Archive for November, 2017

It was a lovely evening today 25th November 2017 when we witnessed another three heifers being awarded to Iganga girls school, Tororo girls and Muyenga High School by Gayaza High School. These were the winners of the 2017 Farm Camp Schools’ competition. So far, we have given out nine heifers since 2015.

The beneficiaries are expected to give out the first heifer that will be produced by the animal received to another school within their district that they will be mentoring into Dairy farming. If this goes on well we project that many schools will soon start their own dairy school farms.  Seeing the students delivering short training sessions to the parents on how to feed the animals and their management, one wonders whether if we continue teaching from the four walled rooms and use the chalk and talk method we shall ever produce the right citizens to steer the development of our agricultural country forward.

The School Dairy Farms will enable the students to learn how to manage the animals from feeding to milking and go as far as producing milk products such as yoghurt and cheese through value addition training. This would then be an opportunity for students to specialize at different points along the value chain depending on their interest. Some of the students would engage in the growing of maize or Napier grass and preparing silage that they can sell to the farmers as a reliable feed during the dry seasons or to support zero grazing. While others might get more concerned about feeding the animals and the milking process which involves management of milk. Another group of students might decide to focus on the value addition processes and how to park and brand the products. Then the final team could specifically look at market surveys and how to use technology in growing the business.

All these skills can be gained in Schools through subjects like;

  • Agriculture where one learns the basics of growing crops and the maintenance of the gardens, followed by Biology that teaches about germination, Chemistry that would consider composition and production of natural fertilisers, Physics that would lead the students into irrigation using the gradient method and taking advantage of the concept of pressure in liquids. These are subjects that would quickly bring the students into contact with the Biogas plant and learn how green energy is produced as well as the use of Bio-slurry as manure that promotes organic farming. We cannot forget Geography that tells about the weather forecast and helps us to calculate the rain distribution over the region in which we live. At Gayaza High School, we have set up a weather station that will give us ready information about weather patterns supported by Earth Networks.
  • Mathematics where students can be introduced to measurements by setting up a garden and laying rows and columns for seeding. The parallel lines and concepts of equidistant from given points are referenced within the topic on Locus. Then portions of the garden can be mapped out using the concepts of fractions and yields are estimated. This provides an opportunity to teach the Set theory concepts that lead into probability as far as conditional probability. As we discuss the likelihood of growth of the seed into a plant, then the teacher will find an opportunity to introduce Probability distributions as far as the special cases of Binomial and Normal distributions. Each student can be given a few plants attached to his or her name using the coordinate system and a garden can be drawn to scale within the classroom using graph books. Then the students can collect data about the heights of the plants periodically in order to establish the rate of growth. Some portions of the land can be manured differently such that the students can investigate the capacity and performance of a particular manure produced naturally at the farm. If a variety of crops are grown and at harvest they are ensiled, parked and are to be taken to the warehouse or direct to the market, then the concepts of Linear programming, Moving averages and Price Indices can be taught practically. We can also teach proportions when we get to mixing feeds for the animals and looking at the milk yields. The records at the farm would then support the classroom teaching in topics like statistics and correlation. Mathematics lends itself widely to the area of Agriculture and the imagination can only be determined by the teacher.
  • English language and literature will teach the students about report writing, creation of compositions, poetry which can go as far as writing newspaper articles for paper publications and online publishing. The teacher of English teaches speech and communication which are critical elements for the farmer and business people. Allowing students to work on projects in groups and report about their work regularly through a variety of sources builds their self-esteem and prepares them for work beyond school.
  • Art and Computer Science would keenly look at the branding and production of marketing tools for the students’ companies. Placing the students in a real-life situation of forming a company, branding your product and marketing it physically or online starting with the family within your school alumni network is a life changing experience. This prepares the Youth within our schools for the work life beyond school and for self-employment. At this point we would then be talking about the concepts taught in commerce and Economics to do business better.

