Cinq jardins scolaires à Boumerdès (Algérie) – School gardens in Algeria

ENGLISH ABSTRACT

Unicef Algeria and SOS Children’s Village of Draria (Algiers) signed an agreement to construct school gardens in the region of Boumerdès (N. Algeria). These gardens will deliver food for the school restaurant and improve the attention of the children for their environment.

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Dans le Quotidien d’Oran du 17 janvier 2007, la journaliste Nouria B décrit l’accord signé entre UNICEF ALGERIE et SOS Village d’Enfants de Draria (Alger). Voici le contenu de son article “Création de cinq jardins dans des écoles“:

Cinq jardins seront créés dans cinq établissements scolaires de la wilaya de Boumerdès en vertu d’un accord de partenariat signé, hier, entre le Bureau d’Algérie du Fonds des Nations Unies pour l’Enfance (Unicef) et SOS village de Draria. Ce projet-pilote, selon Raymond JANSSENS, représentant de l’Unicef, vise à améliorer et diversifier les menus servis dans des cantines scolaires et à lutter contre les carences nutritionnelles. Entrant dans le cadre de la création des clubs de l’environnement dans les écoles, cette expérience servira également à inculquer l’amour de l’environnement et de la terre chez les enfants. Ce projet initié en accord avec le Ministère de l’Education nationale répond un peu à la démarche consistant à introduire des activités diversifiés dont l’enseignement et la sensibilisation des élèves par rapport à l’importance de l’environnement.

On vise à produire des aliments de bonne qualité et l’on invite les directeurs des autres écoles à contribuer à la propagation de cette expérience“, dira Raymond Janssens.

Continue reading “Cinq jardins scolaires à Boumerdès (Algérie) – School gardens in Algeria”

Gardens in the desert – Jardins dans le désert

MESSAGE IN ENGLISH + FRANCAIS (voir plus loin)

Within its Nutrition Programme, UNICEF ALGERIA launched in 2006 a splendid project, called “Family gardens in the refugee camps of the Sahraouis“. These camps are located in the region of Tindouf (S.W. Algeria).

I will try to show the success stories of this project by inviting you to have a look at a series of pictures with legends about the small gardens created in different camps. Please do not forget that these gardens are constructed in the Sahara desert, with all its possible constraints (climate, availibilty of water, soil, salinity etc.).

Have a look at the following URL and double click on the pictures to see the enlarged version and the legend:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24356485@N00/sets/72157594524730196/

Interesting isn’t it ?

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Dans le cadre de son Programme Nutrition, UNICEF ALGERIE vient de lancer en 2006 son projet “Jardins Familiaux dans les camps des réfugiés Sahraouis“. Ces camps se trouvent dans la région de Tindouf (S.W. Algérie).

Je veux essayer de vous montrer les cas de succès de ce projet en vous invitant à voir une série de photos et de légendes concernant ces petits jardins créés dans différents camps. Veuillez ne pas oublier que ces jardins ont été construits dans le désert Sahara, avec toutes ses contraintes possibles (climat, disponibilité de l’eau, sol, salinité etc.).

Visitez l’URL suivant et cliquez deux fois sur une photo pour la voir en agrandissement et avec la légende:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24356485@N00/sets/72157594524730196/

Intéressant, non ?

Désertification, information, coopération.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT

Receiving more and more comments on former posts, I confirm hereby my intention to strive for closer cooperation between all people active in the field of combating desertification. Let us join hands and start exchanging information on success stories and best practices, even if we don’t speak the same language.

Here is an example concerning the construction of family gardens in S.W. Algeria (the refugee camps of the Sahraouis). My comment is in French, but I can provide an English translation to all interested people.

