Celebrity Support (Bob Ewing / Direct Donations)

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Direct Donations
help others help themselves

Celebrity Support

by Bob Ewing

Celebrities from Bono to Oprah have show support for causes in Africa, I wonder if they know how much good they could do with relatively small direct donations to a child, a school  or a village. Amounts from $300.00 to 10,000.00 can bring enormous rewards. So how do we reach them and give the stars an opportunity to enrich someone’s life?


Hi Bob,

You put the right question: “How do we reach them and give the stars an opportunity to enrich someone’s life?”

Reaching them is only a minor problem. Those guys love to be contacted. But not with some spiny question like yours!

I do not know of one “star” interested in “small-scale” projects, because these are not efficient publicity-wise. Yet, constructing family gardens and school gardens in the drylands is the most cost-effective way to bring food security and to alleviate poverty of the rural people.

I only know that UNICEF ALGERIA accepted this message and reacted promptly with a splendid project in the refugee camps of the Saharawis in S.W. Algeria.

If only the “stars” could be convinced to follow that example. UNICEF could make them “ambassadors”, which in turn would be a fantastic publicity for them.

Is this message so difficult to understand? Maybe our pictures of the green gardens in the desert will convince them more easily than a thousand words? See my messages on the UNICEF-project in the Sahara desert (www.desertification.wordpress.com)

Let’s cross our fingers and not only count on the “stars”, but on every women or man of goodwill, wanting to see her or his small donation transformed in a green family garden of 30 square meter or a school garden of 200 square meter. Return on investment assured: 3 months later the poor rural kids and families will be eating fresh vegetables, grown by themselves. No more dependency on external help, no more begging, but their own sustainable production of food.

That’s a reality we can make true together: with the help of the “stars” and all of us, the goodwill people. Are we dreamers ? If not, contact us !

Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem

Gardening with Kids once again (Google Blogs Alert / HGTV)

Aiming at setting up school gardens in the refugee camps of the Saharawis people in S.W. Algeria, I am strongly interested in all diiferent aspects, educational and practical, of gardening with kids.

Therefore, I recommend to all my friends involved in this beautiful UNICEF project to read the contributions concerning this particular subject.

Gardening with kids can be extremely rewarding, even for food production at school, contributing to the lunch composition with fresh vitamins and mineral elements.  At the end of the day, “Gardening with Kids” can also be a valuable contribution to the kids’ health, avoiding avitaminosis and deficiencies.

Here is Lindsay Bond Totten’s contribution !

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Google Blogs Alert for gardening


Gardening with Kids

By Lindsay Bond Totten
Scripps Howard News Service

Oh, to be a kid again. Peeking under the leaves to see if there are green beans to harvest yet. Running out to the vegetable patch to gauge how much the “great pumpkin” grew overnight. Pulling the first radishes a little early because I-just-couldn’t-wait-another-day.

Hey, wait a minute. I do some of those same things today! Which just proves that gardening can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Gardening with children is not only fun, it gives them a skill they can use for a lifetime. Not all of them will, of course. Some will abandon the soil to pursue other hobbies. Many will take time off to attend college and start a career. But if the seed was sown in fertile ground, nurtured by garden-loving parents or grandparents, an individual who was introduced to gardening as a child is likely to find pleasure in it as an adult. Continue reading “Gardening with Kids once again (Google Blogs Alert / HGTV)”

My comment to Paul Duxbury’s “Potager”

I like Paul’s contribution very much (see the former message on this blog).  Although it contains mainly some general views on the matter, it may invite some people to start “potagering” at home.  Well done, Paul !

Let me just make a comment on one sentence : “Most potagers are grown in raised beds that allow better control over the drainage and reduce the chance of the vegetables from becoming waterlogged.“.  Alright, but !

I am very much in favor of setting up a vegetable garden in containers instead of in full garden soil, and this for  a couple of reasons.  Firstly, many people do not have the pleasure of disposing of an open gardening space.  When Paul says : “Potagers are particularly good for people who live on smaller lots of land or only have room for a small garden“, I am adding : “and for all those living in apartments, and having some space for a number of containers“.

That vegetable gardens (potagers) can be developed in all kinds of containers has already been discussed on this blog (see my former messages on “container gardening” and “bottle gardening“).

We will soon be applying these interesting gardening types for our UNICEF ALGERIA project in the Sahara desert in order to grow several kinds of vegetables and even young fruit trees in plastic bottles and plastic bags.  In doing so, the Saharawis people, living in the refugee camps in S.W. Algeria, will be able to avoid excessive evaporation when growing vegetables and fruit trees in the Sahara sand.  Thus, they will save a lot of irrigation water and obtain a maximum of food production with a minimum of water and labour.

