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This near to two-acre field was planted in October-November 2018 with the help of the students.

The process was integrated in the Senior Five Mathematics curriculum area of constructing flow charts. We hope that the students will now participate in improving the nutrition programme for the animals and also take part in milking.

During the December 2018 holidays we hosted a Youth Conference and visited a number of farmers and schools to learn where all these steps are leading us-ENTREPRENEURSHIP for the youth and the need to start them off while still at school.

We are looking for support to build a cattle barn like this that we saw at Gayaza High School. This will help us to move towards zero grazing,construct a bio-gas plant to provide clean energy(SDG7) and bio-slurry which is an organic manure(SDG13) to fertilise our banana garden.

These fields will not only support the food production process of the school for food security(SDG2) but will also become learning and training fields in the near future. We want to train the teachers on using projects in teaching such that we enhance the quality of education we offer(SDG4). This will help create a skilled labour force that is youthful and can start their own businesses as they leave school(SDG1). Such students will improve on the well being of their families and hence improved health(SDG3) either by setting up production centres at home or being employable in other settings(SDG 8,9&12).

We were happy to host the State Minister for Youth Affairs on the closing day of the conference who concurred with us on the model of educational path and promised to support the innovation if we continue engaging the community to learn with us(SDG 17).

This task of transforming our schools is now being spearheaded by the teachers who have come together to form an organisation called the “Teachers and Educators for the Future Farmers Africa-TEFFA” supported by the Catholic Relief Services-CRS and volunteers from the Future Farmers of America-FFA

Brigadier Colonel Kasura mentoring the teachers from different schools.

Sharing on the way forward for our schools with volunteers from FFA on how to grow good case studies that can be used to tell the story.We hope to continue engaging with Government so as to bring this innovation to all primary and secondary schools plus teacher training collages.

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THEME: ENGAGING THE YOUTH INTO AGRIBUSINESS THROUGH THE USE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICTs).

Introduction:

St.Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK) held its first edition of an Agribusiness Youth conference that took place from 7th December to 15th December and attracted over 200 participants from different primary and secondary schools around the country, of which the majority were between 13 -20 years old and others were teachers and support staff.

We thank all our sponsors; Uganda Communications Commission(UCC) through RCDF, Ashoka East Africa, Vivo(Shell) Energy, Centenary Bank, Resilient Africa Network(RAN), Uganda Biosciences Center(Ubic), Makerere University-College of Computing, Kyambogo University- Faculty of Vocational Studies, UCU Mukono University-Faculty of Science, NARO-TAAT team and all the parents who sponsored their children.

We thank the different training groups that supported this initiative and all the farms that we visited. We thank all our guests and the media for joining us in this conference and hope our voices will reach many more Ugandans for the development of our country.

Rationale:

The conference brought together students and teachers from schools across the country to learn the different initiatives that they can be engaged in and share their learning with the other participants to enable all groups adopt and replicate models of proven approaches of farming back home and in using ICTs for agribusiness.

The participants at this conference used this opportunity to lay strategies towards rebuilding their school farms into model farms that not only feed the school and support education but also provide extension services to the surrounding communities. The teachers and students discovered that Agribusiness was a fertile ground for application of most of the concepts taught within the Computer Science curriculum at Ordinary level and the Subsidiary Information and Communication Technology curriculum at Advanced level and many other subject curricular in our Ugandan schools. The linkage between the technology skills taught and their application to the real world for the young is what we desire for all schools in Uganda and appeal to all organisations with a similar mind to join us in this initiative.

In undertaking this initiative, we had a focus on the many problems faced within the Agribusiness sector including; communication gaps, poor record keeping, inefficient extension service, un attractive farming systems dominated by the old and uneducated people and unemployment just to mention a few.

Our strategy was to engage the youth in thinking about solving the identified bottlenecks in Agribusiness through the use of ICTs with a target of enabling the youth to get involved in the development of ; mobile applications that are solving farmers’ challenges, specialised applications for farm accounts and other areas, farm management systems, farm journals that record the farm workers foot print, marketing tools such as blogs and the day to day work documents as well as business planning applications among others.

Activities that were undertaken during the conference:

  1. The participants were trained in the management and value chains of; Dairy and Animal Nutrition, Poultry, Piggery, Vegetables, Bananas, Beans and Farm machinery.
  2. The participants visited high value farms that practice scientific farming as well as institutional farms. This was intended to enable the youth to focus their minds towards creating change in their schools, at home and within their communities.
  3. The participants were trained in the use of ICTs in Agribusiness and how they can support collaboration and exchange of knowledge across communities. This training was conducted at three universities; Makerere University, Kyambogo University and Uganda Christian University Mukono.
  4. The teachers were encouraged in integrating ICTs for Agribusiness activities within their classroom lesson plans as a sustainability strategy to entrepreneurship skilling within our schools and communities.
  5. At the end of the conference all the participants took a tour of Queen Elizabeth National Park to learn more about how ICTs can be used to boost the agri-tourism sector.

Proceedings:

All the events were updated on the conference blog as they unfolded. The link to the blog is www.smackagribusinessblog.wordpress.com

  1. Day One

Merging with the official closing day of the school term was the opening day of the conference on 7th December 2018.

The evening session started with registration for attendance since the participants were to be accommodated in the college quadrangle. At 5:00 p.m., the opening mass commenced, led by the college chaplain, Fr. Stephen Nyanzi.

The night session was for the participants to prepare their sleeping grounds and plan their stay during the conference.

  1. Day Two

In the morning session, the Change Makers, clad in garden attire headed to the college farm in four groups and participated in the set agricultural activities. The study areas included; piggery, bananas, vegetables, dairy, animal nutrition and poultry. The students learnt management practices in each of these fields rotating from one area to another.

In the banana section the participants were taught preparation of the garden,carrying out different agronomic practices like mulching, weeding, pruning and manure application.

The participants were also introduced to the growing of High Iron Beans and the training was conducted by Dr. Stanley Nkalubo and his team.

The areas covered in the training of students at the bean demonstration field included the following;

  1. Bean breeding:
  2. Variety description and maintenance of genetic purity
  3. Hybridization (cross pollination) using flowers
  4. Bean Agronomic Practices:
  5. Land preparation
  6. Season timing
  7. Bean planting (seeding rate, spacing, row planting, depth of planting)
  8. Importance of using quality seed
  9. Weeding (earthing up)
  10. Identification and control of major Pests and diseases
  11. Importance of beans-with special interest to micronutrient enriched beans (high iron and zinc bean):
  12. As food
  13. Source of income
  14. Malnutrition (hidden hunger); Micro nutrient -iron and zinc and importance
  15. Other nutrients

In the Dairy section,training was led by Dr. Semambo Dan and the participants learnt alot including,management of calves to weaning,management of Heifers after weaning,organization of the milking parlor,mixing of Dairy Meal for milking animals,putting silage and dairy meal in the feeding trough,driving the milking cows to the milking parlor,milking the cows and proper milking methods,Artificial insemination and how to test for the pregnancy in cows.

The participants were also taught silage making to enhance animal nutrition. The participants were introduced to;land preparation for planting,pPlanting methods Maize/Napier grass for silage making,harvesting of Maize/Napier grass and silage making,types of Silos (Tube, Surface and Surface silos).

In the pig farming section,training was conducted by the primary school children from MST Junior Academy and we thank Dr. Naluyima and her team for training the young in agribusiness. The participants learnt about;management of the piggery,farrowing,processing new litter,treating sick animals,weaning,breeding,feeding and making feeds and record keeping.

In the poultry unit, Mr. Kyanze a former teacher of Chemistry and now a great poultry farmer led the training assisted by one of the trainers from Smart Agribusiness company. The participants learnt about;brooding of Day Old Chicks (DOC) up to three weeks,preparation of the brooder,temperature regulation in the poultry house,adequate water in the Brooder,adequate light for the one-day old chicks,cleanness in the brooder (Feeders and water),vaccinations and Poultry management beyond three weeks.

The training in the vegetable field was conducted by Mr.Bukenya from Bombo Army High School together with the trainers from Smart Agribusiness forum. The students were trained in;carrying out different agronomic practices,transplanting different crops,practicing direct planting ,practicing container gardening using the local materials,carrying out simple irrigation techniques e.g. bottle irrigation and using other irrigation systems.

The hour to lunch was occupied by the opening ceremony with speeches. We were happy to host the Mayor of Entebbe as our Chief guest, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer-Wakiso District,the Agricultural Expert-National Curriculum Development Centre and our two volunteers from the Future Farmers of America(FFA) brought to us by the Catholic Relief Services(CRS) through the Farmer to Farmer(F2F) programme in Uganda.

Mr. Alisengagha Geoffrey and Mr. Ddungu Ronald who was also the Chairman organising committee,inspired the attendees about the power of agribusiness in Uganda.

The conference was opened by the Mayor of Entebbe who appreciated the organisers for bringing the youth together to rethink about the future of our country. He encouraged the participants to take whatever they were to learn back home and improve on the livelihood of the people in their communities and set up big businesses to provide employment to others.

