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Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi

by Washington State 4-H Foundation
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Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
Build School Gardens for 1800 Youth in Burundi
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
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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

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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

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Educators building a water filter system a school
Educators building a water filter system a school

School is back in session in Burundi and in many schools around the world. The start of a new school year brings learning, fun, friends, and of course, the planting of another year’s school gardens! The four schools in the Burundi 4-H Sister School program are gearing up to start their fourth 4-H year strong! Burundi 4-H educators have been working all summer on their annual plan for the new school years gardening program, and for the past several weeks 4-H educators have been visiting schools and meeting with teachers and principals to present the plan. The annual plan includes school gardening objectives, professional development plans, and goals for the 4-H afterschool peace clubs. The annual plans are developed based on evaluation data and input collected throughout the year from community members, garden management committee members, youth, school teachers, school administrators, 4-H educators, and NGO partners. This month, Burundi 4-H educators are busy preparing for an upcoming professional development training for school teachers and administrators from all four participating schools. As soon as the rainy season begins this October, children will begin planting this falls harvest.

Each year, the youth and schools participating in the Burundi 4-H school gardening program experience tremendous growth. This past school year, the introduction of water filter systems at each school has helped the program reach new heights. Most of the schools in Burundi do not have running water and children at school are suffering from thirst.Now with water filter systems at each Burundi 4-H Sister School, schools have taken measures to keep filters filled with water so that children can have access to clean water anytime. During the majority of the school year, the rainy season from October – April provides plenty of rainwater to the water catchment systems, and the schools then use the water filter systems to purify the rainwater for drinking and handwashing. During the drier months when school is in session (April – June) children will often bring water to school to filter. The introduction of water filter systems has made it so that rainwater stored in the water catchment systems can be purified and is used for drinking and handwashing, in addition to irrigating the gardens. Access to clean water at the schools greatly reduces the spread of infectious diseases, flu, diarrhea, and the common cold. The water filter systems were constructed at each school by educators who were trained by a non-profit organization called Friendly Water for the World*. The BioSand Water Filters are made on site from cement. Once constructed, sand is added to the filter, then water is added to the sand and the water becomes filtered as it passes through. The sand is purchased from local supplier and is replaced over time at a very inexpensive cost.

Another outcome resulting from the accessiblity of water on the school grounds is the establishment of nurseries. This past year students began creating nurseries and learning how to transplant seeds. Normally in Burundi, nurseries are found in valleys, however since each school has a collection of water stored in the water catchment systems, nurseries are now able to be located at the school. Nurseries are taken care of by the children with the help of the 4-H agricultural technician and school teachers. Students are planting seeds in the nurseries and once the plants are big enough, they transplant them into theirgardens. Additionally, many of the extra starter plants have been sent home with the students to share with their families for their homegardens 

Access to water, especially clean water, for the students has a huge impact on their learning, health, and their communities. As always, the immense success of the Burundi 4-H School gardening program is made possible through your continued support of this program. Thank you to all our donors, supporters, and partners! 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/

*To learn more about Friendly Water for the World visit http://www.friendlywater.net/

Educators adding sand to the water filter system
Educators adding sand to the water filter system
School children adding water to the filter system
School children adding water to the filter system
School children filling containers of clean water
School children filling containers of clean water
Students using the water filter
Students using the water filter
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Students showcasing their harvest
Students showcasing their harvest

School is almost out for the summer in Burundi. The students are amidst exam season and most classes wrap up July 14th. As the third year of the Burundi 4-H School Gardening program comes to a close, we have been reflecting on how the program continues to evolve and grow every year. The Burundi 4-H School Gardening Program began as a way to teach youth hands-on gardening practices and to develop livelihood skills that would help them provide nourishment to themselves, and build capacity in their communities to improve food insecurity. For three years now, students, educators, and community members have achieved and surpassed the original goal of the program.

The Burundi 4-H school gardens received a plentiful rainy season this Spring and have been able to harvest crops since February. While there was some diversity among the schools with regards to what was planted, crops included: carrots, corn, beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, amaranth, cassava, greens and watermelon.

So, what happens to the food grown in the 4-H School Gardens? Turns out…A LOT! 

Depending on the size the of the harvest, schools utilize the food grown in a variety of ways. One of the schools participates in a school food feeding program with the *World Food Programme (WFP). Some of the vegetables harvested from this school’s garden were donated to the school lunch program and used to supplement the beans provided by WFP. Schools in the Gitega area also organize cooking events at the school, including open door celebrations. Open Door celebrations are an opportunity for the community to get together to learn and celebrate the success of the school gardens. During these events, students cook a meal using some of the harvest and serve it to the community, lead garden tours and showcase what they have learned in the schools gardens. This past June, the Gitega area held an Open Door celebration and invited local community leaders, school administration, the entire school population, families, and even extended an invitation to neighboring schools participating in the 4-H School Garden Program. Representatives (teachers, community members, and children) from schools in neighboring communities attended the Gitega Open Door celebration to learn about what is happening in other school gardens and to bring information back to their school's 4-H gardening program.

Sometimes the school gardens produce such large quantities of carrots, that the harvest is given to the children to take home to their families or are eaten by the kids at school. 4-H educators have reported that students love working in the garden and eating the carrots right out of the ground! They have also shared that planting carrots is seen as an innovative practice at the schools because carrots are not a very common crop and are primarily grown in some of the colder regions of Burundi. Due to the students increased interest and skill in gardening, some of the children have begun gardening in their own villages and are initiating planting carrots and other vegetables at home with their families.

Some of the harvest (e.g. beans, corn) produces such large quantities that the schools and community members have decided that this harvest should be shared and sold at market. Funds gained from selling produce are used to purchase supplies and educational materials for 4-H peace clubs (e.g. paper, dancing kits and costumes, tools, etc.). 4-H Peace clubs are an example of an indirect outcome of the 4-H school gardening program and began this past school year at a few of the schools. In 4-H Peace Clubs, children are brought together afterschool to discuss many topics including hygiene, peace building, conflict resolution, farming, cultural activities like drumming and dancing, and sports like football (i.e. soccer). Peace clubs have been an informal way for kids to come together to grow, develop their social and emotional skills, and work towards positive change for a brighter future together.

The immense success of the Burundi 4-H School gardening program is made possible through your continued support of this program. Thank you to all our donors, supporters, and partners! 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/

Students with their harvest
Students with their harvest
Students preparing the soil for planting
Students preparing the soil for planting
Students in their garden
Students in their garden

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Project Leader:
Mary Katherine Deen
Puyallup, WA United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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