COMMENT RECEIVED ON FEB. 12
COMMENTAIRE RECU LE 12 FEVRIER

yahiaoui fouzia | yahiaouif@yahoo.fr | IP: 81.22.65.133

Bonjour,

J’ai trouvé ce site en cherchant des informations sur l’arganier et je félicite tous les acteurs qui ont travaillé pour le projet des jardins dans la région de Tindouf. C’est une très belle initiative pour la lutte contre la désertification et l’intégration des femmes dans les programmes de développement durable. Ce projet est un exemple à suivre pour l’immensité des régions arides et semi-arides.

Aussi, est ce possible d’avoir un peu plus d’informations sur la méthode utilisée ou des orientations pour la réalisation de ces jardins.

Autre chose: est ce qu’il est possible d’avoir des informations par l’intermédiaire de l’ingénieur forestier de Tindouf sur la répartition et la quantité des spécimens d’arganier qui se trouvent à Tindouf.

Merci.

Yahiaoui Fouzia
Ingénieur écodéveloppement des zones arides et semi-arides.
Conservation de la nature.

MY REPLY
MA REPONSE

Cher Yahiaoui Fouzia,

Merci pour votre appréciation pour le projet UNICEF ALGERIE, avec lequel nous essayons de compléter le panier alimentaire des réfugiés Sahraouis vivant déjà 30 ans dans des camps près de Tindouf (S.W. de l’Algérie). Vous savez sans doute que ce panier des Nations Unies vient d’être réduit considérablement. Ainsi, les réserves nutritionnelles des Sahraouis ont été épuisées et la malnutrition se fait de plus en plus sentir, en particulier chez les enfants.

C’est la raison pourquoi nous voulons, aussitôt que possible, offrir à toutes les familles des camps un petit jardin familial de 20 à 30 mètres carrés seulement. Nous avons calculé qu’un tel petit jardin est suffisant pour compléter le panier alimentaire des Nations Unies, en particulier pour l’approvisionnement en vitamines et éléments minéraux.

Continue reading “Désertification, information, coopération.”

Looking back to the future

SUCCESS STORIES OR BEST PRACTICES IN THE COMBAT OF DESERTIFICATION

In December 2002, coming home from CRIC 1 of the UNCCD (see the website UNCCD dot int and a series of interesting documents concerning the UN Convention on desertification), I decided to launch the creation of a network of individuals interested in desertification and poverty.

If you look for a newsletter (a bulletin) concerning these problems, please contact Miss Laetitia VERDIER at the UNCCD secretariat in Bonn, who is now publishing the newsletter, through her e-mail address: Lverdier ad unccd dot int.

Today, I went back to the first newsletters to freshen up my memories about those early days and can not resist offering you a short review of our first communications on the subject of success stories and best practices. Indeed, we can learn a lot from this early exchange of ideas. I hope you will enjoy “Looking back to the future” and see it as a renewed start towards more efficient actions in the field. Because that is what the poor rural people in the drylands are looking for: ACTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION AND TO ALLEVIATE POVERTY.

Please have a look back at some of the messages exchanged !

1. THE VERY START
TC-CCD NETWORK “PEOPLE FOR ACTION”
2002-12-03 – INFO 001

Dear Friends,

One of the important messages and conclusions of UNCCD’s CRIC1 in Rome (11-22/11/2002) was that there is an urgent need for exchange of information within a network of individuals interested in the desertification problems. Many of us enjoyed very much the presentations of case studies and the ensuing discussions, although seemingly there was no time for in-depth analysis or exchanges of views on the situation in other countries. Nevertheless, CRIC1 certainly was a real success!

Most of the participants will remember that single sentence, repeatedly coming up in different interventions from the podium and the floor: “There is no more time for talking, this is time for action!“. I had a couple of times the privilege and the pleasure of reminding my friends that “REAL ACTION” could be launched by selecting a small number of success stories (best practices) and applying these in small scale projects, but in a large number of countries in all regions. The TPNs seem to be an excellent forum for setting up such comparative initiatives (see the pilot projects of the Asian TPN3 on sand dune fixation and rangeland management to be launched pretty soon). It goes without saying that we still need to exchange a lot of ideas on the way such actions could be optimally planned.