In the afternoon, the student leaders one from each of the 20 schools represented at the conference were invited to a leadership training conducted by volunteers from the Future Farmers of America. The rest of the participants continued with the training in the fields.

The Catholic Relief Services(CRS) supported the conference by facilitating two volunteers from the United States Agricultural sector who are part of the FFA network. We were happy to host Dr. Nina Crutchfield from the National FFA Organization and Miss. Madison R. Taylor a former student leader in FFA.

The Volunteers started with engaging selected students through a leadership workshop and enabling them share personal experience in agriculture.

The student leaders from each school’s youth agriculture club/chapter around the country met during the first official day of the camp after visiting the school’s farm.  During the workshop, the students reflected on what they had learned during their morning sessions.  After some reflection, the students walked through the concept of finding a WHY in everything they do (especially in agricultural activities).  The outcome was finding it easy to know WHAT and HOW to do something but learning to focus on WHY we do it.  The students then proceeded to share about some of the activities their youth agriculture chapters do at their schools.  Once they finished sharing, they were grouped up to DREAM about what they would like to have their youth agriculture clubs look like in an ideal situation.  They focused on projects they could do/implement into their chapters, how to better their school farms, and ways to get more students involved.  The students were excited to think about the possibilities of the youth agriculture organization at their school and ways to start new projects.

Recommendations: Continue to get the student leaders from each school together to collaborate with one another.  Being able to share ideas and activities allows for greater thinking and cohesion among the chapters throughout Uganda.

In the night session, prospective individuals were tasked to present their business ideas in agribusiness in preparation to the competitive session that was to be held later on in the week.

  1. Day three

The day was supposed to start with a visit of some of the participants to a hatchery at 5:00a.m but due to the heavy rains with no power just a few managed to board the bus to the farm. The students were able to see the chicks hatch and the first management practices when handling a newly hatched chick. They then returned in time for breakfast and joined the other team that had started with Mass that Sunday morning.

Then after tea the Change Makers left the college to visit external farms that conduct education tours for youth. The participants boarded three buses destined on different routes and the following farms were visited:

Dr. Naluyima’s farm

Even in her absence, her team did a marvelous job in guiding the future farmers on basics of poultry rearing, banana management, fish and piggery. The highlight was the efficiency in water management at the farm which greatly minimized wastage. The projects surround a primary school called MST Junior Academy that teaches in line with practicality in agriculture. Amazingly, some pupils from this institution were facilitators in the college farm on day two.

Dr. Kabirizi’s farm

No smell of dung or other waste surprised many who got there and she unlocked her secret to ensuring proper sanitation. The participants were taken around her projects and minds were inspired and unlocked.

Ms. Rebecca’s farm

Her motherly care was witnessed by the group that visited her farm. The teacher-turned-farmer found gold in strawberries and shared with them her journey in farming. With the opportunity to contribute to the transplanting process, the group was so disciplined compared to other visitors, as reported by their host. She then allowed them to devour the juicy fruits that were already tempting them as a sign of appreciation for cooperation.

Gayaza High School farm

The group that visited the GHS farm was excited about different students’ agriculture projects having name tags to show the individual who owns them. This had been adopted to establish a closer relationship of students with their projects such that they care for them and make them proud of their efforts.

Dr.Nambatya’s Kwagala Farm.

At Kwagala Farm the participants learnt about value addition and how a small household can be organised as a functional business enterprise. There was a lot to see including the magical cow dung turned into biogas and the amazing bio slurry fertiliser. There was also the display of several mints that are dried and grinded into medicinal products for the better health of our people. The students were also introduced to community support programs visiting some of the outreach community projects run by the farm.

  1. Day Four

The day started off with a presentation by an official from Ashoka Fellows-Bryan, who had been assigned the duty of identifying the most powerful ideas that were to be pitched.  He took the participants through some drills that were intended to make them more active and resilient to the challenges in life.

Later on, Joseph Nkandu the Executive Director of NUCAFE delivered a memorable speech about how coffee has improved the life of millions of farmers in Uganda. He ended by donating two boxes of his company product, NUCAFE coffee to the Change Makers so as to energize them.

  The students who had projects to present were given an opportunity to do so and seven students were selected to be mentored by Ashoka and grow them into community youth leaders.

Another powerful presentation was also made by an official from Rural Communications Development Fund, who shed more light on what ICTs are and their role in promoting agribusiness in the modern world.

The day’s sessions ended with Brigadier Kasura’s speech, who donated a cow to the college. He did speak to the teachers about the need to integrate Agribusiness in their day to day classroom work for the benefit of the students and in their personal activities to uplift their income. He later on spent some time with the students and encouraged them to learn the agricultural skills and support their parents develop good business ventures.

On the same day the teachers were engaged in a teachers’ workshop that was attended by over 50 teachers some of whom just came in that day for the workshop.

The volunteers Nina and Madison facilitated and supported a discussion on creating a collaborative Agricultural Education teacher network.

  1. Progress with the objective:
  • Teachers and educators spent a day working through the Appreciative Inquiry method of strategic planning and implementation. They identified their own training needs related to adopting and implementing agriculture in their instructional efforts. Nine topics emerged from their efforts, prioritizing the top 6 for future efforts as well as individuals capable of providing the identified training.

Training needs, in order of greatest need:

  1. How to use available space and resources for implementation
  2. Technical ag content integration into academics
  3. Improving teaching skills to become student-centered rather than teacher-centered (Problem-based, project-based, & inquiry-based instruction)
  4. Communication, advocacy, & leadership training
  5. How to collaborate with community, parents, and administrators
  6. Digital literacy and ICT training
  7. How to create and manage agricultural experiential learning events
  8. Securing tools and materials for student projects

 

  • Time was dedicated to the creation of the Teachers and Educators of Future Farmers of Africa-TEFFA. Offices were identified, volunteers secured, and elections held. The first TEFFA officers include:

Chair: John Paul Mutesa

Central Region Vice Chair: Christopher Othieno

Northern Region Vice Chair: Francisco Anyama

Eastern Region Vice Chair: Diana Nalubega

Western Region Vice Chair: Moses Baingana Kakooko

Communications: Moreen Aliku

Finance & Project Officer: Brian Kibirige

The Board of Directors is being established but currently identified seats include:

Ronald Ddungu

Mathias Mutema Mulumba

Dr. Daniel Semambo

Teddy Najjemba

Elected Chairperson (John Paul Mutesa)

Elected Finance & Project Officer (Brian Kibirige)

  • Time was spent, with educators and YoFFA leaders, brainstorming the creation of agricultural competitive events designed to motivate students to learn agriculture while measuring learning outcomes, teamwork, communication skills, agriculture technical skill attainment, recordkeeping, and innovation.
  1. Expected impacts/results:
  • The new TEFFA officers are charged with creating a way to deliver the professional development the teachers desire.
  • The new TEFFA officers are charged with beginning the creation of competitive events to engage the students, using the brainstorming of the teacher and students as a starting point.
  • The new TEFFA officers are charged with taking the agriculture in education initiative forward for adoption by schools across the country.
  1. Recommendations:
  • Continue seating the Board of Directors. The Board will be instrumental in shaping the future of the organization and helping the newly elected officers follow through with their 3 charges. We hope to use assistance from CRS with forming a constitution and by-laws, seating the board, and educating the volunteers regarding their roles to accomplish the identified objectives.

 

The volunteers further facilitated and supported a discussion on Implementing/Growing Agricultural Education clubs in schools-Youth Future Farmers of Africa ( YoFFA).

  1. Progress with the objective:

Model YoFFA teachers were identified and then enlisted in a round-robin rotation. The chapter patrons shared their efforts to start their YoFFA clubs, their best practices, and challenges with their fellow teachers. The others were able to hear from teachers at Gayaza High School, MST Primary School, Bombo Army and St. Mary’s College Kisubi.

 

Expected impacts/results:

Teachers will take the information back to their schools and either start a new YoFFA chapter or improve the one they already have.

  1. Recommendations:

Provide this sharing opportunity, with more time allotted, at all future agriculture and professional trainings where teachers are present. Teachers love learning from other teachers who are successful. This is the best route for accelerating adoption of YoFFA in schools. It could also be beneficial for the club leaders to interact with the teachers, sharing what they are learning and how they are creating student-centered activities to engage members.

 

  1. Day Five

The conference objective was to introduce the youth to the use of ICTs in the development of the Agribusiness sector. We would like to thank Resilient Africa Network for partnering with us to provide an introductory session of designing a Mobile Application that can support a development area. A team of 9 facilitators was set up to support this training in three different universities. https://www.ranlab.org/

This was the day for the hands-on approach of ICTs, as the Change Makers set out to; Makerere University, Kyambogo University and Uganda Christian University-Mukono.

While in their respective computer laboratories, they had an opportunity to design a sample mobile application using MIT App Inventor software and realized how easy and fun it is.

On the same day another workshop was held for the leaders of education and agriculture in various government areas. The volunteers facilitated a workshop for officials from the Kampala Capital City Authority(KCCA) and Entebbe Municipality using the Discover, Dream, Design, and Destiny technique.

