Experiment with vegetables in Mali
by Marjan Schaapman on 06 May, 2016

GAAS-Mali together with the Van Doorn Foundation launched in 2015 a project that aims at improving water supply, sanitation and quality of education in Noukoula, Mali, and increases the participation of girls in education. This project includes:

  • establishing a greenhouse (purpose: training in horticulture, generate food and revenue. The proceeds from the sale of horticultural products serve as a stimulus / incentive for families to send their daughters to school.);
  • digging a water well (purpose: supply water, i.e. drinking water for the school and water for irrigation of horticulture); and
  • education about hygiene in school by training teachers, distributing hygiene kits and constructing child-friendly facilities (purpose: supporting health and improving the very poor hygiene).

 

Multiple sponsors make the realization of this project possible, and from the latest progress report of GAAS Mali, early 2016, we notice that the greenhouse has been erected next to the school and a drip irrigation system installed. Significant progress has thus been made!

 

In 2015, the water well was dug, a water tower built and teachers, pupils and their parents (mostly mothers) trained in horticulture, e.g. techniques growing horticultural crops, to plant seeds, seed germination, transplanting seedlings, nursing plants, watering and fertilizing, maintaining the greenhouse,  recognizing, preventing and combating plant diseases, and when and how to harvest, etc. After the training, everyone was very motivated to bring theory into practice, and started in the first quarter of 2016 with the planting of crops which normally only grown during the rainy season or are only available from the market.

Watertoren  Groentekas

 

A few pupils from the school in Noukoula with their parents started early this year an experiment; growing of lettuce and cucumber. Sounds simple, but was not and it was not entirely without problems! The greenhouse in Noukoula is the first in the region and there is little experience on which you can rely. At first the greenhouse was completely closed, so temperatures inside rose too high that it destroyed the new plantings ... Every beginning is difficult!

Meanwhile - thanks to advice from greenhouses specialists from the capital Bamako – the importance of watering and ventilation has been is taught, they got the first harvest! School management and teachers accompanied the parents and pupils with the next planting and ensured that there was adequate ventilation. The advice has paid off and the second planting was therefore more successful. The first harvest was not bad, a portion was used for own consumption, the rest supplied to the local market yielded FCFA 113,000 (about € 175), which has been used to buy materials such as chalk, pencils, etc.

Groentekas3  Tuingereedschappen

 

School management and the teachers are very pleased with the knowledge that you can grow vegetables through the whole year in the greenhouse, even during the dry season, when temperatures in the Segou region measure around 35 ° C. Vegetables are now grown traded and consumed throughout the year!
Everyone was excited, but also aware that it requires more experience before the harvest will generate the targeted additional income. But it's a start!


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