Willem Van Cotthem

REACTIONS ON THAT INVITATION

2. Namsrai SARANTUYA n_sarantuya@yahoo.com

Congratulations with your great ideas to create such networking among individuals interested in the desertification problems! I think, first of all, we need human networking /it is CAPACITY!/ for achieving a real success in prevention and combating desertification in our countries.

I am looking forward to receive from time to time your messages and also contribute in different ways in information sharing between members of the network.

Dr.Sarantuya, from Mongolia

3. Dana PIETSCH

Yes, of course we are thinking too much in our “private-family-horizon”, but can you actually tell me how to pass on information and data if there are so many problems to start field work? Where to fly to if I can’t even find wings on my body? I’m really glad that there are people like you, reminding us of what we talked about… but I’m in the wrong position. I don’t know what kind of helpful information I can give you. Of course, if I can present any results, I’ll share them with the Yemeni Institutions as well as with a Network to Combat Desertification.

4. SAHEL DEFIS saheldefis@free.fr

Thank you for the new challenge, and for the attached information. It was indeed a great pleasure working together at CRIC 1 in Rome. It is really gratifying to having people always on the move at the helm. Yes, indeed, let’s work closer together on desertification, or better, on anti desertification activities on the ground. As indicated verbally in Rome, SAHEL DEFIS has tested a bag of TerraCottem in Northern Burkina where we work with villagers in Djomga. The first trial on a small vegetable garden was a success, as compared to cattle manure and to another product that we have also been testing with Japanese partners. The work was not conducted in a very scientific manner, but the results were satisfactory.

Tahirou DIAO

5. NGO BIOS (MOLDOVA) – 4 Dec.2002

We were happy to hear from you and to realize that, while we are all thinking things over and getting slowly started, you have already undertaken an excellent practical step. But we do agree with you that the Rome meeting was a success and it needs all of our efforts to make it a greater success in the future.

The network you have so generously initiated is an important endeavour and we will support it any way we can and we will certainly appreciate our being on the mailing list.

We were impressed with all your interventions during the Rome CRIC and the creative ways of drawing the full attention of the audience. It is a rare art.

We, in our NGO, discussed the ways to assist the Convention and we have some interesting ideas. We have even provided to Mr. Marcos Montoiro, NGO Liaison Officer of the Convention, an outline of a case study we could present at a future convention event on some very practical things we have done in one or two villages, starting with the villages almost drowned in garbage, with utterly degraded pastures, the trees of the village forest in process of full destruction, huge gullies and coming to gradual improvements in the vineyards and orchards and creation of entertainment.

6. TC-CCD NETWORK “PEOPLE FOR ACTION” NEWSLETTER
2002-12-13
INFO 004

Dear Friends, Chers Amis,

Our network for information exchange on all aspects of combating desertification (UNCCD), caring for biodiversity (UNCBD), acting for sustainable development and alleviating poverty, has got a new name: “PEOPLE FOR ACTION”.

Indeed, this network is not just one of those many initiatives to submerge people with (sometimes useful) information. It is strictly oriented towards ACTION.
Therefore, I would like to ask all members of the network to send me by preference information on:

* Successful traditional methods to combat land degradation (soil improvement, water harvesting, plant and animal production etc.)
* Successful modern technologies to combat desertification
* Successful combinations of traditional and modern methods
* Successful projects (soils, water, plants, animals, socio-economy, gender,
poverty, biodiversity, etc.), especially those of the NGOs.

Of course, I will also appreciate all kind of information on interesting activities in your country our region. That is the reason why I have included in this INFO 04 messages from the CBD Secretariat (thanks to Juliane ZEIDLER), from and to Edison WOTHO (Botswana), from the CBO Friends of Mpigi Forests (Uganda) and some general messages from “Development Gateway” (for which I recommend your subscription) and from the LINKAGES UPDATE (another subscription to be recommended!).

Should you want to share your information, ideas and data with our network members, please do not hesitate and send me an e-mail with the message you want to convey. I will be more than happy to forward it.

