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The transformation of bare land into productive land; A case study of Kikuyu COU Primary School - Kammengo
Change Areas: Environment, Attitude and Nutrition.

Kikunyu CoU Primary school is a government-aided community primary school located in the Mpigi district, Kammengo sub-county. It has an estimated total of about 162 Pupils, 76 girls and 86 boys plus 8 teachers, 2 males and 6 females. The school was first opened in 1984 under the Anglican church but the letter was adopted by the government in the universal primary education program (UPE) to support free education for all.

During the inception of the project “increasingly environmentally friendly production among selected schools, households and prisons in Mpigi and Wakiso district”, the school was one of those recommended by the Mpigi district Inspector of schools to be part of the project in 2020. After a well-crafted selection process, Kikunyu CoU primary school was selected because of its low enrolment (64 girls and 86 boys), lack of trees in the school compound (two trees at the time), unproductive and bare grounds with eroded and water-logged points, miss use of school grounds by community members (drugs and grazing animals) and most importantly no school meals.

The project trained and certified four teachers and four parents, to become school and community-based permaculture trainers respectively, and also an additional of 15 pupils were trained in integrated land use designs, nursery establishment, waste management, the manufacture and proper use of biopesticides plus biofertilizers. These trainings contributed to the transformation of the school grounds from just two trees to 57 fruit and 8 shade trees, functional vegetable gardens that produce plenty of vegetables and spices which supplement school meals but also contribute to soil and water management at the school, including soil erosion control and waterlogging management (mandala, pet beds, and moon gardens).

Community members have also been trained in the various concepts, supported with seedlings of spices like rose merry, and since they now consider the school a resource centre for more than just a place for the children to learn but also a place for the adults to learn agriculture, small space farming and other permaculture concepts, vandalism of school property has been reduced, no animals are grazed on the school, the drug abusers also no longer use the school grounds as a meeting point and the school enrolment has increased gradually in a period of two years. Due to the motivation of the teachers and parents, as well as the introduction of school meals and the supplementation of spices and vegetables to the meals, an increase in performance of both teachers and the pupils has been noticed.

As AFIRD, we appreciate the efforts of the school management body, the church, and community leaders in involving the community in the school project, this has been one of the greatest contributors to the success of our work. The ownership the community has towards what has been set up at the school by the project has ensured sustainability and improvement of the technologies, as well as duplication in households.

By Nakiwala Gloria

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