If we develop School Farms and train our teachers in project based teaching as well as on how to start a business, then teaching through projects will start to take root in our schools. This is learning that will provide lifelong lessons to the Youth who go through our schools and make learning more relevant to their out of school demands and needs.

I would like to thank the Parents who graced our event as a sign of support to our programs and an encouragement to the girls to learn more skills that they can bring along to your homes. We are grateful for the Financial contribution towards the activities for the Youth Future Farmers of Africa-Gayaza High School Club and for participating in the auction for the Bull Calf.

This Calf is one month old and was bought at UGX 1,000,000. The Parent donated it to her daughter as birthday present due 26th November 2017. We agreed that we keep the bull for sometime as they plan to build a cattle barn. However the daughter was tasked with looking after the bull while it is still at school. If she learns what to do and carries on with passion she might become one of our first student farmers that will receive a heifer in future.

We thank our guest of honor Mr. Musinguzi James, the Executive Director-Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe for accepting to join us at short notice.

The relationship between Agriculture, Wildlife and Tourism must be enhanced within our day to day work in schools which is a critical area for teaching towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We had chance to learn more about other Wildlife including Parrots,Tortoise and Snakes.

We would like to thank the Youth Future Farmers of Africa under the leadership of Miss. Martha Nakitto Sekitto for organising a great evening that has created several thoughts among the participants. Well done and Never Give Up.

Do schools have a role to play in giving back to the community in which they reside? The answer is YES. Any thriving school continues on its development plan without challenges if the community around the school gives them the required security to do this. Where we have had strikes happening,most of the causes point to the community. It is important that our schools find a window of action within their communities and engage in outreach community activities as part of the school’s social corporate responsibility.

At Gayaza High School one of such activities is the support we offer to a nearby primary school,Gayaza Church of Uganda Primary School. Today we were able to visit the school and give last minute tips to the Primary Seven candidates in this school.

At 7:20a.m a group of 15 Senior Four students set out to visit our community primary school and have a word of prayer with the candidates. It was all joy singing at the top of their voices even when some of the children did not have a new pen and others were holding onto half a pencil.Fortunately the students at Gayaza High School had collected stationery including; pens,pencils,mathematical sets,rubbers to be donated to those in need. So it was exciting for us to be distributing these items and comforting those in need.

Later on in the day another group of 20 students took off time to feed the candidates on a reasonable lunch just to ensure that the children sit their exams with minimal hunger.

We have been tutoring children in this school for the last ten years and what has been very clear to us is that they study on hungry stomachs. In 2014 we set out to learn how to practice agriculture and grow food to feed ourselves and the community around us. Our aim was to learn how to do agriculture scientifically and in turn send out our students to support their communities as simple extension workers.

Today was a testimony to this when we were able to provide a cup of porridge to the candidates in our community primary school. The flour used is part of the harvest we made this year and to this we intend to add milk from the Dairy unit of the students’ agricultural club,The Youth Future Farmers of Africa.

At Lunch time we were able to provide a good vegetable to the meal from our vegetable gardens and we hope next year we shall support this school in setting up their own gardens and turn these into lively classroom areas.

On Wednesday 25th October 2017, the Senior One students(13 years) of Gayaza High School visited our community school to tutor the Primary Seven pupils in mathematics. It is always a joy for our 13 year olds going out to mentor the pupils but this time around it was about confidence building and instilling a spirit of courage. The Primary Seven Pupils will be sitting for their final examinations from 2-3rd November and it was time to give them some tips. We are hopeful that the last minute tips will go along way to support the pupils during the examinations but the interaction and confidence built will stay with them for ever. This one boy was excited to see that his dream of becoming an engineer was being cemented and in prayer we hold him.

Having this girl teach a boy is a great thing for gender equality. Some boys were 17 years being supported by the 13 year old girls. This makes my girls feel important and helps them to learn this as their role for life.