Our Belgian TC-Dialogue Foundation looks forward to link all “PEOPLE FOR ACTION”, aiming at improvement of the standards of living of all people living in the drylands. We know that we (and they!) can count on you.

Willem Van Cotthem

PS. Que mes amis francophones ne désespèrent pas! Je promets d’incorporer aussi tous leurs messages dans la langue de Molière. A eux de jouer!

7. Edison WOTHO

Dear Willem,

Indeed you are a true friend of nature. Personally, I have high regards for you since working with you from AHTEG on CBD. Your ideas are very useful and practical. I agree with you that action speaks louder than words. Hopefully the scientists should demonstrate their findings on the ground. It is important that we come with practical programmes and projects to answer the needs of the poor communities who live in the dryland ecosystems.

Botswana as you know, is a semi-arid country with very erratic rainfall patterns. Our advantage lies on the small population, which has over the years been very practical in managing their environment. As a NFP, I am sometimes frustrated by the lack of resources to complement their efforts. Though our NAP is yet to be finalized, its key elements are now part of the Ninth National Development Plan (NDP9). The NFP office continues to discuss with the civil society best practices of addressing this problem. I was particularly touched by the Youth Programme in Lesotho. However my problem is that the project seems not to have room for self-sustainability.

Of our four (4) small projects, I believe the agro-forestry project is doing very well, but as you know water is a major limiting factor in this country. In addition we a very thin in capacity and in this regard I would appreciate to know if the Government of Belgium would be of any assistance in terms of developing the people I work with on the project.

The developing country Parties require resources to implement some of their noble ideas. The people down there are hungry and need assistance. I personally believe in doing. Results! Results! Results! That should be our slogan at UNCCD. When we talk of alternative livelihoods, we should come up with microprojects because that is the answer to combating desertification and poverty. Too many macroprogrammes, such as NEPAD, will not answer the needs of people living and driving their livelihoods from the drylands.

Once again, I thank you Prof for your great vision and I hope that all will be up to the challenge. One day we should sit down and reflect on your great dream as presented at the interactive dialogue in CRIC 1. My worry is that even NGOs do not reach the people. The projects they introduce are temporary in nature and do not provide a long-lasting solution. Botswana is prepared to make a difference, resources permitting. This why I am eager to personally attend a course on accessing GEF resources.

8. MY ANSWER TO EDISON

My dear friend Edison,

Sincere thanks for your appreciation. I hope our little network will bring all likeminded people together and create possibilities to exchange ideas about the success stories in combating desertification and alleviating poverty. Because one thing is sure: WE KNOW HOW TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION.

It goes without saying that alleviation of poverty and mitigation of drought will never happen in our nice conference rooms, but in the field. A lot of people have shown in the past, through a number of small projects, which can be the best practices in water harvesting, soil conditioning, agroforestry, cash crop production, marketing of Third World products etc.

It is up to us to set up comparative trials with these best practices, in order to decide which of them will offer the best results in all different regions. Of course, not every single method will be applicable in all different circumstances and locations. We have to adapt our traditional methods and modern technologies to the local situations, but we can do it quite easily.

The classical question is: Where to find the necessary resources?

If only we could spend less resources at conferences, seminars, round tables etc., if only we could spend less at huge, and often non-sustainable programmes, maybe then we could save more money for a first series of serious tests of comparative studies of success stories in all regions (and later on in all countries).

But for me the real problem is not the lack of money. It is the human choice of priorities!

Like I said at CRIC1 in Rome, when we speak about possibilities to apply an excellent modern technology like TerraCottem (TC), automatically we get the question: “How much does it costs?”. Or: “Do you have a detailed cost-benefit-analysis?”. We all know that TC brings a solution for water harvesting, for soil improvement and for enhancement of plant production. We all know that TC improves standards of living of poor people in the drylands. Since 1988 it has been proven that TC is one of the success stories in the combat of desertification. Yet, people are still asking about its prize, not about its long-lasting positive effects, so that investment in it should be spread over ten years or more.

