In Burkina Faso, a school garden enriches the canteen and plays an educational role for students
At Obdaga Public Primary School, the school garden is the pride of the students. Cabbages, onions, tomatoes and okra have grown well and are used daily to enrich the school canteen. Set up by Aide et Action as part of the Support Project for Schooling and Health Development, the school garden – now entirely managed by the community – has a dual function: nutritional and educational.
The Support Project for Schooling and Health Development developed in the village of Obdaga in the rural commune of Manni, Burkina Faso, was officially closed a few months ago but its impact is still remarkable and its sustainability seems assured. Indeed, the community is committed to managing the school garden so that its nutritional and educational benefits can last.
Community mobilization and engagement
Implemented by Aide et Action, with financial support from the Orange and BEL Foundations, the project aimed to improve access to quality education, drinking water and health services. This enabled the construction of two boreholes, a Health and Social Promotion Center, two latrines and the repair of the school kitchen. The establishment of a school garden complemented these actions in order to help improve the nutritional conditions of students but also to respond to educational challenges.
Once the project was completed, in October 2020, community actors (members of the Parents’ Association, the Association of Mother Educators and the Management Committee), teachers and students made the commitment to perpetuate the school garden. For the current school year (2020-2021), gardening activities could therefore be continued without interruption. And today it’s a great satisfaction: the cabbages, onions, tomatoes and okra have grown well and are partly ready for consumption. “We started the garden activities in our school field in December 2020. We had to finish harvesting beans, millet and sesame first,” said the director of the Obdaga public primary school, M Alhagi DIANDA.
A tool for teachers, a satisfaction for children
The harvest from the field is used for the school canteen. “The training of community actors on their role and responsibilities by Aide et Action has contributed to the awareness of the parents of pupils concerning their implication for the accompaniment of the teachers in the management of the school“, adds the director of the school. For the management of the school garden, a planning has been set up. Elementary students water the plants during the hours of their practical activities class of the school curriculum. On rest days, especially Sundays and during holidays, members of the Association of Mothers Educators take over. As for the Management Committee (COGES), it bought the seeds which are made available to the students gathered in school government. The training and implementation of it were also supported by Aide et Action, still within the framework of the project.
For the principal of the Obdaga school, the sustainability of the school garden is important for two reasons. “On the one hand, it enriches the canteen meal with vegetables and on the other hand, it plays an educational role by serving as a practical case for the course on agriculture. It is easier for the teacher to convey the lesson from plowing to harvesting. Parents are happy to see that we are showing their children how to take care of a plan”, insists the director. The pupils themselves enjoy the garden. The watering time for each class is a time for students to relax and for the most part to learn the trade from their parents.