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EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AT MACHAKOS SCHOOL
Machakos School is in Machakos County and about a kilometer from Machakos town on the Nairobi–Machakos road. ESD was introduced in May 2018. A club was formed with forty two initial members and currently they are more than a hundred.
It started its activities towards the end of June and has engaged in several projects. These include; tree planting, growing of cabbages, onions, arrow roots, kale, fruits and amaranth. Animals reared include dairy cows, rabbits, pigs and poultry. Other activities include recycling plastics, waste water and paper and making briquettes.
Most of the teachers also joined the club to assist the students by showing them farming techniques. Future projects were also proposed, majority by students. These include; fish farming, tree and fruit nurseries, farming of other crops, goat rearing, botanical garden and beading.
The goal of the club was to promote food production in school for self sustainability and sell surplus. It was also aimed at providing life skills in the learners so that they become responsible citizens; who can be self employed and progressively create employment for others.
The club members were trained in ESD activities. Two were trained at KEMI and seventy-eight at Agricultural Training Institute Machakos. They learnt a lot of skills in farming such as conservation and organic farming among others.
The school handed over the cabbage farms management to the club. The members also went ahead and developed a new nursery for constant supply. The cabbages which were initially on the farm were harvested and the ones in the nursery were transplanted.
An onion nursery was started but there was a problem with transplanting because of unreliable rainfall. It took long to plough the farm. We are in the process of planting by irrigation but we do not have adequate water in the school dam. Our future plans are to harvest more rain water. Our roofs are already fixed with gutters but we have very few and small tanks for storing water and so we need more and larger tanks.
We have prepared about six acres for maize production and the planting was done with the help of hired labor because the schools had closed. We hope that it will produce a lot to reduce the amount we buy for the students. The preparation of the land was very tasking because it involved digging trenches to channel water from the farm during the rainy period. The place gets waterlogged and we have lost crops many times before.
We planted kale which we have been able to use for some time. We planted a thousand headed kale and we wish to add another variety. It has been used to substitute cabbage and so allowing the students to change their diet. We hope to increase the production and have some for sale.
Arrow root production
We have prepared a farm for arrow root production and we have already planted. It involved digging trenches and filling with suitable soil and later filling with water to create artificial swamp. The picture below shows students laying polythene in the trenches to help in water retention.
Left; students filling the trenches with soil prepared for planting
Right; Directors of agriculture from the county visiting and advising on growing of arrowroots
A view of the arrowroot place complete and filled with water ready for planting.
We have been able to make simple briquettes. We plan to take the students to train next term and also purchase a briquette making machine so that we can produce more for use in school and also for sale. We used cow dung and charcoal waste and as a way of recycling.
Waste paper recycling
We have collected waste paper, tore them to small pieces and soaked in water to soften so that they can be used in briquette and model making. This is to be continued when the students come back to school. Our school uses a lot of papers and we are trying to reduce paper use for example by promoting use of social media to pass information to teachers and increase use of ict in teaching and later in giving exams or revision questions.
Tree and fruit planting
We have started a small nursery for tree and fruit tree seedlings. The aim is to have our own seedlings so that we can plant at our convenient time. We also collected several seedlings of different tree and fruit species from ICRAFT. We have planted most of the seedlings and we wish to have an orchard and a forest within the school.
The pictures below show the seedlings we collected from ICRAFT Machakos
>We have five hundred and sixteen layers and the eggs produced are for the students. They are served with boiled eggs twice a week. Surplus is sold and the money used to buy feeds for the poultry. We plan to increase the number of chicken and also to introduce local breeds. We are in the process of constructing a new shelter, we invited the county directors of agriculture and they offered to draw a plan for the structure. When they are through, we will start the construction.
We have about thirty rabbits and the breed is California white. They are mainly used in biology for practicals. We plan to increase the number so that we can also have some for sale. We also have plans of building a better structure for the rabbits.
Above is the rabbit structure and two of the rabbits in one of the rooms
Students cleaning the rabbit unit
We have a few dairy cattle for milk production. The milk is used in the school but it is not enough for the students. We plan to have better breeds which can produce milk for the school and surplus for sale.
We have pigs in the school and they have kept for a long time. We intend to improve their care by building a better structure and improve their feeds. We also consulted the agriculture directors and they offered to assist us with the plans for the structure so that build them a better shade.
We have a bakery in school and it makes bread and buns for the students. It has helped the school to save a lot because the cost of production is lower than the cost of buying from the suppliers. The bakery is a simple one and requires a lot of improvement. For example, we are yet to buy electric oven for baking.
Cleaning of environment
Our students participate in keeping the environment clean by cutting grass and collecting litter. They do this in the compound and also outside the school.
Students collecting litter from drainage along the road
The club hopes to do more next term by continuing with the existing projects and new ones. The may challenge finances and water shortage.