Fish ponds in schools were thought to be a thorn at the back. Some teachers and community members thought that these were a trap to the lives of young children who go to school. With great caution, ponds were constructed in several schools. Community members together with their Village Heads helped in identifying and allocating suitable land for the construction of the ponds. They even helped in excavating the fish ponds and making sure that everything required for the fish ponds was in place. This was in 2008. The participation and involvement of pupils and the community members helped in building confidence and driving out fears that engulfed many souls. For Samalani Primary School, what started as a dream to having fish ponds, came into reality. Keeping their dream alive and dedication to their efforts helps us to sit down by one of their ponds and learn their success story.
Benefits of fish farming are widely recognized and appreciated by the pupils, teachers and communites around the school. Fish as a nutritious commodity contains proteins, vitamins, micronutrients and essential fatty acids that improve human growth especially children. Therefore the presence and consumption of fresh fish is positively improving the nutritious status of pupils at Samalani Primary School. Fish ponds are further helping the children to learn about fish whilst it is closer to them."We are now learning issues of fish whilst we are seeing live fresh fish in our midst", says Crytone Kachingwe
Existence of fish ponds has amongst other things strengthened the relationship between the school authorities and the communities. Parents and guardians of pupils are now directly linked to the school activities. When ponds need water, the community helps in clearing the water canal so that water should reach the ponds easily. "We also assist in guarding the fishponds as we know that any theft will disturb the learning process of our own childern", explains Assamu Thangata, one of the parents.
Samalani Primary School has become a role model of other schools in western Zomba. In an effort to share its success story, on 21st September 2012, the school organized an "open day" to disseminate best practices to other neighbouring schools. The fihsponds and the open day were supported by funds through the GlobalGiving.
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Regional Director - East and Southern Africa