Farming for Education

Posted on by Elaine Miller

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More than 80% of Ugandans rely on agriculture to earn a living. Most are subsistence farmers, especially in Northern Uganda. As part of our School Demonstration Gardens, African Revival trains subsistence farmers in new farming techniques on a plot of land near school. This helps farmers improve their productivity at home. But it also brings parents closer to their children’s school. While working on the school garden, parents can also save their money in a Village Savings and Loans Association – which helps them pay school fees on time.

 

When we asked parents the benefit of the School Demonstration Garden, many spoke about bringing parents closer to the school and creating good relationships between parents, teachers and school management.

 

_MG_1061“We used to have a kind of fear between teachers and parents – parents would fear teachers and teachers would fear parents. But now there is good contact between teachers and parents, where teachers even tell us the weaknesses of our children”

said Christine, a parent at Pawel Langetta Primary School

 

_MG_1043 “Our coming to school has made us known to the teachers. Now teachers know which child belongs to which parent. Where the child goes wrong, the teacher can contact the parent directly. If your child is not performing, the teacher will come to you directly as the parent” said Bosco, a parent at Pawel Langetta and Chairperson of the School Demonstration Garden.

 

Parents also talk about being able to monitor their children at school while they are working in the School Demonstration Garden.

 

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_MG_1033“Some children would leave school early. But now we are working in the garden at school, there’s no way for children to escape school because they know their parents are there. So they stay in school all day long and attend all school activities” said Edward, a parent at Pawel Langetta Primary School.

 

 

_MG_1023 “Some pupils hid out behind buildings when they came to school and skipped class. But now the parents come to school, pupils worry their parents will see them loitering so they go to class”

said Jessica, also a parent at Pawel Langetta

 

 

And finally, with a better relationship between the parents and the school, parents understand how they can best support their children in school.

 

_MG_1080 “As a group, we decided to pay the exam fees for all of our children out of the money we saved in the VSLA” said Anthony, a parent at Labala Primary School and Chairperson of the Labala School Demonstration Garden

 

 

“My child’s punctuality has improved because I come to school early to work in the School Demonstration Garden and I never leave my child behind. And when my child gets out of class, I always buy something for her lunch so she’s not hungry when she goes back” said Jessica

 

Our School Demonstration Garden aims to bring together livelihoods and education – by training parents to improve their agricultural productivity and income at home, and also encouraging support for their children’s education. You can find out more about the School Demonstration Garden project here: http://africanrevival.org/what-we-do/uganda/livelihoods

 

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