School Market Gardens

 
$5,054
$2,946
Raised
Remaining
Oct 14, 2011

Food security update from Niger and upcoming Bonus Day!

Bess Palmisciano, our founder and Executive Director, is currently touring the Agadez region, visiting our partner communities with RAIN staff Koini and Halima to check on garden progress, resolve issues and plan new gardens for the upcoming planting season. Some gardens in Agadez were damaged by floods, restoration of these will continue this fall.  In the communities of Foudouk, Tadiben and Gougaram, new cereal banks and general stores have been established. Herding populations decimated by drought have been restored in numerous communities. These developments supplement the increased food security that the school market garden brings to each community.

In a partnership with The Global Hunger Foundation, this fall will begin a pilot program of teaching the principals of organic, sustainable agriculture cirriculum to children (with a focus on girls), hand in hand with lessons in gender equality, empowerment and leadership. Bess will soon be bringing firsthand stories and photos from our partner communities about the results of these exciting developments.

Also, be sure to mark your calendars for October 19 - on that day, you can make your donation count twice as much with a matching donation by GlobalGiving!  GlobalGiving will match all donations that day, up to $100,000.  If you've been inspired by the positive change you've been creating for nomadic families in Niger, this is a chance to create twice the change!  

Links:

Jul 18, 2011

School Market Garden Update: The Tillaberi Region

Cabbages in Lemdou
Cabbages in Lemdou

Dear Friend,

Until recently, RAIN solely worked in the Agadez region of Niger, the heart of the nomadic desert. Due to expansion and growth (in great part because of friends like you), RAIN has been able to answer requests for gardens from communities in the Tillaberi region. Tillaberi is a densely populated region of 2,200,000 people, located a four hour drive away from the capital, Niamey. Communities in Tillaberi are among the most food insecure in all of Niger, yet many receive little or nor assistance. 

The five RAIN partner communities in Tillaberi are Lemdou, Tagantassou, Tangouchman, Bonfeba, and Ingui. Unlike Agadez, which is nearly all desert, Tillaberi borders the Sahel region, which has areas of green land, more conducive to agriculture. A primary goal of our market gardens is to build skills and improvements in sustainable communal agricultural practices. These remote pastoral communities have little experience in agriculture.  In Niger drought is common – during times of drought pasture land is sparse and nomadic herders lose their animals – often their only source of food and livelihoods.  They must gain skills raising crops to ensure future food security.

Skills which we seek to improve include community organization, building fences, installing and learning drip irrigation practices (new to much of Niger), biological pest control, crop rotation, sharing knowledge, harvesting, food storage and transport, marketing skills, and evaluating outcomes. 

Each garden comprises four parties that work together - a monitoring committee, the master gardener, RAIN staff, and most importantly, individual community members themselves. Together with the monitoring committee, RAIN staff will visit each market garden to assess progress, evaluate if the garden has reached self sustainability, and engage in dialogue for feedback.  The master gardener instructs the community on how to install, maintain and harvest the crops, and monitors the drip irrigation systems. The lion's share of contribution comes from the community - the parents, teachers, and leaders who come together and plant the garden, build fences, install the irrigation, and harvest and prepare the produce. 

One 1,000 square meter garden with drip irrigation can produce almost three tons of produce in a single growing season. This year, the Lemdou market garden produced 80kg of melons, 10kg of corn, 8k of tomatoes, 11kgs of lemons, 60kg of cabbage, 70kg of salad greens and 41kgs of potatoes, among other crops. The garden has created two months of meals for 146 students at the school, and generated 40,000 fcfa ($80) in school supporting income, which goes a long way in Niger.

Some RAIN market gardens are incorporating poultry for the first time, such as at Tagantassou, providing sources of protein through the eggs and meat for the children. 

In Niger, the next few months are know universally as "the hungry season."  Not so for RAIN partner communities in Tillaberi!  The families of these five villages extend their hearts and hands in gratitude to you for the important role you play in making food security a reality for them.  Tanmeert. 

 

 

 

 

 

Row of potatoes in Lemdou
Row of potatoes in Lemdou
Chickens at the Tagantassou garden.
Chickens at the Tagantassou garden.
Apr 14, 2011

Solar Ovens Add Value to School Market Gardens

Onion tops are an important staple
Onion tops are an important staple

RAIN's School Market Gardens provide food for students, income for the community and the school, and teach sustainable agriculture.  How else can the garden provide increased benefits to the community? 

The answer: solar ovens.  In the remote regions of Niger where RAIN's partner communities live, electricity is not available, and refrigeration is not a viable option to preserve food.  Traditionally, drying is the preferred method in the Sahara to extend the life of food from times of plenty through more scarcer times.  Solar ovens were created exactly for that purpose, and increase the capacity of a community to store and transport food.

