The newly appointed Netherlands Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Alphons Hennekens has commended the SNV School Garden Project.
The Ambassador visited the school garden of Ogai Primary School in Nwoya district on 11 September 2012. “This school is a success story and therefore my staff took me here. I highly appreciate the partnership between pupils, parents, teachers, the community and local government” he said during a meeting with all stakeholders. Ogai Primary School is being coached in good agricultural practices by Africa Revival, one of the 35 local capacity building organisations engaged by SNV in the School Garden Project.
A parent explains the importance of a kitchen garden at home. “When you cook, you do not go to the market so you save money. You can also sell and make some money. At this demonstration plot at school, the pupils and parents learn new good agriculture practice such as compost making and management of water. “
The ambassador also admired a nursery bed for onions, and bananas and groundnuts planted with improved methods, as well as learning gardens for the pupils.
The school garden project is part of the three year Community Empowerment Programme funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in partnership with UNICEF, and being implemented SNV and eight district local governments. The school garden component is being implemented in 750 schools and will run until June 2014. SNV is responsible for training, mentoring and coaching these schools in good agricultural practices
Using the school gardens as demonstration centres, parents are encouraged to learn about good agricultural practices that they can replicate to ensure food security and increase their incomes. As they participate in the school gardens they also interact with the teachers and pupils and are able to monitor not only the performance of their children but also teachers’ class attendance. This addresses the problem of low parental and community participation in education, which has been cited as the leading cause of school children having no meals at school which in turn affects their academic performance.
Also present during the visit was Mrs May Anyabolu, the UNICEF Deputy Director in Uganda, as well as Marieke van Schie, the Coordinator of the School Garden Project, and Agaba Anthony both of SNV.
Other components of the Community Empowerment Programme include water, sanitation and hygiene in schools and communities.