  1. Progress with the objective

There were 5 educators and Dr. Semambo present at the meeting. Ms. Rita Kainemirembe working with KCCA and Daniel Ndagga with Entebbe Municipal School Council were able to participate. Time was spent with these 2 individuals discussing opportunities to engage with their schools and students regarding education in agriculture. Madam Kainemirembe shared that she understood they were missing an opportunity to engage their primary students in their KCCA farm and would work to remedy it. She also shared that their district budgets have been set for 2019 and would begin working on 2020 in Feb. It would be likely it will be 2021 before any resources could be dedicated to any district wide initiative.

Madam Kainemirembe requested the team to start making efforts to introduce the concept by participating in their head teacher trainings. She believed that it will take multiple exposures to introduce the concept to gain adoption by the educators.

Mr. Ndagga agreed and ensured he is supportive of the efforts but needs more concrete marketing materials to begin introducing the initiative in his district. After Mr. Ddungu shared the mayor’s comments at the opening session, Mr. Ndagga seemed more interested.

  1. Expected impacts/results

In two years, with continued efforts by the TEFFA leadership team, the 2 school districts should have their teachers implementing agriculture concepts as outlined in their curriculums.

  1. Recommendations
  • The TEFFA Board of Directors maintain communications with Madam Kainemirembe and Mr. Ndagga in an effort to participate in their head teacher trainings.
  • The TEFFA leadership create tangible marketing materials to share the initiative with current and future stakeholders.
  1. Day Six

The last day of the first phase of the conference was occupied by a talk on financial literacy by Ms. Joy Mukisa of the Private Education Development Network, and this was after an interactive talk by a representative from National Agricultural Research Organization.

The student leaders started the day with a planning workshop facilitated by the volunteers.

The volunteers worked together to deliver more strategic planning sessions to further develop the youth and teacher organizations in Agriculture Education.

In progress, students started developing a working program of activities for their YoFFA chapters to do throughout the year. The students were given three areas to develop activities around; Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Service.  Within these three categories were subcategories, in which they came up with ideas/activities their YoFFA chapters could be more involved in.

  • Entrepreneurship
    • Community collaboration
    • ICT Innovation
  • Leadership
    • Student collaboration
    • Recreation
    • Recruitment
  • Service
    • Caring for poor
    • Caring for the environment

Through brainstorming activities and presenting what some chapters have done in the past, the students created ideas for each of the subcategories and came up with all the details for two of the activities.  The details included what, when, where, who, purpose etc.  The students then placed their flushed-out activities on a calendar to see them written down amongst other group’s ideas.    They were encouraged to bring these ideas and activities back to their chapters when they start school in 2019 and get them implemented in for the new year and further develop the rest of the activities that had come up with for each of the categories.

Recommendations: We recommend that the student leaders in each chapter continue to work with their teachers and patrons to develop a full program of activities based around the three categories stated above as well as implement competitions into their clubs and camps.  We also would recommend working with other chapters/schools in the area to collaborate on events or activities chapters are doing.

Recommendation Specific Action Responsible person By when
1. Create a leadership camp with each chapter’s student leaders, to gain knowledge and skills to bring back to the chapter to further engage members. Work with CRS and Farmer to Farmer to create a scope of work and find a team of leaders from the United States to facilitate an entire camp based around leadership, so the chapter leaders can take the ideas and concepts back to their school. TEFFA, Board of Directors and CRS. By the end of 2020
2. Have collaborative meetings with the school’s chapter leaders whenever holding an event or camp. At each Gayaza Farm Camp, St. Mary’s College Kisubi Agribusiness Conference and any additional regional or national conferences have a morning or afternoon session for each school’s chapter leaders to collaborate and share ideas of what they have been working on and create plans for future events. TEFFA and directors of camps. The next Gayaza Farm Camp/or additional regional camp being implemented.
3. Students should take the lead in each of their youth agriculture chapters to further develop activities within Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Service. Student leaders should take the program of activities outline they created around entrepreneurship, leadership and service and implement the ideas and activities into their youth agriculture chapters when school starts again. It should be student initiated and driven. Student leaders and Patrons Within the next year, by 2019
4. Continue to work toward creating competitive events to motivate students to be further involved in agriculture and YoFFA. TEFFA should continue to work toward creating a few different competitions based around agriculture industries or commodities in Uganda for students to compete against each other at different regional or national camps/conferences. TEFFA and Student leaders By 2020 have 3-5 competitive events at camps for students.
5. Design a conference book and appoint student small group leaders for the next camp Create a conference guide book with questions and writing prompts centered around the intended learning objectives of the camp and what they can expect to see at the farms/park visited.

 

Design a way to appoint student small-group leaders in an effort to facilitate logistical pieces and hold students accountable for learning.

Farm Camp directors/teachers participating Next Gayaza Farm Camp
6. Have designated/built in reflection time using guide booklets after agricultural activities or events, such as visiting farms and the national park. Build in time to do a reflection after activities throughout the camp or agricultural event using guide book created (see recommendation 5).  This allows students to talk about what they have learned and ways they can take what they learned and show others at school or at home in their communities.  For example, after the farm tours, the youth leaders/teachers could lead discussion on what had gone on throughout the day.  Ask processing questions to get students thinking and reflecting on what they had done during the activity or event. Student leaders/teachers After the next agricultural event or camp where students partake in such activities like farm visits.

Exhibitions were then staged outside the main hall to showcase milestones and critical research information by the two organisations.

The first part of the conference was closed on Wednesday 12th December 2018 at 3:00p.m and the Minister of State in the Ministry of Gender in charge of Youth affairs, Ms. Nakiwala Kiyingi was the guest of honor at the closing ceremony. She encouraged the youth to take the learning back home and begin some projects that would enable them to learn how to make money and become self-reliant.

The evening of the day was crowned with a dinner that capitalized the day.

  1. Day 7

The Change Makers woke up very early and got ready for the trip to the national park that had a stopover at Mr. Nyombi Tembo’s Farm. He has a forest farm on over 700 acres and the participants walked some distance into the forest to their amusement. He was later to give a nice talk about planning for the future and his sense of humor kept the message alive. He hosted us to lunch in his compound and provided refreshments to the participants.

We then left and headed for Queen Elizabeth National Park and freshened up for the next day. We thank the management of UWA for giving us free entry to the park and for hosting us for the time we were there.

  1. Day 8

The excited Change Makers had a game drive around the park and managed to see elephants, antelopes, buffaloes and warthogs.

Then the group was split into two; with one experiencing a boat ride while the other visited the park museum. On return to the base, lunch was served and the return journey commenced. We arrived tired and just went to sleep.

  1. Day 9

The participants woke up early to park and pick a cup of tea ready to go home. Certificates were awarded to each individual after submission of their evaluation about the conference and departures followed.

The volunteers participated in some of the activities designed for the Youth during the National Park tour and identify opportunities for incorporating more learning areas in order to grow stronger advocates for Agricultural Education in the country.

  1. Progress with the objective

The trip was a long one. Students were engaged along the way as Madam Katie shared various geographic and geological pieces over the loud speakers and tied them to agricultural practices in the area. The group stopped at Camp George and listened as the former minister-Hon.Nyombi Thembo shared words of wisdom and his vision for the farm he is growing.

  1. Expected impact/results

Many students were impressed with the former minister’s story of starting with very little and now creating a plantation. In addition, the ties between geology and agriculture were appreciated. Reportedly, one student from Fort Portal is now requesting his parents take him to their home village so he can survey their land and look for ways to improve their banana crops.

  1. Recommendations
  • There needs to be more educational strategies implemented during the National Park tour. Time was compressed because of the schedule but valuable learning opportunities could be designed in the future.
  • Perhaps a conference guide-book/pamphlet/booklet could be created. I could contain guiding questions for the speakers/farmers they encounter throughout the camp, as well as information/data regarding the farms/park they visit. All of the prompts in the conference book should align to the educational standards students are expected to learn at the camp. Making those items more transparent to the students will increase their learning.
  • It would also benefit the students to have small group leaders. These leaders can assist with logistics of moving students from conference piece to conference piece, back on busses, getting up in the morning, getting meals. I imagine them something like the school prefects: older, mature, responsible students the others can look up to and can be trained to be student leaders among their peers.

Teachers and Educators agreed on action plan.

Recommendation Specific Action Responsible person By when
1. Continue seating the TEFFA Board of Directors. The Board will be instrumental in shaping the future of the organization and helping the newly elected officers follow through with their 3 charges. Determine who should serve on the board and then enlist representatives. Ronald Ddungu Spring 2019
2. Provide the opportunity for current YoFFA patrons to share how they formed their chapter at all future agriculture and professional trainings where teachers are present. Teachers love learning from other teachers who are successful. This is the best route for accelerating adoption of YoFFA in schools. Design a workshop to be conducted at all events where teachers will be present. Identify a facilitator. TEFFA leadership Gayaza Farm Camp 2019
3. The TEFFA Board of Directors maintain communications with Madam Kainemirembe and Mr. Ndagga in an effort to participate in their head teacher trainings. Ongoing TEFFA Board of Directors ongoing
4. The TEFFA leadership create tangible marketing materials to share the initiative with current and future stakeholders. Create tangible documents and even media items to be shared TEFFA leadership Spring 2019
5. TEFFA create competitive events to motivate students to learn agriculture Use the brainstorming work by the teachers as a starting point for creating identified events TEFFA leadership Gayaza Farm Camp 2019
6. Design a conference book and appoint student small group leaders for the next camp Create a conference guide book with questions and writing prompts centered around the intended learning objectives of the camp and what they can expect to see at the farms/park visited.