But for guns, bullets, land mines, bombs and missiles, destroying life all over the world (and mostly of the poorest), nobody seems to ask these questions about prizes and cost-benefit analysis. I know that the comparison is not a valid one and that at the international level other rules and laws play a dominant role. But I will continue to find it a real shame that WE COULD WIN THE COMBAT AGAINST DESERTIFICATION AND WE COULD ALLEVIATE POVERTY, if only we would stop fighting and would use those financial resources to apply the best practices all over the world.

Maybe, this wish will never come true. But please, let people never ask me again about the prize of TC or any other method to combat desertification, or I will give them the outcome of my cost-benefit-analysis of one bomb and one single missile.

Dear Edison, have a peaceful end of the year and a successful 2003. And let
us continue to work together, hand-in-hand, all of us, people wanting to combat desertification and poverty.

Willem Van Cotthem

(to be continued)

Espèce intéressante : Argania spinosa

Voici une espèce végétale qui peut jouer un rôle assez important dans la lutte contre la désertification dans certaines régions semi-arides, par exemple dans les pays maghrébiens. Elle est connue sous quelques noms vernaculaires : arganier, argane, argan, bois de fer.

Mes amis les forestiers de Services de la Conservation des Forêts à Tindouf (S.W.Algérie) s’intéressent particulièrement à la production de jeunes pieds de l’arganier (Argania spinosa (L.) Skeels), qui appartient à la famille des Sapotacées. Nous avons l’intention de contribuer à la plantation de l’arganier dans la région de Tindouf, notamment dans les camps des réfugiés Sahraouis au S.W. de l’Algérie, car c’est une plante qui est adapté parfaitement à l’aridité.

L’arganier est une espèce d’arbre endemique de la plaine du Souss au S.W. du Maroc, où l’huile d’arganier est très populaire. Il y couvre près de 900.000 hectares. L’espèce est aussi présente en Algérie, mais sa dispersion y est plus restreinte.

Continue reading “Espèce intéressante : Argania spinosa”

Poverty reduction through group approach

I read this morning at the “Development Gateway” on poverty the following abstract :
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1. NEW HIGHLIGHT: Group approach to poverty reduction
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The poor (destitute, isolated, risk averters with low-income and poor infrastructure) can grow out of poverty provided their basic rights are re-stored and other civil society opportunities are made available to them. One successful approach to grow out of poverty is to organize poor into small groups, then organizations and finally federations or networks.

Why group approach to poverty reduction has been successful?
– Groups bring solidarity, strength, mutual help, pooling their resources, empowerment, emergency help, remove being helpless and takes them out of isolation
– Like minded people to share experiences, problems and successes
– Poor can learn from and adapt to their piers
– Seeing progress made by their piers make them progressive

The group approach also provides several benefits to the poverty reduction worker such as bring the poor together, pooling of learning resources, higher efficiency of training, more accessible, etc. So much so all successful poverty reduction initiatives are based on group principles.”

I couldn’t help thinking at our multiple initiatives with the Belgian TC-Dialogue Foundation, with which we organized humanitarian projects within the framework of combating desertification and alleviating poverty. First of all, it should be clear that desertification is strongly linked to poverty. Indeed, it are generally the poorest rural people in the drylands suffering the most of drought and desertification. That is why we have mostly been setting up community gardens for women and school gardens.

Continue reading “Poverty reduction through group approach”

Jardins familiaux dans le désert Sahara en Algérie

Dans le cadre du Programme NUTRITION de l’UNICEF en Algérie, un projet de construction de jardins familiaux fut lancé dans les camps des réfugiés du Sahara Occidental (Sahraouis). L’objectif principal de ce projet est de produire de la nourriture fraîche (légumes et fruits) pour les réfugiés, en supplément au panier mensuel de l’alimentation offert par l’ONU.

