GAMBA PRIMARY SCHOOL ORGANIC GARDEN (MALAWI, AFRICA)
The school is located on the outskirts of Lura Hills under Lura Zone, in the suburb North of Rumpi District, 32kms away from the main road. The school was started in 1991 and comprises 3 buildings with only 5 rooms for 163 students from grade 1 to 8. Five qualified teachers live and work there.
The school garden since 2013 has been supported in part by the slow food One thousand Gardens Project. Currently, there was a need for material to erect fencing around the vegetable garden to protect from wild animals and robbers. The current primitive fence was totally unsatisfactory. Additionally, there was a need for proper gardening tools an equipment to make life of the workers easier.
Currently, the organic vegetable garden is run by a committee with 2 teachers coordinating and 20 students working on it at time. In the rainy season, the garden is cultivated close to the school campus, while in summer the school us the valley next to the school to grow their crop. The vegetables vary depending of the season but currently grows local spinach, maize, amarathus, peas and beans. The grant money was used to purchase material to erect a strong and proper perimeter and provide proper tools such as hoes and spades, gloves, buckets, carrying containers, etc. to facilitate the on going maintenance of the garden.
The other organizations involved with this project are The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity through which they have been receiving some financial support, but also educational guidance on how to manage the vegetable garden and the Daniel de Simoni Association which has branches in Italy and Australia.
The involvement of the Rotary eClub member is through Vittoria Pasquini, the founder of the Association. We maintain a similar community garden here in Sydney and donate the food produced to local charities. We have therefore support our related project with this much need. We have been able to obtain progress reports and photos.
GAMBA SCHOOL GARDEN REPORT 2016
In October 2015 Gamba LEA School received funds from Rotary Club eClub One through the Association Valerio Daniel de Simon equivalent to US $2000 to expand its existing school garden. This report outlines activities in which the funds were used for.
The financial report covers three cores areas in which the funds were actually spent for viz; Materials and equipment, transport, communication and coordination.
1. GARDEN MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT ACQUISITION
Varied garden materials and equipment were acquired and distributed to school as per budget such as; wheel barrows, hoes, rakes, hand forks, trowels, watering cans, chicken wire, etc.
The importance of these equipment to gardening work is that it has assisted in enhancing work such as; transportation of manure, poles, grass etc. Initially garden members used to take these tools from their homes to school which was cumbersome as the school is located far from student residential areas.
2. CONSTRUCTION WORK
Gamba school garden measures 0.2 hectares; it has been constructed using treated acacia poles. Fenced with a 0 .5-inch mesh wire. The garden has been planted with local crops such as;
· Local maize [Bingo]
· Lettuce [Kamuganje]
Construction work was done by students themselves with support from the community. The construction is still in progress as schools opened classes on 7 January after Christmas and new festivities.
GPS localization for the school is;
The school received US $2000 equivalent to MK1, 150,000. The expenditure totaled to US $1,641.37equivalent to MK 943,788.25. There is a balance of US $ 358.63 remaining that will be channeled towards the construction of borehole.
A school committee comprising of school garden patrons, the principal supervised by the national coordinator was responsible for management of the project.
Gamba is the only school out 88 school gardens in Malawi with a wire fenced garden. This will reduce theft of school garden produce from passersby, because now the garden can be locked and protected. The school is pleased with this support from Rotary Club.