 

Design a way to appoint student small-group leaders in an effort to facilitate logistical pieces and hold students accountable for learning.

Farm Camp directors/teachers participating Next SMACK Farm Camp

 

Observations:

The conference was educative and more interactive since the participants were out in the field physically experiencing what they learn in class. Participation by the Change Makers was great and some of the observations included the following:

  • Discipline of participants.
  • Good feeding
  • Security
  • Conducive college environment.
  • Wi-Fi
  • Open learning and sharing.
  • Use of phones to engage the youth in agribusiness, which sparked critical thinking in those who attended

Challenges

  • Poor time management by the Change Makers
  • Limited Wi-Fi that frustrated real time updates
  • Littering of the environment
  • Mosquito plague
  • Minor cases of theft
  • Challenges face by media team:

Limited time to complete the proposed official platform since the team is composed of senior six candidates.

Device malfunction with slowed down the process if taking pictures.

Recommendations

Refining the blog to tell a complete story about the whole conference as the media team works on the official platform.

  • Launching the Change Makers Network to establish relationships between students and successful farmers.
  • Aggressiveness in time management.
  • Taking on the project to other schools.
  • Early preparations by the technical team to ensure smooth flow of activities.
  • Frequent checkups to curb theft completely.
  • Online Magazine for the Change Makers conference.
  • For the media team; financial assistance in procuring a new laptop and strong camera.

Vote of thanks

The organizing committee extends sincere appreciation to the attendees for their good conduct and cooperation, and so implores them to be regular participants in the annual event. We would also like to thank the management of St. Mary’s College Kisubi for accepting to host this conference and we hope it will grow into an annual event. We thank the teachers who were part of the organising team from the very start for the valuable contributions in terms of ideas and relevant information.

 

A chick for every student at St.Mary’s College Kisubi is the new thinking by the Old boys association-SMACKOBA. It will be exciting if every student was equipped with knowledge and skills required for poultry production. To be able to effectively do this, we need to engage the teachers and get them to actively participate in poultry production.

With these skills and practical engagement, the teachers will then be able to analyse the curriculum and break it down to integrate poultry farming activities.

Yesterday 23rd November 2018 will go down in the History of SMACK as the day we had our school poultry unit revived. We thank the Old boys and in particular Mr. Adubango Richard who has coordinated this donation. Our wish is that every student owns a bird that lays an egg for him daily to improve on the diet but also to sell and get pocket money. Getting the boys involved in the management practices is where our focus will be. The best approach to this is to contextualise the teaching and learning process using the poultry unit.

If the students visited the poultry unit then they should be allowed to carry out some practical activities such as; immunizing the birds, adding feeds to the troughs, picking the eggs, weighing the birds, record keeping and cleaning around the house among others. These activities would then be integrated by teachers in the learning process as they deliver the subject curriculum content. The English language teacher would be able to identify those who did not participate in any of the activities by asking them to write stories about the experience gained during the activities. The teacher of Mathematics could use the records showing the daily production of eggs in introducing the topic on matrices or use linear programming to plan for the delivery of the eggs to the market using a van and a lorry.

The truth is that the teachers will not integrate these farming principles within their curriculum areas unless they become the farmers themselves and experience all the chain of activities. Our focus should be on enabling the teachers go beyond their classrooms and get involved in entrepreneurship skilling. This will help us get the students to work within the various production areas as they cover their curriculum content. On the other hand, the students believe in their teachers and will remember better what their teachers asked them to do. So, if the teachers today are not asking their students to learn how to produce then in future these students will not be able to get involved in the production processes especially within the agricultural sector and yet Uganda is an agricultural country.

My question to you is “what should we do together to change the mindset of the teacher in Uganda and get them involved in Agribusiness as mentors of their students both at school and at home?”

What I did as a senior one student in 1985 at St.Mary’s College Kisubi is exactly what I have experienced today. The faces of the boys as they harvested Sukuma Wiki and Spinach to take to the dining room were beaming brightly with a lot of satisfaction. The Agricultural Club of SMACK is changing the taste of the food by adding a vegetable to the meals every Tuesday of the week. Monday evening is the time for the harvest and when I heard about this new experience I rushed to be the first to report about this story.

Some schools are way ahead of us in this but what is important is that SMACK is doing it now. The boys have been engaged and they are excited to be part of this learning process. We are then sure that in future we shall have the head of a home that is self-reliant and can support his home in providing pesticide free, good and nutritious food.

The teachers are also finding this garden a source of reliable supply of food that they can also access when it is fresh enhancing the nutrition within their homes. When the teachers have healthy families then they will find more time for their school duty and thus enhancing performance.

As a teacher of mathematics that saw the use of straight lines with strict measurements at the planting stage, I can now take the records from the garden and the corresponding revenue to teach many more topics such as; profit and loss, percentage change, statistics and probability, sets, matrices, quadratic equations, linear programming, locus and many others. The far I can go and only be limited by my imagination. In doing this my students will become great advocates of the agricultural sector and look further to increasing on the shelf life of the vegetables while developing the value chain. With the available technologies, research can be done by the youth and more knowledge acquired that will improve on our revenue earnings.

The seven amazing benefits of Sukuma Wiki:

You have probably eaten it all your life, but I bet you you’ll go for second helpings tonight when you realize just how good it actually is for you.

https://www.capitalfm.co.ke/lifestyle/2013/05/13/the-amazing-benefits-of-sukuma-wiki/

On a sad note we have failed to grow tomatoes on the SMACK hill and we need your support in determining the nature of the bacteria that is attacking our tomato plants and how to mitigate it.

Probably it is the first time they are seeing this!!!

Saturday 17th November,2018 was an amazing day when the Parents of St.Mary’s College Kisubi put on their gumboots and toured the School Farm. The day started with a huge shower but this did not stop the parents from walking through the various farm fields to take a baseline survey of the current situation and start to plan the redevelopment of the farm. The parents moved in groups depending on the time of arrival and I would like to thank the organising committee of the teachers and students for ensuring that each of the parents reached all the corners of the farm.

Starting at the Dairy section, the parents were introduced to the electrical chaff cutter which had just been repaired after years of breakdown. The parents were informed that there was need to buy a diesel engine operated chaff cutter for effectiveness and reduced cost. One of the parents inquired to know if there are solar powered chaff cutters and none of us had an answer to this.

https://www.alibaba.com/showroom/chaff-cutter-uganda.html

The Parents were later to visit the cattle barn that was under improvement to enable the cattle to have a rest place for the night so as to have more feeding time but also drop their waste in a common place. This waste will be collected to feed the bio-gas plant that is yet to be constructed, an offer given by one of the parents. One of the parents came with a technical person to evaluate the capacity of the farm to maintain a bio-gas plant and the team was convinced that we had enough waste from both the dairy and piggery section that can be harvested to feed the plant. We are happy that soon we shall have the construction of the bio-gas plant commencing and the students will be able to learn about alternative sources of energy but also use the bio slurry as an organic fertiliser in the crop fields. This will help us advance in climate smart agriculture approaches to farming a practice that the students can take back home. The parents were informed of the effort to restock the herd of the dairy animals and it was also mentioned that some two parents had already donated a high breed heifer each plus a goat.

In future the students are expected to use the Dairy unit as a study area and will be engaged in a number of activities including; Cleaning of the Parlour, Organization of the milking Parlour, Mixing of Dairy Meal for milking animals, putting silage and dairy meal in the feeding trough, Driving the milking cows to the milking Parlour, Milking the cows and proper milking methods plus studying good record keeping systems.

The parents later visited the Napier grass field that had been set up by the students. This field is almost 1.5 acres and will be used to improve on the nutrition of the cows and limit on the movement of the animals looking for what to eat. The Napier grass was one month old and would be ready three months later. The parents were informed that the field was set up with proper measurements and the activities related to the concepts taught within the mathematics classes. The parents were encouraged to allow the students to pass on what they learn at school to their communities because our citizens need to use scientific approaches to farming. This will be the guiding principle within the training programme in schools adopting the School Agricultural Education programme that we are developing.

https://thekebun.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/planting-napier-grass/

The parents also visited the piggery unit, vegetable gardens, banana gardens, bean field and the house that will accommodate the poultry unit. The parents were informed that the Old boys had promised to donate 2000 chicks and that they would like every student to own one-layer bird.

At the end of the tour the parents were briefed about the forth coming Changemaker Youth Agribusiness conference(7th-16th December 2018) at SMACK and encouraged to register not only their sons but also their daughters and other family friends. The parents carried out a  fundraising for Farm equipment needed at  the event and some paid the conference fee for their sons. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeB3RpUjEC0QXrpFbKLOMtgItEMX02oD96WLXRmpPeyEO6Gog/viewform

One of the Parents Mrs. Rebecca Azar shared her personal story on Agribusiness and introduced the parents to the growing of berries and in particular Strawberries. She indicated that everything is possible if we focus our mind to it. She mentioned that most people are not aware that straw berries can be grown for commercial purposes and yet they are a money-making crop. She donated a fruit to each of the participants and it was a refreshing taste after the long tour. She invited the parents to visit her farm and learn with her. We also thank her for accepting to host the youth for a learning session during the conference.

The parents thanked the school for having invited them to the tour because it was the beginning of a journey of learning together as parents at SMACK. They agreed to join a common Whats App group through which they can keep mobilising themselves for learning engagements.

The closing prayer was led by our former Head boy-Alendro Godwil who also moved a vote of thanks to the parents for having agreed to join the effort to redevelop the SMACK Farm.

 

 

On Saturday 3rd November 2018, St.Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK) hosted a team of experts from Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) who taught us how to plant beans through a scientific and systematic approach. These beans are High Iron Beans (HIB) that have been developed to support our nutrition. Beans can be grown for food and export but most importantly we must look at the varieties that can provide a number of nutritious elements including iron. Research by TAAT shows that 49% of Africans(420million) live in poverty,33% of African children live in chronic hunger and 40million children are stunted under the age of 5years as of today.
If we are to do something about such ugly statistics then we need to involve the youth in Agribusiness. When we get the educated and energetic youth in the production processes then we shall be able to increase the use of science in production and grow to feed our people but also export the excess for higher incomes. TAAT says that Uganda does not produce enough beans and we export the little produced leaving our families in abject poverty and hunger.
In our discussion with TAAT we agreed that we should engage schools to teach the children the bean production processes up to the top of the value chain.

As SMACK we are happy that TAAT agreed to come and set up a demonstration garden of HIB and train a team of students who will roll out this programme to the rest of the students and to other schools.

As usual my job is to learn along with the students and look out for the mathematical principles. I could clearly see; counting,number line, measurements,locus,probability and many other concepts being demonstrated through the planting process. The students involved went out to design a Flow Chart that the farmers can always follow to plant beans using a scientific approach. This flow chart can be a basis for developing a mobile app that can support farmers within the bean production value chain. So the bean gardens can be a learning tool from the early classes of primary to the late mathematics class at senior six. The language teachers can follow up with composition writing and poetry. The business classes would find alot of excitement within the production process. The nutrition class would then take us from graded to table in order to maximise on the nutrition aspects of the beans.The Fine Art teacher would generate interest among the students if they were to draw the bean garden with all the climbing plants. Biology classes would then draw their specimens from the bean gardens and crash them to test for food nutrients and other contents. Several other Chemistry experiments can be drawn from a sample of beans such as a test for proteins through search for nitrogen,hydrogen whose absence confirms that the beans have gone bad. Iam more than sure all the teachers in their respective subjects can find the bean seed/plant a great learning tool. The challenge is that we the teachers have not been trained to use the environment with its local materials as learning tools. I am one of those who believes that the agricultural context is very rich of teaching content and needs to prioritized if we need to redirect our development.

If this argument is acceptable and we get every school to grow up to one acre of High Iron beans and use the garden as a learning tool then the students will learn from school and replicate this at home. UNEB reported that 336,740 students were to sit the 2018 Ordinary level examinations and if these had been nurtured well through the various subjects to know the value agriculture can bring to their lives,then we could be sure of their support to the farmers back in their districts. If just 50% of these acted and each supported the growing of one acre of beans then we would have 168,370 acres grown following the right agronomy practices. Research shows that if the right practices are used then the yield is about 450-600kg per acre ( https://www.monitor.co.ug/Magazines/Farming/How-start-that-lucrative-beans-farming/689860-4557934-x687dkz/index.html ).

Dr. Stanley Nkalubo the head of the bean programme at the National Crop Resources Research Institute confirmed to us that his team was willing to support the setting up of bean gardens in schools so as to teach the youth about the business within the bean value chain.

Taking an average of 500kg per acre x 168,370 acres gives us a total yield of 84,185,000kg. Each home that produces 500kg would earn Sh. 500x 2500= 1,250,000. If the students’ clubs earn this amount of money at school and use it to improve on their business activities as a group then they will grow their entrepreneurship skills. On the other hand if the students feed on the food they have grown by themselves then we shall be sure that their families and those of the neighbours would be food secure in future.This is the very reason why we the teachers need to relate what we teach to the real world issues and allow the students practice what is expected of them in future. In doing this schools shall be working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals no: 1-No poverty, 2- Zero Hunger, 3- Good Health, 4-Quality Education,5- Gender Equality, 8- Good jobs and Economic Growth and many others.

 

Uganda like many other countries in Africa needs a more entrepreneurial culture to reduce on the levels of unemployment among its citizenry. The role of schools and universities in fostering an entrepreneurial mindset among young people, and in making the relevant skills available, has been emphasised in many educational fora but not adopted readily by educational institutions. Agribusiness is a fertile ground for application of many of the concepts taught within the school curriculum. It is critical that the teachers are trained and involved in Agribusiness in order to be innovative and creative and use this context for learning. Uganda is an agricultural country and the scientific approach to agriculture and following the value chain will be our progress to development.

While planting Napier grass to improve on the nutrition of the Dairy cattle at St.Mary’s College Kisubi, we set out to identify the application of the mathematical concepts we teach in class as we carried out the several farming activities. At the end of the activities,the Senior Five Mathematics Class that is learning about Flow Charts and their application in designing computer programs summarised the steps followed as shown in the chart below. These steps can be a start in developing a mobile application that can support farmers in planting Napier grass. This is our hope that when the youth are involved then they will discover the challenges faced by our farmers and find relevant solutions to these challenges including use of the available technologies.

We had to follow strict measuring rules while setting up parallel lines using the concepts taught in the topic on “Locus” and planting at intervals of same spacing.

It was clear that the garden had been set up using a scientific approach that was necessary for good yields. However, we also learnt that planting the seed pieces with two nodes covered with soil and one node standing out was the method used by our forefathers. For more information go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-0gIwubx1I We then planted another area with all the seed pieces covered with soil and flat in the hole using the approach used for planting cassava. Now this is our research project to see the difference in growth and whether to drop the old techniques with reasons. We are hopeful that in a 3-4 months time we shall be harvesting the grass at 1m high and the boys will learn how to chop it to feed the animals. We are collecting data on milk production at our farm and then track the improvement with the enhanced feeding programme that we shall have developed.

On Friday 10th August,2018 we held the last of a series of three innovative teachers’ workshops with the aim of introducing teachers to Project based and technology enhanced learning. This workshop was held at Makerere College School-main campus, a centre that has produced many IT accomplished men and women in Uganda. Notable among the participants was Mr.Beronda James from the Uganda Communications Commission(UCC) and Mr. Kasana Isaac from the Research and Education Network Uganda (RENU) who restated their willingness to support schools in the bid to collaborate taking advantage of the available technologies. The workshop was attended by over 40 teachers from a number of schools as far as Zombo District. At this workshop the participants agreed to collaborate and we confirmed our willingness to form the Innovative Teachers Platform (ITP) which will act as a vehicle towards skilling teachers and encouraging them to make learning meaningful to their students and keep collaborating with each as teachers from the different schools in Uganda.

In the first activity, we explored the use of intelligent and computer assisted assessment exercises that can be used to enhance revision of different curriculum areas. The teachers worked through some set exercises and later on were trained on designing such exercises. It was exciting to learn that we could make the interface of the exercises colour friendly for the amusement of our students. The teachers were encouraged to choose the best colour mixes as they developed their practice tests and were later to compete in selecting the best colour mix. This was the first example of using Technology in enhancing learning within our classrooms.

Mr. Ddungu Ronald, Deputy Headteacher St. Mary’s College Kisubi who was the chief convener of the workshop and a facilitator encouraged the participants to adopt these set of exercises in their schools.

Recommendation 1: The participants agreed that this was a necessary step to take by the schools and introduce the self-marking intelligent questions so as to increase on the excitement of the youth towards assessment and revision work. It was agreed that the exercises developed in one school can be shared with other teachers across other schools over a common library platform which ultimately becomes a library for all the schools. An examination like Chemistry Paper one at O’level which is fully made up of objective questions can be developed as a self-evaluation examination. This would lift the burden of marking off the chemistry teachers and allow for immediate feedback for the students. The participants proposed that the Uganda National Examinations Board(UNEB) studies this proposal and finds ways and means of implementing this self-evaluation exercise as an examination tool.

The participants were then invited to learn more about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) against which all classroom-based projects need to be anchored for relevancy. The participants took a test in understanding the SDGs designed as a computer evaluated exercise. It was exciting having a discussion over a possible classroom exercise which showed the value such tests add to the teaching and learning process. The teachers were encouraged to design their class-based projects anchored within the framework of SDGs.

The participants were also introduced to creation of teaching videos that can be filmed as presentations made by teachers as well as students. They watched two videos; the first was a Biology video showing dissection of a toad made by students from Gayaza High School in 2013 and posted on YouTube. This video had been viewed since then by several students and teachers from schools across the country and continues to be viewed. The second video was created by students from St. Mary’s College Kisubi to teach Probability, a curriculum area in the Mathematics A-level syllabus. This was still work in progress since it was a class project done in July 2018.The participants agreed that a video made by students in one school and used for learning in another school would enhance learning and this would draw a lot of encouragement for the students in the receiving school to also create other videos.

Recommendation 2: The participants found filming lessons as a worthwhile venture for our schools and agreed to encourage content development by recording presentations of very brilliant students and senior teachers. These records would be in different forms including; documents, podcasts and videos.

Mr. Nyika Edward presented to the participants the Gayaza High School e-learning platform (http://etutoring.gayazahs.sc.ug/) where one could find a number of exercises and notes shared by the teachers. This platform has a link to the YouTube channel of the school(https://www.youtube.com/user/gayazahighschool) where the student-made videos are stored and used as learning tools in several subjects.

Recommendation 3: The participants agreed to form a general eLearning platform to which many schools would contribute teaching and learning materials created by both the teachers and students. Each school would have a space on the platform and the users would have a variety of schools to learn from.

Presentation of case studies showing implementation of a Project Based Learning activity

Mr. Niyirinda Theode shared some of the projects done at Gayaza High School emphasizing team work and open classrooms. He singled out a statistics lesson carried out from the farm where the students were required to collect data on the circumference of banana plants. The data would then be taken to class and manipulated in a frequency table and calculate items like mean, mode and median. The different groups would then present their findings which activity enhances confidence and communication skills. He also presented a project on Water crisis done within the Level Up Village, a global organisation where the students linked up with students from other parts of the world. The students learnt about the global water crisis and also visited a nearby water well to see the water crisis within their community.

Mrs. Christine Ddumba shared about her experience as a teacher in charge of debate at Mengo Senior School. She had taken on this role as a new teacher and kept learning from her students going forward. Her journey had taken her upto the world debate championships in Germany and later on in the Almao Debate Championships in Johannesburg invited by the friends they made while in Germany. She was later to work with other teachers in Uganda in organising an African Debate Championship (ADC) that was supported by the Minister of Education. They marketed the event on social media and held a successful event in Uganda with the support of many local partners like banks and now look beyond to have the second event in South Africa. It was proposed that such debates can be held online and across the wider global region.

Mrs.Tracy Julie Lubega presented a project code named “Garbage to Gold”. She indicated that the project was done by an S.2 English language class that has a curriculum passage on environment which they usually read in class and discuss about the challenges of garbage. This time round she divided the class into groups to discuss what useful product they could get from the rubbish that is thrown about. The groups were required to write down the step by step process of picking up the bottles and designing new items such as; a pencil case, collection bucket and  shoe rack. This was a clear case of using a project when delivering the required curriculum area that allows the students to go beyond the usual rote learning that goes on in our classes.

Mr. Joel Bato presented the Gayaza Techno Centre (GTC) studios that presents school news at assembly. The students go through the planning stage and go on to shoot the videos showing particular news. He mentioned that he is a facilitator in the process and the girls go through the pre-production, production and post production stages taking charge of each learning by themselves. The students are divided into groups and some do the research using the internet and the teacher monitors their work online not to waste time in unwanted news.

Recommendation 4: The participants agreed that it was a worthwhile struggle to get the youth skilled in using the available ICTs so that they grow up as not only users but also creators. It was agreed that there was need to encourage the Headteachers to provide the right ICT infrastructure in schools and to train their teachers in making use of the technologies to improve the teaching and learning processes. It was also noted that the best students can be used to carry out advocacy presentations to teachers as this would then be an effective approach leading to acceptability.

The Global Teacher Prize:

Ronald Ddungu introduced the participants to the Global Teacher Prize which is a one million dollars competition that has been staked by Mr. Sunny Varkey of the Varkey foundation. Ronald played a video showing Sunny pledging to recognise the best teacher in the world with the award and later on encouraged the participants to write about their stories at www.globalteacherprize.org . He noted that he had been among the 50 finalists of this award in 2015 and another Ugandan teacher, Catherine Nakabugo was also in the top 50 finalists in 2018. So, this was an encouragement to the next teacher since two people in Uganda were ready to mentor anyone ready for the challenge.

Recommendation 5: Mr. Ddungu requested the participants who had worked on projects to apply for the award and encouraged those who were to start to keep their information well documented. He promised to follow up everyone and make sure that they tell their stories to the world and become part of the global movement of the innovative and creative teachers.

Presentation by a representative from Uganda Communications Commission(UCC)

Mr. James Beronda from Rural Communications Development Fund(RCDF) at UCC that is charged with equipping schools with ICT infrastructure was invited to speak to the teachers. He thanked Mr. Ddungu Ronald for keeping the fire burning as far as mentorship of teachers in using ICTs is concerned. He mentioned that RCDF is a rural communications development fund that works with the unserved and underserved who are mainly in the rural areas but also within the city. He did mention that many schools received computers in the first phase of provision but the managers of schools did not look after the equipment well and always came back to RCDF for maintenance. He urged schools to always personalize this ICT equipment donated by partners. He mentioned that in the next phase of approach, RCDF will provide high speed internet to schools of 5mbps that are ready to support the development of their communities. He also mentioned that content creation in schools is the next step and the sharing of teaching and learning materials across schools to support equalization of schools is a big buy in for UCC. He did mention that RCDF is currently creating ICT clubs in schools to help with building the advocacy needed and the support systems in schools. He emphasized that there was a need to bring the urban schools in contact with the rural schools such that classes are brought together online to share the learning environment. He mentioned that his vision was to have a seminar conducted across schools over a good connectivity provided by UCC. However, the selection of the schools would depend on the ability of the management of the school to build a budget for the sustainability of this service going forward. He advised that if RCDF provided 100% connectivity in the first year, then 75% and 50% in the third year just to allow for that buildup of budgets. He indicated that he would be very happy to see teachers creating content from their schools and sharing together as a team and promised that there was a budget of Sh.1.2 billion to see this happen. He wished that the schools sitting at the workshop would agree to collaborate and make this possible. Later on, in the discussion Mr. Beronda promised to offer Makerere College School internet connectivity of 5mbps to enable their both campuses to talk to each other without having the teachers and students moving from one campus to the other.

Presentation by the C.E.O of Research and Education Network for Uganda – RENU.

Mr. Isaac Kasana, the Chief Executive Officer-RENU thanked the teachers for the work they do and mentioned that his father was also a teacher. RENU was founded by tertiary institutions in 2006 and came to proper work in 2014. Today the concern of RENU is about research and education that covers schools too. One of their greatest achievement realised by RENU is provision of very low cost internet. He mentioned that their support for schools is to bring students to the university who are already well grounded in ICT skills for this would then guarantee quick achievement while at the university. He commended the vision extended within the workshop of using Project based learning and technology enhanced classrooms which can be shared with rural schools taking advantage of the available internet solution provided by RENU. He emphasized that when two institutions are connected by the RENU platform then the sharing across these institutions would be possible upto 1GB free of service. He also noted that RENU supports collaboration and training to make this possible to its members.

Mr.Mulumba Mathias, a member of the National Curriculum Development Center(NCDC) who was in attendance also emphasized the use of technology for the development of our education system. He was later to promote the sale of a laptop that comes with all the curriculum notes and reading materials for all classes.

Lastly, Mr. Ddungu introduced the participants to the International Education and Resource Network of teachers-iEARN network (www.iearn.org ). He did mention that this network would help the teachers in Uganda to learn more about PBL but also interact and learn together with other teachers across the world. He invited the teachers who had attended the 2018 iEARN conference to share their experiences and learning derived from the conference.

Mrs. Sylvia Kwarikunda presented on behalf of the other members and informed the participants that the conference was held from 8th -13th July in Winchester, Virginia USA. The Ugandan delegates included 4 teachers from Gayaza High School with 13 students, 4 teachers from Mengo Senior School with 2 students and 1 teacher from St. Mary’s College Kisubi. The conference brought together teachers and students from across the world to share and show case their class-based projects. The conference participants were eager to collaborate with international partners such that we all learn with the world and not only about the world.

After wards, Mr. Niyirinda theode presented the opportunity of joining the learning circles provided by iEARN-USA as a professional development strategy such that we get the Ugandan teachers trained in using projects within our classes with certification( https://iearn.org/collaboration).

Recommendation 6: It was resolved that further training of teachers in using projects and technology in the teaching and learning process be planned for taking advantage of the iEARN network.

In her closing remarks, the Deputy Headmistress of Makerere College School, Mrs. Robinah Kizito thanked the organisers for choosing her school though at a late hour and requested to be forgiven for anything that did not go down well.

The workshop was closed with a word of prayer and later on the participants were invited to lunch. We thank Makerere College School administration for the gesture of willingness to host teacher professional development workshops and hope to keep the collaboration open.