Au moins un ingénieur agronome dans chacun des camps s’occupe du suivi de ce projet. Déjà en 2003, l’ingénieur Taleb BRAHIM a commencé à cultiver des légumes dans son jardin privé au camp de Smara.

Aujourd’hui, il me fait parvenir un petit rapport et quelques photos. Lors de mes visites à Smara en Mai et Décembre 2006, j’ai pris des photos que je joins à son message. La conclusion générale est que des légumes peuvent aisément être cultivés dans cette partie du Sahara (S.W. Algérie), en particulier en utilisant le conditionneur de sol TerraCottem, qui nous laisse épargner beaucoup d’eau et d’engrais.

Continue reading “Jardins familiaux dans le désert Sahara en Algérie”

Tree growth with TC in Algeria

On November 14th, 2006, I posted on this blog a short message on the success booked with TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC) in Algeria (see “Success with TC in Algeria“).

I told you that Unicef Algeria invited me in 2005 as a scientific consultant to study possible improvement of the living conditions in the refugee camps of the Sahraouis people in Southwestern Algeria (Sahara desert), looking for ways and means to enhance local food production. The main objective was to look for new possibilities to grow vegetables in small family gardens in the refugee camps in the desert, irrigating them with a minimum of brackish water, taken from the subsoil.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Belgian TC-DIALOGUE Foundation, through which a project was set up to construct a large number of family gardens in different refugee camps. In these gardens, the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) is used to limit the consumption of fresh water for irrigation and to limit the application of fertilizers.

Already in 1983-1992, I have developed a soil conditioning method (called “TerraCottem“, see the website with that name ) at the University of Ghent (Belgium). With this granular soil conditioner one is able to stock a lot of water and nutrients in the rooting zone of the soil and to improve the microbiological activities and the formation of a larger root system. The result of all this : a better plant growth with less water and less fertilizer.

In October 2005, a small demonstration test was set up in front of the Sahraouis Ministry of Public Health in Rabouni (Tindouf area, Algeria). One out of 10 already planted seedlings of the Prosopis tree was treated with 30 g of the TerraCottem product. In November 2006, I showed you already a number of pictures showing the effect of TerraCottem (TC) on that seedling.

Today, I am publishing a new series of pictures, showing the remarkable effect of the TerraCottem (TC) soil conditioner on plant growth under dry conditions.

Continue reading “Tree growth with TC in Algeria”

African lake levels dropping fast

Did you here about the bad news ? I could not resist to copy the major part of this article in my weblog.

Vast African Lake Levels Dropping Fast

Associated Press

December 09, 2006 | CHARLES J. HANLEY

JINJA, Uganda – At Jinja pier the rusty red hull of a Lake Victoria freighter sat barely afloat in water just six feet deep – and dropping. “The scientists have to explain this,” said ship’s engineer Gabriel Maziku.

…………

At 27,000 square miles, the size of Ireland, Victoria is the greatest of Africa’s Great Lakes – the biggest freshwater body after Lake Superior. And it has dropped fast, at least six feet in the past three years, and by as much as a half-inch a day this year before November rains stabilized things.

Continue reading “African lake levels dropping fast”

Community garden (Horticulture) in Burkina Faso

Together with my team of the University of Ghent and in cooperation with the Dutch Committee Maastricht-Niou, I have set up different development projects in Burkina Faso since 1988. Reforestation and creation of community gardens for women have been the main topics (see other postings).

In 1997, we started the application of the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC), as a project of the Belgian TC-DIALOGUE Foundation (see the website http://www.tcdialogue.be). In the community garden for women of the village of Niou (Kourweogo Province, Burkina Faso), some 2500 square meter of the vegetable garden were treated with that water saving soil conditioner. A smaller part of the garden remained untreated (control plot).

Capacity building
1997-07 Capacity building in the garden : members of the local women’s association Gueswende got information about TC-application and its role (Photo Monique Van Endert 1997)

Continue reading “Community garden (Horticulture) in Burkina Faso”

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