Photo credit: Trish Travel Food
Photo credit: Trish Travel Food
COMMENTS OF Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM (Ghent University-Belgium) ON
Today I read this interesting article on UNICEF’s alarming message about child poverty, in which I find :
“The report dubbed: “Ending Extreme Poverty: A Focus on Children revealed that in 2013, 19.5 per cent of children in developing countries were living in households that survived on an average of $1.90 a day or less per person, compared to just 9.2 per cent of adults.
It said globally, almost 385 million children are living in extreme poverty.
According to the report, children are disproportionately affected, as they make up around a third of the population studied.
UNICEF and the World Bank Group are calling on governments to routinely measure child poverty at the national and sub-national levels and focus on children in national poverty reduction plans as part of efforts to end extreme poverty by 2030.”
As a header of this remarkable text we find this scaring picture above, showing anxious children keeping up an empty plate: NOTHING TO EAT AND QUEUING FOR SOME FOOD.
Once again it shows that there is an urgent need to teach all schoolchildren in developing countries how to grow fresh food at home and at school (e.g. in a schoolgarden).
Of course, a lot of them need an urgent supply of nutritive meals. That means that emergency programs are acceptable and very useful.
But it is not by sending loads of nutritive cookies (or other healthy meals) that one will change a single thing at this disastrous situation. Yes, we will save starving children, but the 350 million children living in extreme poverty need more than a food aid meal a day.
We urgently have to change our food aid strategies to make them sustainable (see the new goals):
(1) Keep on going with emergency actions where needed;
(2) Set up educative programs to teach the children successful methods and simple techniques to grow their own daily rations of vitamins, micronutrients and mineral elements (fresh edible crops).
Impossible to believe that people concerned would not know a thing about the existence of these essential methods and techniques. Since years they are fully described and illustrated. It suffices to check some data (photos, texts, videos) on the internet, e.g. https://www.facebook.com/groups/221343224576801/.
Let us never forget that UNICEF itself has set up in 2005 a very successful program, called “Family Gardens for the Saharawis refugees in the S.W. of Algeria“, that unfortunately was stopped at the end of 2007 after showing that even in the Sahara desert families were (still are !) able to grow vegetables and herbs in their own garden. The French would say: “Il faut le faire !”.
We keep looking forward for the global application of such a fresh food production program, using these basic, simple ways of growing food at home and at school. That would be the real, sustainable food aid. “Il faut le vouloir !“.
Photo credit: Treehugger
An award-winning design blends traditional nursery school classrooms with a working farm, allowing young children to learn through gardening and tending livestock.
Imagine if the nursery school of the future were a farm, complete with vegetable gardens and animals, the tending of which would be part of a child’s daily routine. This glorious concept isn’t as far removed from reality as you may think. In fact, such a design, titled “Nursery Fields Forever,” was the first-prize winner of a recent architecture competition in which competitors were asked to design an ideal nursery school for the city of London, England, based on the following:
“[Nursery schools and primary schools] intend to provide a grounding for the child to start school, offering a range of structured educational experiences based on learning through play. A new kind of kindergarten design encourages kids to be their silly selves. What does a school do with 4- and 5-year-old kids? How should be the nursery of the future? How children should spend their days in these structures?”
A group of four young architects from Italy and the Netherlands created the winning proposal. “Nursery Fields Forever” is a working farm that taps into young children’s natural attraction to plants and animals. Rather than having to take kids out into nature – something that’s difficult in urban settings – the kids would already be in a natural setting.
Read the full article: Treehugger
There are several school gardens in the Marathon County area and it could be helping your kids more than you think. The National Gardening Association found that school gardens will help students eat more fruits and vegetables and improve their social skills by working with others.
The Hatley Elementary School and Community Garden has expanded over past couple of years and more recently the school received a grant to purchase a green house helping kids like Caleb Breyton even more.
“I like to pull weeds and I like to pick the plants,” said Caleb Breyton in the garden.
The fifth grader works hard as he gets his knees and hands dirty while picking green beans and other veggies. Caleb not only likes to garden, but enjoys eating the growing plants too. Since being in the garden he says he has eaten more veggies and found a new produce he loves, which is kale.
The 4th graders start by growing seeds in the green house and then in June students will move what they’ve grown into the garden. All grades K-5 will work with the produce. It’s something Fischer says helps them learn even more than staying in the classroom.