Sunday 5th August 2018 was a memorable day when we held an innovative teachers workshop with the aim of introducing teachers to Project based and technology enhanced learning. This workshop was held at Nabisunsa Girls Secondary School, one of the high performing girls school in Uganda. Notable among the participants was the Headmistress of the school together with a number of her teachers. At this workshop we agreed to form the Innovative Teachers Platform which will act as a vehicle towards skilling teachers and encouraging them to make learning meaningful to their students and keep collaborating with each as teachers from the different schools in Uganda.

OBJECTIVES:

  • (a) To introduce the teachers and Head teachers to Project based and technology enhanced learning.
  • (b) To make proposals for possible partnerships across schools.
  • ACTIVITIES:
  • (i) Enable teachers share their classroom projects as case studies
  • (ii ) Facilitate participants to propose possible classroom projects
  • (iii) Introduce the participants to the Global Teacher Award- https://www.globalteacherprize.org
  • (iv ) Introduce the participants to teacher networks for professional development – iEARN (iearn.org)
  • (v) Propose a way forward

The participants started by introducing themselves and indeed we had a variety of experts from the various subject groupings. After the introductions, Mr. Ayub Kalema the coordinator of the workshop at Nabisunsa Girls S.S took us on a virtual tour of the school making use of a video shot using a drone. This was exciting locating the very place of the workshop as the video showed the different places and buildings of the school.

In her opening remarks, the Headmistress of Nabisunsa Girls Secondary School re-emphasized the need to take advantage of the available technologies in order to make the teaching and learning process more engaging and interesting to both the teacher and students. She stressed the need to work collaboratively as schools because we are all preparing the same child for Uganda. She thanked the participants for sparing time to attend the workshop in order to learn from each other and share together.

The workshop started with the teachers attempting to do a set of intelligent exercises that are set using a software that allows the exercise to be marked as the student attempts the test. This was fascinating to the teachers because it would allow the students to do several exercises as practice questions. This was the first example of using Technology in enhancing learning within our classrooms.

Mr. Ddungu who was the chief convener of the workshop and a facilitator showed the participants the worthiness of such a program and encouraged them to adopt this in their schools.

Recommendation 1: The participants agreed that this was a necessary step to take by the schools and introduce the self-marking intelligent questions so as to increase on the excitement of the youth towards assessment and revision work. It was agreed that the exercises developed in one school can be shared with other teachers across other schools over a common library platform which ultimately becomes a library for all the schools. An examination like Chemistry Paper one at o’level which is fully made up of objective questions can be developed as a self-evaluation examination. This would lift the burden of marking off the chemistry teachers and allow for immediate feedback for the students. The participants proposed that the Uganda National Examinations Board(UNEB) studies this proposal and finds ways and means of implementing this self-evaluation exercise as an examination tool.

The participants were also introduced to creation of teaching videos that can be made by teachers as well as students. The participants watched a video created by students from St.Mary’s College Kisubi to teach Probability, a curriculum area in the Mathematics A-level syllabus. The participants agreed that a video made by students in one school and used for learning in another school would enhance learning and this would draw a lot of encouragement for the students in the receiving school to also create other videos.

Recommendation 2: The participants found this as a worthwhile venture for our schools and agreed to encourage content development by recording presentations of very brilliant students and senior teachers. These records would be in different forms including; documents, podcasts and videos.

The participants were later on introduced to Project Based Learning(PBL) an approach where students are allowed to plan, implement and evaluate a class-based project through which they would be learning the required curriculum objectives. This approach to learning attempts to enable students to solve real life challenges while learning the related curriculum areas. This is the desired way of learning if our schools are to influence development within the communities the youth originate from.

Presentation of case studies showing implementation of a Project Based Learning activity

Mr. Ddungu Ronald who was recently transferred from Gayaza High School to St.Mary’s College Kisubi shared about a mathematics project where the S.5 girls at Gayaza High School set out to train peer teachers who were to support the teaching and learning of mathematics in the school. The peer teachers were students from the Senior Five Mathematics class who were committed to supporting the students in the O’level classes to improve and do better at their mathematics. This approach was to be piloted in mathematics education at the start and then extended to other subjects in the future. The first activity was to organise a mathematics contest for S.1 & 2 which was successfully done and the project extended to Ndejje.S.S.S, then to Busoga College Mwiri, Mary Hill High School and later on to St.Mary’s College Kisubi. Today the mathematics contest is being digitized as an intelligent exercise marked by a computer and will be open to all schools that can access the collaborative platform to reinforce the development of the much-needed computer skills for the youth today. The participants were encouraged to follow the project from https://mathinc277141407.wordpress.com/blog/

Mr. Milton Chebet a Biology and Physical Education teacher at Gayaza High School shared about how he uses technology in teaching Biology. He talked about using blogs where a teacher in one school can post lesson notes and past papers that can be viewed by teachers from other schools. He shared about his personal blog at www.cmbiologynotes.wordpress.com . He further talked about the school designing a general platform where all the teachers post their teaching materials using the example created by Gayaza High School  http://etutoring.gayazahs.sc.ug/. He encouraged the participants to look at the google classroom space and Edmodo.com platform that can support shared classrooms. He further introduced the teachers to using a game-based learning platform found at www.kahoot.com and invited the participants to play a game on “know your country”.

Recommendation 3: The teachers enjoyed the game and agreed that using such games in learning would greatly improve on the attitude of the students and motivate them to learn the curriculum areas considered difficult such as those in science subjects.

We were later to be treated to the stories of using technology shared by students from Nabisunsa Girls Secondary School currently in senior six. The first student talked about developing of Mobile Applications and specifically their team project was about marketing the traditional clothing. She walked the teachers through the use of the MIT App inventor platform at http://ai2.appinventor.mit.edu/. She hoped that after her final examinations due in November 2018 her team will complete their project and launch it for the market.

The second student presented about website design and talked about her website that is set to market business products for the low-income earners. The third student shared about her blog where she shares about her life stories.

Recommendation 4: The participants agreed that it was a worthwhile struggle to get the youth skilled in using the available ICTs so that they grow up as not only users but also creators. It was agreed that there was need to encourage the Headteachers to provide the right ICT infrastructure in schools and to train their teachers in making use of the technologies to improve the teaching and learning processes. It was also noted that the best students can be used to carry out advocacy presentations to teachers as this would then be an effective approach leading to acceptability.

After the students’ presentations, Mr. Ayub Kalema one of the coordinators for the workshop presented a project on waste management drawn from a topic in the Geography curriculum at senior two and carried out by students in Mengo Senior School which was his former station. The students had keenly looked at the waste management policies in the school and found that the students were in the habit of poor rubbish disposal especially in areas that were hidden from the face of the school. They had taken off time to interview the support staff that cleans the compound and they were unhappy with the way the students conduct them selves littering the school compound. The team planned to do a campaign at assembly but Mr.Kalema left before this would be actualized.

Recommendation 5: The participants were excited to hear how a teacher working with a class can evaluate policies of a school and provide feedback about the desired improvement of the gaps within the system. It was agreed that the teachers needed proper training in design and management of classroom projects so as to empower them to change the method of teaching and engage with Project Based Learning(PBL).

The participants were then invited to learn more about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) against which all classroom-based projects need to be anchored for relevancy. The teachers were encouraged to design a project anchored within a particular SDG to be taught through several curriculum subjects and share it with the whole group. This was taken as homework since there was no time to complete the activity within the workshop time.

http://www.ug.undp.org/content/uganda/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html

We had a visiting speaker on skype all the way from Russia, a Ugandan teacher working on the area of extra abilities for those with disabilities. Mrs. Rwabu Elizabeth is a geography teacher who got interested in working with students with disabilities while teaching at Iganga S.S. She shared her story about a project she started of teaching disadvantaged students how to use a computer and has continued to find better opportunities for such students in the world of technology. Today she is visiting in Russia on a project that is focusing on the extra abilities of individuals despite their physical inabilities. We also had chance to listen in to one of her hosts who described to us the amount of work they were doing in the area of supporting the disadvantaged people to live a good life. Mr. Ddungu then invited Elizabeth to share her story and compete for the Global Teacher Prize that recognises educators who teach with passion and purpose and reward them with One million dollars- www.globalteacherprize.org

Later on, Mr. Ddungu formerly introduced the participants to the global teacher award through a video that gave the background to the award in the real words of Mr. Varkey Sunny, the man who has staked this money.

Recommendation 6: Mr. Ddungu requested the participants who had worked on projects for long to apply for the award and encouraged those who were to start to arrange their products in order and keep the information well documented. He promised to follow up everyone and make sure that they tell their stories to the world and become part of the global movement of the innovative and creative teachers.

We then broke off for lunch which was prepared by Nabisunsa Girls Secondary School to the amazement of the participants who had come ready to pay.

After a refreshing lunch, we resumed the afternoon session with a presentation from Mr.Mulumba Mathias, A member of the National Curriculum Development Center(NCDC) who emphasized the use of technology for the development of our education system. He was later to promote the sale of a laptop that comes with all the curriculum notes and reading materials for all classes.

