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Jul 1, 2019

Learning is joy

Volunteers celebrating the completion of the dryer
Volunteers celebrating the completion of the dryer

Nelson Mandela, South African politician and activistwho played a key role in Burundi’s path towards ending the civil war through the signing of the Arusha Accord Agreement in 2000, is quoted as saying “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Our Burundian 4-H partners – students, teachers, 4-H staff and community members – take this quote to heart. They are always eager to learn, teach others and put to practice new knowledge they gain for the betterment of their families and communities. An example of this were the solar dryers that were built for each of the six school gardens recently. Washington 4-H educators and program partners visited Burundi in February earlier this year and one of our educators taught the staff and teachers the process of solar drying vegetables and fruits. Two volunteers – one U.S. and one Burundi – worked together despite not knowing a single word of each other’s language to build a solar dryer for demonstration purposes.

Within 3 months of our departure all six schools had built their own solar dryer and are now experimenting with how best to use them and what produce works the best in the dryers. Being able to dry some of the produce from the gardens will assist with less spoilage or waste of excess harvest and better prices due to postponed marketing. Burundi is experiencing drastic changes in their rainy seasons due to climate change. They are now experiencing longer drought periods which create a lack of available produce between harvests. With dried products now available, families will have food between harvests and may even be able to sell the dried products at the market. Thank you, Burundi partners, for showing us how to use your natural resources (sun and land) to solve problems.

Nelson Mandela also said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

The Burundi 4-H School Garden program teaches much more than gardening skills. It also demonstrates how two very different cultures can come together and with a common goal demonstrate caring for all of humanity. Thank you, donors for your role in making this happen.

Teachers learning to build a solar dryer
Teachers learning to build a solar dryer
Students happy to use the new dryer
Students happy to use the new dryer
Apr 3, 2019

Murakoze Cane! (Thank you very much)

Pride in the Garden
Pride in the Garden

Murakoze Cane!  (Thank you very much)

Thank you for all the effort you have provided in support of the Burundi 4-H School Gardening program.  This past February, our Washington State University team of faculty, staff and volunteers spent 12 days in Burundi visiting our 4-H partners and each of the six Burundi 4-H Sister Schools. It was a powerful experience to be able to see the gardens first hand and witness the difference the 4-H School Gardens have made in the lives of thousands of children, their teachers, families and communities. We were welcomed everywhere we went with overwhelming enthusiasm and kindness. The students and teachers expressed so much gratitude and love for the 4-H program. The gardens have provided much needed nutrition to between 600 – 1000 children each year for the past four years and have helped the students develop knowledge and skills for growing food at home. As a result of participating in the school gardening program, students have a strong sense of pride and self-determination, and have increased self-confidence.  We were astounded by the progress that had been made with such little financial support. The Burundian people are intelligent, innovative, frugal and have a strong sense of community. Whatever is learned or gained by one is shared with all.

 Although the students were excited to be a part of 4-H, that was topped only by their delight to receive new soccer balls.  New soccer balls are rare and extremely expensive in Burundi so when we presented 9 new balls to each of the six schools the students were cheering with excitement.  The picture shows the delight in their faces while playing with the new balls. 

 During our time in Burundi, we trained 4-H educators, school teachers, and community members in food preservation techniques, 4-H program methodology, and Play for Peace cooperative games. Play for Peace is an international program that brings together children, youth, and organizations in communities affected by conflict, using cooperative play to create laughter, compassion, and peace. Cooperative play is a universal way for people to come together and learn. Play is used as an experiential learning tool and a catalyst for inspiring people from different backgrounds to reach across barriers and boundaries. This model of youth and community development has many overlapping tenets with the 4-H program methodology and Burundian leaders were delighted to learn the new program and excited to use the cooperative games with their students. We were fortunate that two of our team members were experienced Play for Peace facilitators and were able to share this knowledge with our Burundian partners and 4-H Sister Schools.

 As always we are grateful to you, our donors, as you have made all of this possible. Please know that you have made a difference in the world that has not gone unnoticed.

 

Learn more about Play for Peace here: https://www.playforpeace.org/solution

Joy
Joy
Play for Peace
Play for Peace

Links:

Jan 3, 2019

Umwaka Mwiza!! (Happy New Year)

Burundi 4-H educator working with students
Burundi 4-H educator working with students

Umwaka Mwiza!! (Happy New Year in Kirundi)

Next week students will be back in school in Burundi and returning to work in their gardens. Burundi has enjoyed a healthy rainy season the past few months and is prepared to begin harvest this January at all six Burundi 4-H school gardens. Since October of last year, Burundi 4-H educators have been engaging the two newest schools with hands-on trainings and site visits. Schoolteachers from existing 4-H sister schools have even joined in on welcoming the newest schools by helping with trainings and mentoring!

In other exciting news, this February, six members from the U.S. Burundi 4-H team in Washington State are traveling to Burundi for two weeks! The team of educators is comprised of experts in youth development, community development, horticultural science, and experiential education. The partnership between WSU 4-H and the Burundi 4-H leadership team is in its fifth year. Some of the U.S. team members visited Burundi in person back in 2013 and since then the program has been supported at a distance through ongoing mentorship using technology* (i.e. videoconference meetings and trainings, and email). The U.S. team is excited to have the opportunity to finally visit Burundi 4-H educators, schoolteachers, students and school gardens in person! The team will have a packed agenda which will include community focus groups and project evaluation, a two-day professional development training for schoolteachers and administrators, school site visits and garden visits at each school, and **Play for Peace activities and trainings for youth and adults. Two members of the U.S. Burundi 4-H team are also active volunteers for the international organization, **Play for Peace, who’s mission is to bring together children, youth, and organizations in communities affected by conflict, using cooperative play to create laughter, compassion, and peace. 

As always, THANK YOU for your support and dedication to 4-H youth through the Burundi 4-H School gardening program. JOIN US in spreading the word about this program to your friends and family. Like and share our story on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Wsu4HBurundiProject/

*Check out this article, Zoom Around the World, to learn more about how the U.S. project team has worked with Burundi 4-H partners over the years using technology https://joe.org/joe/2018september/iw1.php

 

**To learn more about Play for Peace visit https://www.playforpeace.org/

 

Students preparing to harvest their garden
Students preparing to harvest their garden
Students ready to learn!
Students ready to learn!
Burundi 4-H staff and schoolteachers at a training
Burundi 4-H staff and schoolteachers at a training

Links:

 
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