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Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids

by Cameroon Association of Active Youths
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Grow hope for 150 Cameroon schoolkids
Gardening Club
Gardening Club

CAMAAY schools are back in session, and the students have had a very busy and productive fall. The students have begun planting and cultivating their school gardens. Students are planting a variety of crops this fall, and they look forward to having a yummy and nutritious harvest this spring. In addition to growing school gardens, CAMAAY students have started after school nutrition and gardening clubs. These clubs host guest speakers who teach the students about nutrition, sustainability, and agricultural science. The clubs also allow students to enjoy discussions centered around healthy recipes, gardening techniques, and environmental science.

CAMAAY has recently established a partnership with Seed Programs International, a United States-based nonprofit that provides seeds and agricultural expertise to humanitarian organizations working to alleviate hunger and poverty. SPI and CAMAAY plan to work together to provide seeds and training manuals to schools and develop project designs to maximize garden outputs. Together, CAMAAY and SPI will help students grow and cultivate the best gardens possible while learning about gardening, science, and nutrition.

Lastly, there are a few initiatives the CAMAAY plans to launch this fall. CAMAAY volunteer Golnoosh has developed new additions to a computer application that students can use to maximize crop production and the garden's nutritional output. This has inspired the CAMAAY staff to start a new initiation to bring technology to the CAMAAY classroom. Through donations of smartphones, laptops, and tablets, CAMAAY schools will use technology to hone students’ skills. Through data collection, analysis, and computer modeling, students will be able to maximize the success of their gardens.  In doing so, students will also learn about cutting-edge technology and how modern tools can be implemented even in traditional agricultural trades.

We also plan on establishing public health surveys to measure the public health impact of CAMAAY’s projects. Public health surveys conducted at each of CAMAAY’s schools will measure the positive impact of CAMAAY’s programs on the health and wellness of its students. The information gathered in these surveys will lay the foundation for a larger research project that measures the efficacy of CAMAAY’s garden projects and education initiatives on the health of the children of Cameroon.

Lastly, CAMAAY project manager Megan is meeting FNE International directors this November. FNEI partners with communities in developing nations to identify opportunities to advance housing, health and education. FNEI currently works with several schools in Nicaragua. With FNEI, CAMAAY hopes to extend its network and connect classrooms with collaborative projects.  Stay tuned to see how things progress!

Students preparing their garden
Students preparing their garden
The proud students!
The proud students!
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 CAMAAY schools are back in session, and the students have had a very busy and productive fall. The students have begun planting and cultivating their school gardens. Students are planting a variety of crops this fall, and they look forward to having a yummy and nutritious harvest this spring. In addition to growing school gardens, CAMAAY students have started after school nutrition and gardening clubs. These clubs host guest speakers who teach the students about nutrition, sustainability, and agricultural science. The clubs also allow students to enjoy discussions centered around healthy recipes, gardening techniques, and environmental science.

 CAMAAY has recently established a partnership with Seed Programs International, a United States-based nonprofit that provides seeds and agricultural expertise to humanitarian organizations working to alleviate hunger and poverty. SPI and CAMAAY plan to work together to provide seeds and training manuals to schools and develop project designs to maximize garden outputs. Together, CAMAAY and SPI will help students grow and cultivate the best gardens possible while learning about gardening, science, and nutrition.

Lastly, there are a few initiatives the CAMAAY plans to launch this fall. CAMAAY volunteer Golnoosh has developed new additions to a computer application that students can use to maximize crop production and the garden's nutritional output. This has inspired the CAMAAY staff to start a new initiation to bring technology to the CAMAAY classroom. Through donations of smartphones, laptops, and tablets, CAMAAY schools will use technology to hone students’ skills. Through data collection, analysis, and computer modeling, students will be able to maximize the success of their gardens.  In doing so, students will also learn about cutting-edge technology and how modern tools can be implemented even in traditional agricultural trades. 

We also plan on establishing public health surveys to measure the public health impact of CAMAAY’s projects. Public health surveys conducted at each of CAMAAY’s schools will measure the positive impact of CAMAAY’s programs on the health and wellness of its students. The information gathered in these surveys will lay the foundation for a larger research project that measures the efficacy of CAMAAY’s garden projects and education initiatives on the health of the children of Cameroon. 

CAMAAY project manager Meg is meeting FNE International directors this November. FNEI partners with communities in developing nations to identify opportunities to advance housing, health and education. FNEI currently works with several schools in Nicaragua. With FNEI, CAMAAY hopes to extend its network and connect classrooms with collaborative projects.  Stay tuned to see how things progress!

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Maureen and Kaya enroute to Cameroon!
Maureen and Kaya enroute to Cameroon!

Our wonderful volunteer Maureen and her daugther Kaya have arrived last month in Cameroon! Thus far, Maureen and Kaya have experienced the warmth of Cameroonian hospitality and we're so glad to have her with us!

Maureen is writing a blog called "Moringa, Kaya, and I" which follows their journey through changing the lives of the communities and youth we serve. Maureen is exploring ways communities can improve their health with not just moringa, but also by identifiying where resources are needed most.