Secondly, we will recycle a large number of bags and bottles for an interesting activity in family gardens and school gardens, thus eliminating a lot of plastic from the environment.  Kids will learn at school that plastic should not dwell around in nature, but that it can be used for food production (or flower production if you want so).  Used bags and bottles will be buried when planting the young trees, thus again avoiding too much plastic from spoiling the landscape (pollution).

Isn’t this a nice extension of Paul Duxbury’s potager type ?


My comment to “Education, long-term solution to poverty”

I can’t agree more with the statement that “Education is perhaps the best long-term solution to poverty in the developing world.” I also register with pleasure that “The World Bank has already given over $33 billion to education-related projects”. I hope that my recommendation below will be taken into consideration for more investment in practical projects, like the construction of a school garden for every school in the developing world.

Taking into account that “If developing countries can offer good quality education to kids, the results will be tremendous“, I can only recommend to incorporate into that “quality education” a number of very practical themes and issues, so that the children can develop interesting skills for their adulthood.  I am thinking in particular at “gardening skills“, always extremely useful and practical, even when they grow up.

Let me therefore suggest to introduce in all national education programmes for primary and secondary schools in developing countries the construction of a school garden, in which the children can learn the essential things about food production, soil improvement, water harvesting, water use efficiency and human health (vitamins, mineral elements, etc.).

Who would deny that this is as essential as language and calculus ?

Let’s follow the example of UNICEF in Algeria, launching its program of “Ecoles-Amies des Enfants” or “Schools-Friends of the Children“, in which the construction of a school garden is one of the main topics.

Strongly recommended.


Education, long-term solution to poverty (dgAlert / Thinkquest)

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dgAlert for Poverty


Thinkquest – A dollar a day / finding solutions to poverty



Education is perhaps the best long-term solution to poverty in the developing world. Time and time again, experts say that educating children, especially girls, is the key to ending the global �cycle of poverty.� Kathleen McHugh, of the non-governmental organization Save the Children says that �focusing on education is going to have ripple effects� will probably mitigate cases of HIV/AIDS� it is going to open up a lot of economic opportunities as well. I think that education is definitely a key area to focus on.�

Continue reading “Education, long-term solution to poverty (dgAlert / Thinkquest)”

Combating desertification in Asia (UNCCD)

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Combating desertification in Asia

Desertification manifests itself in many different forms across the vast Asian continent. Out of a total land area of 4.3 billion hectares, Asia contains some 1.7 billion hectares of arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid land reaching from the Mediterranean coast to the shores of the Pacific. Degraded areas include expanding deserts in China, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan, the sand dunes of Syria, the steeply eroded mountain slopes of Nepal, and the deforested and overgrazed highlands of the Lao People‘s Democratic Republic. Asia, in terms of the number of people affected by desertification and drought, is the most severely affected continent. To be fully effective, activities to combat desertification and drought need to be carefully tailored to the particular circumstances and needs of each country.

Continue reading “Combating desertification in Asia (UNCCD)”

All kids love gardening (Google News Alert / Mail Tribune)

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Google News Alert for : gardening

Mail Tribune : Southern Orgeon’s News Source – April 21st, 2007


Children & gardening


Extension classes give youngsters a chance to plant and nurture crops to harvest while learning about natural cycles

It’s a little-known fact, but kids under 10 love gardening, and — given some structure, projects, stories, teachings and friends — will choose it over TV and video games, say Master Gardeners who will present their sixth annual “Children in the Garden” series this summer.

A lot of kids have no idea about gardening. This really opened my kids’ eyes to it,” says Krista Cavanaugh, whose kids, Meghan, 9, and Daniel, 6, have tended plants, going from seeds, through weeding and watering to harvest — and the graduation day gala of making a pizza for parents, using their fresh produce. Continue reading “All kids love gardening (Google News Alert / Mail Tribune)”

Gardening with your kids (Google News Alert / About Fatherhood)

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Google News Alert for : gardening

About : Fatherhood


Gardening with Your Kids

From Wayne Parker,
Your Guide to Fatherhood.

Involving the Kids

For many dads, the ONLY value in a vegetable garden is what it teaches kids about values. Let’s face it—unless it’s in your blood, many dads can think of better things to do with their time than hoeing, weeding and fertilizing. Here are a few recommendations from dads who have successfully used gardening as a great fathering tool.

Involve Them at the Beginning. Let the kids be involved in selecting the garden spot, choosing what to plant, and how the garden is divided up. The more involved they are at the outset, the more committed they will be to the garden’s success.

Continue reading “Gardening with your kids (Google News Alert / About Fatherhood)”

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