This valuable addition to our School Market Gardens is getting its very first try out in the village of Bonfeba in the Tillaberi region. Bonfeba has worked hard to plant their new garden and dig the communities' first well with RAIN. As the first crops come in, a women's cooperative will begin drying tomatoes, onions and peppers with the new solar oven. Tomatoes are an important staple in the nomadic diet, and along with the peppers and onion tops, fortify sauces for childrens meals and are the basis of many soups. When the first fruit trees come in, fruits such as mangos and papyas will also be dried by the women. 

Once dried, the food can then be stored in jars and either kept for the school or sold in local markets, the funds to be invested back into the community and school. 

We expect this to be a good stride forward towards food security for Bonfeba, and plan to introduce more solar ovens to future partner communities as an integral part of the RAIN School Market Garden program!

Drying is the timeless method of food preservation
Drying is the timeless method of food preservation
Bess meets with community of Bonfeba
Bess meets with community of Bonfeba

Links:

Jan 11, 2011

RAIN Brings a Garden and New Life to Bonfeba!

Bonfeba countryside, a lush landscape for Niger.
Bonfeba countryside, a lush landscape for Niger.

There are a number of organizations that donate food to some of Niger’s schools each year.  These gifts are generous and appreciated, but once the food is gone, the same barren schools with the same hungry children remain.  Not so for Bonfeba. 

Bonfeba is a village located on the Niger River, in the Tillaberi region, approximately a two-hour journey from the capital, Niamey.  Though the village does have a state run boarding school, enrollment has been historically low due to lack of food or supplies at the school for the children. Without sustainable agriculture, Bonfeba, like many communities in Niger, had no food reserves to carry through the harsh summer of drought and food shortages.

With RAIN's help, along with the parents of Bonfeba, Rotary International, and supporters like you, Bonfeba is getting a leg up. This fall, a half-acre school market garden has been installed - complete with well, cistern and drip irrigation system.  RAIN is introducing the community to drip irrigation to provide an ideal flow of water to the garden, while using much less water than traditional irrigation methods do. This garden will grow fresh food for the children, as well as produce cash crops to pay garden expenses and generate funds for the school, which has 247 children -- many of whom must live there while their parents search for pasture land. The garden project also includes a surrounding fence to protect it from animals, a motor pump to pull water from the well, and a gardener salary for the first three months.

Not only will the students of Bonfeba school now have food to eat, but the whole community will have clean drinking water for the very first time as a result of this project. Bonfeba is located beside a shallow and stagnant pool of water that served as the community’s only source of drinking water until RAIN dug Bonfeba’s first well. This water will bring better health to hundreds who regularly suffer from dysentery and other illnesses caused by a polluted water supply.

The village chief of Bonfeba, Dr. Bako, expressed to RAIN staff Abdou Koini: “This modern garden brings much hope for future food security in Bonfeba. It gives us the possibility of generating food, along with money to help the school.  In the view of this community, this garden project is salutary!”

With the kids now in school and the community poised to support itself through future tough times, we think you'll agree!

Bonfeba garden gate.
Bonfeba garden gate.
Students at Bonfeba school eating lunch.
Students at Bonfeba school eating lunch.
New hope for children of Bonfeba!
New hope for children of Bonfeba!
Students and teachers welcome much needed supplies
Students and teachers welcome much needed supplies
Drip irrigation for the Bonfeba garden.
Drip irrigation for the Bonfeba garden.
Oct 23, 2010

Update: New Gardens are Brought to Life

Garden in Tchifiniten
Garden in Tchifiniten

RAIN is happy to report that we have successfully installed five new gardens in the Tillaberi region of Niger since January. Installed with the partnership of the Tadiben, Enekre, Tadek, and Abalama communities, they are 100% organic and utilize drip irrigation, with only 25% of the water needed for traditional trough systems.  The wells installed with the gardens also provide clean drinking water, as they are protected from the elements and not used by animals.

RAIN is currently building another new garden in partnership with Rotary International for the Bonfeba school -- complete with irrigation system, fencing, seeds, and supplies.  As with all RAIN gardens, the Bonfeba garden will have the added benefit of providing food for the school lunch program for the school's 250 students. 

Once installed, the gardens are managed by a gardener chosen by the community and trained by RAIN, who in turn provides instruction to the community. Part of the cost of every RAIN garden project is the gardener salary, as well as fuel for the motor pump which pulls the water from the well.  After one or two growing seasons, (there are three growing seasons a year in Niger), the gardens are, in addition to providing food for students, generating sufficient cash crops to pay for all of the garden's ongoing expenses from that point forward, creating a truly sustainable and renewable resource for the entire community.

RAIN's gardens, with your help, provide the opportunity for each partner community to invest in their own food security.  Thank you!  More to come soon.

Installing the garden in Tagantassou
Installing the garden in Tagantassou
Garden in Lemdou
Garden in Lemdou
Gardener in Tangouchman
Gardener in Tangouchman

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Organization

Rain for the Sahel and Sahara

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States
http://www.rain4sahara.org

Project Leader

Julia D'Orazio

Office Manager
Portsmouth, New Hampshire United States

Where is this project located?

Map of School Market Gardens