Maureen has identified areas where the communities and youth are lacking. Maureen has been teaching the children useful math skills that they can use to improve the quality of their water. Maureen has taught the children to apply the "SODIS Method" to purifying water, and notes:

"By encouraging [the SODIS method], we increase the chances that this method will be used on the long run, ensuring that everyone has access to safe, clean water. We shall continue both the flow measurement and SODIS method to some other schools in the upcoming months. This project can not only save lives by laying the groundwork for desperately needed new water treatment and distribution facilities, but may help avoid the problems that lead to the mis-sizing and poor design of the original facilities by inspiring new generations of engineers"

It is with this that Maureen (and CAMAAY!) hope to inspire the students to become more interested in how to improve not just their hygiene and livlihood, but for those for generations to come.

The Students
The Students

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class.jpg
class.jpg

.A virtual volunteer with experience working on school gardens in the US city of Detroit has selected a list of crops suitable for the Cameroon climate and soil that do will one or more of the following:

  • provide a variety of important nutrients
  • resist pests
  • attract pollinators
  • replenish the soil
  • retain moisture
  • offer shade
  • can be eaten raw for school snacks
  • can be stored to provide food security year-round
  • produce seeds that can be banked for the following year.

Three of the crops -- basil, onions, and garlic -- will be used in all gardens to reduce pests, but the children will choose the 4 - 6 they want to grow from the rest of the list. At the start of the school year, we will work with the teachers in each school to have the kids play a simple game to choose the crops to plant in their garden.  Each child will pick one of the possible crops to learn about and represent.  After all the children have had an opportunity to review the material about  the characteristics, requirements, and benefits of their crops, they will form teams by joining with the other children (crops)  they would like to make up their garden.  They can then use a simple mobile phone app that one of our volunteers is developing to enter their team members (crop choices) to see how each crop choice, individually and in combination with the others, will affect the amount of work their garden will require, how much food and nutrition it will provide, and whether it will help them make money to support the gardens in future years by producing seeds for banking or surplus for sale.

You can receive a free download of our app with the 12 fruits and vegetables we are offering the schools when you donate $25;  for a $250 donation, we will research and program the app for 6 fruits or vegetable of your own choosing.

 

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the harvest
the harvest

Our gardens took a huge step forward toward being self-sustaining this year, thanks to the enthusiasm and vigilance of our volunteer from Italy, Pietro Clement, and the commitment of the kids and teachers. We can't wait to apply this year's experience to our gardens next fall.

School participation

Last year we overextended ourselves, so this year we settled on working with just 5 schools in the Bamenda area. This allowed Pietro to visit each school every week, on a rotating basis. We chose three schools from last year, Bambessi High School, Mendankwe Primary School and Chombo Primary School, and added  Upstation Primary and Ambo Primary.

In Bambessi, the only high school this year, the interest of the students and the commitment of the teachers was limited; the seedlings were not tended during the Christmas break and all died. Although the Upstation children were excited to participate, the teachers and principal there were not supportive, and the garden site was too far away to provide proper supervision. In the others schools, crops were successfully harvested, and the children and teachers were enthusiastic.

Crops

The children were excited to at least try all the crops they grew, most of which they had not tasted before. The preparation of a huge salad with lettuce, tomatoes, and radishes was especially thrilling.

Carrots, lettuce, radishes, and tomatoes were the most successful crops, although only the lettuce grew in sufficient quantity that there was still some left after the children had taken enough to feed themselves and their families for a week. Radishes were the next-most prolific crop, but eaten raw, the children didn’t like the sharp taste. Carrots also grew well and could be eaten raw, but luckily were much more of a hit with the children. They also enjoyed the tomatoes they grew, but the harvest was small . Cauliflower, eggplant, and zucchini only produced enough for a few days’ food, were not that well liked, and were more complicated to prepare, and so will likely be dropped from next year’s gardens.

Although beans were planted in each of the gardens, only in Ambo did they produce, and there just enough to give everyone a taste. Since beans are so nutritious and can be dried and stored, we will try to purchase the necessary soil amendments next year to help the beans thrive.  Indeed, since it is the “year of the pulses,” we want to do our part to teach the children the children and how to grow and enjoy this powerhouse crop.

Techniques

This year, most of the schools relied on manure that the children contributed from their farms at home for fertilizer, but every school started a compost pile, which will get things off to a great start next year. Mulch used was successfully in keeping weeds down and moisture in. Next year we will work on techniques for protecting the crops from pests, and institute a drip irrigation system.

Equipment

All schools had hoes, machetes, gloves, and buckets to work with, but we would like to be able to purchase wheel barrows for each school to make the work easier.  Some schools were not fenced, and other fences fell into disrepair. We would like to try living fences (hedgerows) next year in some of the schools next year, which will not only be effective in keeping predators out but can provide protection from sun and wind, as well as an ongoing supply of fruit. 

Looking ahead

We will continue gardens in Mendankwe, Ambo and Chombo next year and select two more from the other schools we worked with the first year. Because we will be introducing some new crops and techniques next year, all schools should probably still receive weekly visits for one more year, but after that, this year’s schools should become self-sustaining, providing an ongoing source of nutrition, income, and inspiration for a new generation of farmers.

 

 

the salad
the salad
satisfaction
satisfaction

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Organization Information

Cameroon Association of Active Youths

Location: Bamenda, north-west region - Cameroon
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Patrick Chung
Bamenda, north-west region Cameroon

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