4-H Zimbabwe has broaden the reach on the school gardens concept. The program has gone national – that is working with all schools in Zimbabwe.
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A HARARE-based youth organisation, 4-H Zimbabwe Foundation has widened its schools’ gardens programme to primary and secondary schools from the initial three provinces covered last year to all provinces in the country.
The schools garden programme was introduced in November last year and is meant to inspire young people to explore agriculture and view it as a profession and business.
The programme is also aimed at assisting schools to produce food and also raise money from sale of produce.
Schools that have benefited from the initiative are Oldbury primary in Mazowe District, Rising Star primary in Harare South, Holy Cross primary in Chirumanzu and Jairos Jiri Bulawayo chapter.
In a telephone interview, 4-H Zimbabwe Foundation vice-chairperson Mr Collins Chizhande said more primary schools will be roped into the project.
“We are currently in the process of identifying schools with pieces of land that can be utilised for agriculture. After the identification process we are going to hold training programmes with the pupils and the teachers so that they know how to work around the crop that they will be planting. Mostly we focus on horticulture projects and we also provide fertiliser if there is need after we have tested the soils,” said Mr Chizhande.
Mr Chizhande who is also the University of Zimbabwe farm general manager said 4-H Zimbabwe will not focus only on agriculture but spread its wings in working with the education fraternity.
“We do not just go and teach, but we run the project until we see that the school is now knowledgeable as we want to achieve the goal of making agriculture as a potential employer. As an organisation we also focus on other thematic areas which include sustainable food, livelihoods and food security, career support, STEM and healthy environment. We will also be introducing the global exchange programme where we will select schools to go and represent the school garden programmes and exchange notes with others doing the same in Kenya and other countries in Europe,” he said.
Mr Chizhande said the project will be introduced to secondary schools and universities by year end.
4-H Zimbabwe Foundation founder Mr John Muchenje who is also the national chairperson for the Apex Council Youth in Agriculture and National Young champion farmer reiterated that the programme will play a pivotal role in resuscitating the economic status of schools.
“Agriculture nationally plays an important role in ensuring the stability of the economy, food security, import substitution, foreign currency generation and the project will also do the same to schools as their financial muscle will be made strong,” said Mr Muchenje.