Read the full article: WSAW
Photo credit: WVC 2007-03-containers-P1000714.jpg
by Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem (Ghent University, Belgium)
Please read this article at:
Originally published at:
Originally published at:
MESSAGE FROM THE ANTIPODS
I just received this nice message from Jenny LITCHFIELD (New Zealand, 2007):
That’s very kind of you to write. Thank you. Your Desertification link has been added to my blog. Your project reports are fascinating to read. I had no idea such work existed in this arid region – perhaps, unfortunately, that’s a reflection of how remote New Zealand is. The impression I get is that essentially we want the same things for our families and loved ones. My heart goes out to the women in Algeria and I admire their endeavours to provide healthy fresh food for their children with your support. My gardening messages are informed by practical gardening experiences, personal observations, knowledge passed on from older people I have known, intuition, a strong sense of ecological values, reflection and lots of reading. I love to engage children in the environment in naturally occurring ways. I am a specialist teacher of learning and behaviour in secondary schools and understand only too well the basic human needs of children and youth must be met in order that they might learn in ways that have meaning to them and in ways that are relevant to their lives. Kind regards, Jenny.”
Well Jenny, that’s the way I love to cooperate with likeminded people from all over the world. It shows how close our minds are, right across oceans and frontiers, as if New Zealand and Algeria are neigbours of Belgium. Our minds should never be divided by political or religious barriers. We should never hesitate to help people living in conditions much worse than ours. Development cooperation is one of the nicest things on earth: we are able to share our experience and expertise with the people in the developing world to make their standards of living better too. And gardening is one of the nicest and most practical fields . Let us not be selfish ! Sharing our knowledge and transferring our cost-effective and affordable technologies should be considered as one of the important step towards effective development aid. Therefore, let us try to translate our experience into simple and practical methods, easily applicable in the developing world, where human beings are counting upon our contributions. Sincere thanks, Willem.
Voici un message de Jenny LITCHFIELD (Nouvelle Zélande). Elle trouve les rapports sur nos projets dans les régions arides fascinants. En fait, nous voulons tous et toutes la même chose pour nos familles et ceux qui nous sont chers. Le coeur de Jenny bat pour les femmes de l’Algérie et les efforts qu’elles produisent pour obtenir une nourriture saine pour leurs familles, avec l’aide de l’UNICEF. Professeur à l’enseignement secondaire, Jenny comprend très bien les besoins de base des enfants.
C’est bien de ce trouver à la même longeur d’ondes!
Photo credit : Ellen Meulenveld – 20A Ellen eerste reeks 393 copy.jpg – Creation of a school garden in Gambia
This morning, January 12, 2007, I read the following abstract at the “Development Gateway” :
1. NEW HIGHLIGHT: Group approach to poverty reduction
“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 bringing 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.
In both cases our main objectives correspond completely with the point of view expressed in the Development Gateway abstract above : “One successful approach to grow out of poverty is to organize poor into small groups“.
The general impression is that groups are formed by one or more people from outside the village community, e.g. non-governmental organizations. However, small groups should be formed by the local people themselves to meet their needs and expectations. Nevertheless, outsiders can facilitate the group formation process without influencing to much the actual formation, which is the exclusive responsibility of the local people.
When setting up a community garden for women, the organization of the village community into small groups takes place almost automatically. Instead of growing food crops (vegetables) in traditional, small individual gardens, scattered over the area around the villages, all women of the small group (20-40 women) can work together in the same community garden, constructed around one or two wells. You see the advantages ? Women organized in a small group will have more opportunities to embark on diverse efficient situations and income generating activities : availability of water for each woman, daily social contacts in the garden, motivation to produce a maximum of food, possibility to set up a cooperative system for purchases of equipment, seeds, fertilizer etc., for marketing their products (cash income) and other income earning activities.
Formation of small groups provides more access to different rural services, such as knowledge sharing, training in agricultural practices, health care etc. It will be very interesting to assess later on the advantages and the sustainability of women’s associations constructed around community gardens.
Women in a small group can save more money than those working as individuals. Working in a cooperative system, group savings may help to overcome urgent needs, e.g. through provision of micro-credits. In a cooperative, women can make their work more efficient and improve their daily living standards. Many organizations agree that the formation of small groups of rural women is vital to alleviate global poverty. At a later stage, linking of smaller groups into larger organizations or federations (networking) will offer the women more bargaining power.
Moreover, we are taking into consideration that regrouping individual areas for cultivation into one single community garden is also a very positive measure taken to limit the destruction of natural habitats. Traditionally, individual gardens are installed at the “best” places (availability of water, fertility of the soil, limited distance to the house, etc.). In most cases, this results in a gradual destruction of the “best parts” of the environment around the village. Therefore, a community garden is also protecting the environment in many ways.
The end result of having rural women working in smaller groups in community gardens will be that they are able to move out of poverty much quicker than as an individual and all this in a sustainable way. Therefore, community gardens are an excellent tool for sustainable rural development and poverty reduction. The same goes for school gardens, where youngsters can practice working in small teams (e.g. classes) for better achievements and a better future.
Originally published at: