Kapita Primary School – On track to become a model school for Permaculture
Greetings from Lilongwe, Malawi – this is Jones!
A LOT has happened over the past 3 months in Kapita. Being the very first project that Empower Projects supported in Malawi, Kapita has been our partner community since 2010. Our permaculture specialist Tina Sosten has been working right from Kapita for 8 weeks now, organising lead farmers that are championing permaculture for household food and nutrition security.
Farmers making compost after a training by our permaculture specialist Tina Sosten
In August Empower Projects funded a five day permaculture training at Kapita Primary School which brought together 37 participants including two school teachers and six students from primary grade 5 up to grade 8. The participants were grilled in principles of plant-site matching, organic fertiliser production, managing household water and improving soil health. The participants were further grilled in nutrition. According to a World Bank vulnerability and poverty assessment report, 48% of children in Malawi under five years of age are “stunted (too short for their age)”, 22% are “severely stunted”, 5% are “wasted (too thin)”, and 22% are underweight. This justifies why nutrition education is very important.
At the moment twenty farmers are implementing what they were trained and have opened permaculture gardens in their homes and wetlands. At Kapita Primary School a tree nursery has been established to raise seedlings to plant during the rainy and tree planting season in December to January 2016. The farmers are maximizing their wet lands by planting different organic crops like tomatoes, Irish potatoes, maize, beans, pumpkins, mustard etc.
Farmers mulching a beans garden that will provide nutritious meal to the school kids
In the next 2 months, we will continue to support the community by providing local planting materials like seeds and cuttings that are not readily available in the area, frequent visits to the lead farmers to monitor progress and energise them, and finally reaching more farmers that did not attend training. Our target is that 100 farmers are reached and trained by our permaculture specialist by December 2015.
Our permaculture consultant Tina Sosten wowed by a big cassava harvested from the Kapita Primary School as two farmers looks on.
Through this project we aim to make Kapita Primary School a model green school implementing a self-sustaining breakfast program to all its pupils from food grown by themselves in their own garden using permaculture principles. The school breakfast program was introduced in Malawi by international organisations and is supported by the Malawi government. The objective of the program is to ensure that kids from very poor families who can’t afford to eat breakfast before going to school are provided with a nutritious porridge first thing in the morning when they arrive at school. Most schools that started this program some 10 years ago are no longer implementing it because it has become expensive to sustain- the reason being that the schools received everything in form of donations from government and international organisations. With the support from Empower Projects, Kapita School is at the verge of proving that a self-sustaining own run breakfast program is possible.
Tina (wearing yellow) admires organic coffee bushes owned by one of the lead farmers