region concerned their design should involve ministries, at central and decentralized levels, the communities, NGOs and CDOs with experience in the field, parent- teacher association and student themselves Those who are involved in school garden program have to familiarize school children with improved methods for sustainable food production that are applicable to their homestead or farms. Horticulture species are of relatively high-value and have a great yield potential. School gardens must be part of regular curricular activities. However, such option might differ from area to area and will reflect national priorities and choice related to the curricula. Budgetary support towards the cost of each subproject need to be calculated and legal aspects related to it should be clearly spelled out. The nutrition clubs must be supported and encouraged in all levels to stay as the main technicians in establishing their home gardens together with their parents during class period and holidays periods. They have to stay in their respective clubs even if some of them lose chance to continue their studies in high level. A climate and inadequate techniques are reported to be the major constraint for the development of school gardens, the availability of technical skills to support school gardens need to be considered. Relatively sophisticated technology like hydroponics can also be promoted in case to concerve space, reduce pest incidence and almost eliminate weed problems. The establishment of protected cultivation in greenhouses is another option to excite opportunities for teaching modern agriculture practice with priority the future generation (youth) It is essential that the knowledge and skills imparted to the school children be technically correct and sustainable to facilitate replication in the homestead in case to improve food security and poverty reduction School garden project particularly contribute to: 1. goal 1 of MDGs through improving agricultural productivity and promoting better nutritional practices at at school and at all levels of households in Rwanda and elsewhere in developing countries ; and promoting programs that enhance direct and immediate access to food by the neediest. School garden programs contribute to all dimensions of food security: availability, access, stability and utilization of safe and nutritious food. 2. goal 2 of MDGs because Poor families often cannot afford to send their children to school. The learning ability of children is compromised by hunger and malnutrition. School gardens and school-feeding programs can encourage school attendance and bring direct nutritional benefits to children. 3. Goal 4 of MDGs in improving household food security and nutrition information which increase children’s chances of growing to adulthood School gardens have major impact on food security and poverty reduction and we suggest it to be focused on by YPARD all over the world. Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  23. 23. 23 BIBRIOGRAPHY 1. Andree NDAHIRO, School garden in Rwanda, MINEDUC/ RWANDA 2. Ayman Omer Ali & Stephan Baas, Rural institution and participation service, FAO (2004 3. Food nutrition and agriculture, available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/W0795T 4. John, J.B, Environmental restorations, Washington D.C, Island press, (1990) 5. National Agriculture policy, MINAGRI, RWANDA (2004) 6. Patrick VINCK, comprehensive food security and vulnerability analysis, NISR, Rwanda (2006 7. Poverty reduction strategic paper, MINICOFIN, RWANDA (june 2002) 8. Setting up and running a School Garden, http://www.fao.org/schoolgarden/index_en.htm; 9. Strategic plan for agriculture transformation in Rwanda, MINAGRI, RWANDA (2004); 10. The millennium development goals repport 2006, UNITED NATIONS 2006 Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  24. 24. 24 Annexe 1: Photos of school garden pilot project Students at Rebero secondary school weeding in a soybean plot Students at Buyoga secondary school ploughing the field where vegetables are to be grown The coordinator of the school garden project and parents discuss the link between children’s growth and their nutrition intake The headmaster and schoolchildren at Rebero primary school ploughing the land where Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007
  25. 25. 25 Annexe 2: MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND TAGETS MDGs Goals TAGETS 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger • Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day • Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger 2: Achieve universary primary school • Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling 3: Promote universary primary education • Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015 4: Reduce child mortality • Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five 5: Improve maternal health • Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio 6: Combat HIV/AIDS malaria and other diseases • Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS • Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases 7: Ensure environmental sustainability • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources • Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water • Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020 Develop a grobal partnership development • Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory, includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction— nationally and internationally • Address the least developed countries' special needs. This includes tariff- and quota- free access for their exports; enhanced debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction • Address the special needs of landlocked and small island developing States • Deal comprehensively with developing countries' debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term • In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decentand productive work for youth • In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries • In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies— especially information and communications technologies Prepared by Jean Claude NDAYAMBAJE, RWANDA YPARD Executive Secretary, june 2007

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