Champions of Change

A school garden project launched by Slow Food in Kenya has been short-listed for the Champions of Quality Education in Africa award. The project by the Slow Food Central Rift Convivium in partnership with the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity and the Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA) has been selected as one of 14 finalists in the Changemakers’ competition, of which three will be chosen as winners.

The School Garden Initiative allows youth to learn and practice sustainable farming in highland and semi-arid parts of Kenya where families survive on an income of less than $US50 per month. Harvest from the garden supplements the school meals program and gardens are used as learning spaces, as well as a seed collection center, contributing towards food security and biodiversity conservation.

‘In Kenya agriculture contributes over 50% to GDP and provides employment to over 70% of workforce and yet it is not given sufficient emphasis in school curriculum’, explains Samuel Muhunyu, the country coordinator of NECOFA and the Convivium’s leader. ‘Over 50% of the youth leaving primary and secondary schools end up in rural areas unprepared for a career as farmers. Many of them find it hard to make a livelihood as small scale farmers and end up in urban areas in search of employment thereby worsening the unemployment situation and a good number find themselves in crime and other vices. Meanwhile the rural areas remain starved of vital labor and youthful creativity.’

NECOFA has so far established school gardens in 11 schools with 410 students. The project involves complementary learning with other subjects like mathematics, language, history (through choice of traditional food products), fine arts and health.

Voting for the final winners in the Changemaker’s competition closes on 19 August with the winning entries receiving a prize of USD $5,000.

Click here for more information on the project or to cast your vote.

Simone Gie
[email protected]

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