After this Mr. Chole Richard from PMM girls in Jinja had chance to share his journey using project-based learning to teach English Language. He presented a project on Water melon juice making process and show cased how a teacher of English language can teach speech as the students market their produce and talk about the medical value of the fruit juice. This was interesting seeing how a teacher crosses fields into another subject using students. He further presented a science project on dissection of a frog and mentioned that he missed doing sciences but he was now interacting with the subject through projects.

Recommendation 7: The participants agreed that project-based learning will bring about the desired collaboration across departments and will allow for the integration of concepts such that our education system becomes more meaningful. It was recommended that schools advocate for integrated projects that bring about many subject teachers working together on a given task.

Lastly, Mr. Ddungu introduced the participants to the International Education and Resource Network of teachers-iEARN network (www.iearn.org ). He did mention that this network would help the teachers in Uganda to learn more about PBL but also interact and learn together with other teachers across the world. He mentioned of a looming project in Nabisunsa where a group of students were looking after a kitten and needed support from the teachers. A video of the students was screened and the participants listened to the students stating the reason why they are taking care of the kitten.  He encouraged the head of department-English language to follow up with this group and the Headmistress also accepted to join in. This could be an interesting project through which some students can easily become veterinary doctors to look after the many cats, dogs and animals in the country.

Recommendation 8: It was resolved that further training of teachers in using projects and technology in the teaching and learning process be planned for taking advantage of the iEARN network.

In her closing remarks, the Headmistress mentioned that the students who had presented earlier on were rewarded with Sh.30,000 from the Head teacher of St. Michael High School and invited them to receive their award. This award was boosted by other participants to Sh.90,000 which was in appreciation for their presentations. The girls were thankful for the offer and promised to keep working hard on their projects. The Headmistress thanked the participants and trainers for choosing Nabisunsa Girls Secondary School and promised to support her teachers to realise the goal of using projects based and technology enhanced learning as a methodology of teaching. Mr. Kalema the coordinator of the training at the school also thanked the Headmistress for supporting the organisation of the workshop and for providing a free lunch to the participants.

The workshop ended with a tour of the students’ computer laboratories and we were excited seeing the new laboratory and its design. These were designs worth borrowing by other schools who are in the process of improving on their ICT infrastructure.

On our way back, we met the girls pioneering the kitten project and the participants together with the Headmistress were thrown away by the interest and the passion the girls had for looking after the kitten.

Setting out the student banana garden at SMACK-28/7/2018Weighing a student’s bunch for costing purposes.

I am made to understand that Bananas originated from South East Asia (China). They have been grown by man longer that other crops in Uganda and are commonly grown in Buganda, Ankole, Toro and many other parts of the country.

Research shows that the banana industry is an important part of the global industrial agribusiness.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_industry

Importance of bananas.

The fruit can be steamed or boiled when fresh and eaten in accompaniment by any sauce.

  • Fruits can also be cooked mixed with beans, peas or crushed ground nuts (crushed) and then eaten.
  • The fruit can be dried, pounded into flour that can be mingled into Ugali and eaten or the flour can be used in bakeries to make biscuits and cakes.
  • The fruits of dessert banana are eaten raw when ripe (e.g Bogoya,Sukari-Ndizi), or are roasted e.g Gonja.
  • Some varieties are first ripened and then squeezed to produce juice which is drunk when still fresh or fermented to produce local beer (Tonto) and wine e.g. Banapo wine. The local beer gives waragi when distilled.
  • After harvesting and peeling, the remains can serve as livestock feed and mulching materials.
  • Dry banana fibers can be used as materials for thatching house and making a variety of handcrafts such as ropes, baskets, carpets, mats and bags.

Some of the countries that grow bananas in the world are listed in the table below and the production in Uganda is rated very low and yet we can compete favourably due to the good climate we enjoy.

2016 Production
millions of tonnes
Country Bananas Plantains Total
 India 29.1   29.1
 China 13.1   13.1
 Philippines 5.8 3.1 8.9
 Ecuador 6.5 0.6 7.1
 Indonesia 7.0   7.0
 Brazil 6.8   6.8
 Colombia 2.0 3.5 5.5
 Cameroon 1.2 4.3 5.5
 Uganda 0.6 3.7 4.3
 Ghana 0.09 4.0 4.1
 Guatemala 3.8 0.3 4.1
World 113.3 35.1 148.4

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_industry

The low production in Uganda is a consequence of so many issues including the poor attitude towards agriculture by the youth. Agriculture has been left to the ageing population who are the minority and feed the rest of the majority. So, most of the food produced is consumed locally and very little is left for export. Since the youth are the majority within Uganda, we need to interest them in agribusiness as a solution towards; poverty, food insecurity and poor health.

Harvesting from a personal plant

Schools are well suited to grow love for agribusiness among the youth since they spend more time at school during their golden ages. However, in the past agriculture in schools has been viewed as a punishment which further deters the students from engaging in it. This state of affairs in schools needs to change and we propose that agribusiness comes to the centre of the teaching and learning process.

Many of the curriculum concepts can be taught from a school farm and if this happens then we shall see a love for agriculture initiated and grown over the years. The students need to learn how to produce in the different agribusiness units, market their produce, sell in the public market and to the school’s dining room. It is also recommended that the production be done in groups or companies and the students should earn from their sweat. This will lead us to the principle of “Learn as you Earn”.

Pay day -Earning as you Learn Ready to go to the market

I am a teacher of mathematics and the scientific approaches to growing bananas require the farmer to follow some mathematical concepts. This gives us an opportunity as teachers to apply what we teach in real life situations and carry out such control experiments that show the consequences of not following the science involved in farming. The students can then take their research findings back home and support the development of our communities which would then show the relevance of our schools to the public.

Early stage mathematics( 6-12 YEARS):

The concepts of straight lines can be taught when setting out the banana garden, measuring distances apart and how deep the planting hole should be. These measurements are estimates which must follow some pattern developed by the farmer. The topics on perimeter, area, volume, shapes can all be taught while we work in the farm to plant the suckers. Then the rate of growth can be calculated over time and data collected for the study of statistics and probability in future.

Middle school mathematics(13-15):

The garden that is established with the mathematical principles becomes easy to manage since orderliness facilitates growth. The topic on locus allows us to dig a manure pit that is equidistant from each of the four plants seen in an area and this is where the roots will be drawn to feed. The irrigation tap will be placed at a good point such that it can throw the water through a radius as may be determined by the farmer.

Then through Linear programming the class can determine all the constraints of the business and plan better on how to invest the available resources for maximum output. As the garden continues to grow we start to teach position of each plant on the x-y plane. This even works better if each class member was responsible for a particular plant so they can now get a coordinate for their plant’s position.  This enhances interest and commitment to the garden. Then we describe how one can move from one corner to the other through vector geometry. By the end of one year our plants will be fruiting and marketing sets in. So, measurements and calculations of the weight of a bunch of bananas and the total amount produced become possible and exciting. The discussion of the market price and the school price sets in percentage measurements where the profit margin becomes the driving issue. Three-dimensional geometry can be thought about when starting to construct a storage area which would need a drier if one was to look at exporting the produce.

High School (16-18 YEARS):

Statistics taught at this level could become a live to the students because of the available learning space in the garden. The students collect data on anything within the garden as may be deemed fit by the teacher such as the “circumference of the banana stem”. Then comparisons of these diameters as one moves through the garden are calculated and the interpretation made. Sampling can then be taught and students told when it is very necessary and how the science relates to research within other fields. When going to the market, it is important that the farmer uses Linear interpolation or Extrapolation to calculate the expected price for each bunch so as not to fall prey to the cheats at the market.

By this time, the student is so experienced in banana growing and most likely has his/her own banana plantation at home and earning from it. If the production at school is done as a project and the students are writing reports and sharing them through a blog, then most likely they will inspire other schools across the world and begin to share their experiences through skype and other online platforms. The Ugandan students will now be linked to other students and together grow a global mind with a clear focus on forming partnerships that go beyond borders. The teachers in the two different parts of the world will work collaboratively to develop common class activities. Before we know it, some youth will be exporting their produce which is imported by their classroom friend in some of the more developed countries. The students will begin to talk about value addition which would be a learning opportunity for both parties. Thus the computer studies teacher needs to support the teachers to teach innovatively as well as supporting the media team in this respect.

It is against this background that I advocate for opening up of the school farms and training teachers in service and those in pre-service to learn how to produce and also how to teach their curriculum areas through the school gardens. In other parts of Uganda, the bananas can be replaced by any staple food and the same principles apply.

I hope we shall find all the support we need to change the status quo of education in Uganda and make it more applicable to the common man’s need.

VARIETIES OF BANANAS.

The varieties of edible type of banana are grouped into four, basing on processing before consumption as shown below.

  1. Cooking varieties examples Kivuvu, Nakabululu, Nakitembe, Nfuuka, Musakala, Mpologoma etc.
  2. Roasting varieties example Gonja.
  3. Dessert varieties e.g Sukari-Ndizi, Bogoya.

4. Brewing varieties e.g Kisubi, Kayinja, Mbidde, Kivuvu