School Gardens in Cameroon
Here are recent news from the school garden project of IDAY-Cameroon. Thanks to the Turing Foundation, IDAY-Cameroon launched in 2018 a project aiming at integrating school gardens in 60 schools over a period of 3 years. 5,280 students, their teachers and their families are targeted by this project. IDAY and Teachers Without Borders Belgium (TWB) have started a collaboration on this school garden project in order to encourage teachers to use it to teach their subjects in a lively way. You will find the information in a previous article by following this link.
Impact of COVID-19 on the project
1. IDAY-Cameroon has launched an initiative through the WhatsApp group which brings together teachers and directors partners of the project: “VISIBILITY 3R – 3P – 24PSG”. During the eight days of this program, the speakers posted in the group information with photos on the situation of the 24 pedagogical school gardens (24PSG) set up in 3 regions (3R) and monitored by 3 focal points (3P) during the period of school stoppage imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. This allowed IDAY-Cameroon to keep in touch despite the travel ban and to see how the school gardens were maintained for the return of students. The vast majority of photos and texts from the participating schools show that they found a solution to maintain their “educational laboratory” during the pandemic.
2. Due to COVID-19, Teachers Without Borders was forced to postpone the training mission planned for the summer of 2020. IDAY-Cameroon therefore organized a “peer-to-peer” training for teachers of the new schools in the next phase. It is the teachers and school principals already trained who provided the training based on the 15 lessons that the TWB gave and taught them.
The specific objectives of these trainings were as follows:
1. To sensitize inspectors, pedagogical animators and teachers of the new schools associated to the project for the school year 2020-2021 to the use of Pedagogical School Gardens and Artemisia to improve the quality of knowledge transmission to elementary school students;
2. Strengthening the pedagogical capacities of former teachers of the project by sharing experiences. The trainees of summer 2019 became the trainers of autumn 2020 in the forced absence of the teachers of TWB;
3. To promote and popularize the method “Competence-based approach” in school educational gardens;
4. Strengthen the capacity of pedagogical facilitators and district inspectors in project areas to assess teachers in pedagogical situations in a school garden.
In order to sensitize children and their families to the plant, IDAY asked a Cameroonian author-illustrator, Vincent Nomo, to create a children’s book which is published in Cameroon. This is how the book Yanou has malaria was born. This awareness-raising tool is also used in other member countries of the network. In addition to this, a pedagogical guide for teachers was recently produced by the publisher to encourage teachers to use this book in their subjects.
This project is part of the government’s “green school” plan. IDAY-Cameroon has therefore involved the Minister of Education from the beginning of the project. The Minister of Education provided support in terms of human resources by mandating regional inspectors to participate in the activities and monitoring of the project in order to ensure its harmonious and effective integration within the schools. A partnership agreement between IDAY and the Ministry is underway to ensure that the authorities will use this approach in other regions of the country.
When “Artemisia” becomes the word we learn in the 1st year at school!