The Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is sponsored by the Mashav, an Israeli’s Agency for International Development Cooperation and was launched in the school in July 2013
A little-known school in Kisumu town is scaling the heights in promoting agricultural productivity and environmental conservation matters.
Joel Omino secondary school has become a model school in the country through its successful implementation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) programme.
The ESD, sponsored by Mashav, an Israeli Agency for International Development Cooperation, was launched in the school in July 2013.
Located 2.5 kilometres from Kisumu’s Central Business District (CBD), the school is currently empowering students and the local community to take up modern farming practices with a view of ensuring food security and reducing poverty.
As part of the ESD projects, the institution is undertaking a greenhouse project, which offers both economical and educational gains to the community.
Dickens Apollo, the school’s Agriculture and Biology teacher, says the greenhouse project started in March, presents suitable learning opportunities for the students in relevant subjects.
“The greenhouse project is a viable source of income for the school and a learning centre for students both within and outside the institution. Apart from the theoretical knowledge, we expect that after leaving school they will be able to apply the land skills for the betterment of their lives,” says Apollo.
He observes that the school has carved a name for championing agribusiness and environmental conservation matters through the ESD project, particularly the greenhouse technology. “We are now receiving many visitors either coming to see or learn from the activities in the school,” he says.
Besides the greenhouse, Apollo says the school is implementing 12 other ESD projects including a food tower, a bio-sand water filter, art and design, environmental conservation and the green wall.
Form three students Maureen Odiwuor and Gideon Ochieng’, both members of the ESD, say the greenhouse project has equipped them with life skills, especially on agribusiness.
“We don’t only depend on what is taught in class, but also apply some of the agricultural skills that come in handy with the greenhouse technology,” says Odiwuor.
She discloses that they plan to alternate tomatoes with other horticultural crops that perform well under greenhouse farming. Ochieng’ says this is the third harvest, noting that they anticipate increased yields in the future.
The structure has roughly 300 tomato plants being harvested. “We water the plants twice a day besides spraying them with pesticides to keep pests and diseases at bay,” he says.
They have conformed to using a spacing of 60 by 60 cm for planting. F1 Corazon variety has become a favourite seed for the school. The variety takes about two months from plating to harvest.
On average, the school has netted Sh10, 000 from the sale of tomatoes this season. The fruits are sold in packages of 1kg and 2kg, each kilo going for Sh100 at the farm gate. “Currently, the school staff, students and community are our customers for the produce. But with the rising productivity we intend to explore other markets,” says Ochieng.
A portion of the proceeds goes to buying books, paying part of their fees and the balance to farm maintenance. According to the school principal Richard Nyayal, the greenhouse project established at a cost of Sh365,000 is geared towards realisation of food security in line with Kenyan vision 2030.
Consequently, he says the students are equipped with a range of skills, which will enable them become productive citizens by the time they get out of school. “The school has become a platform for community development because the students apply what they learn here in their communities,” says Nyayal.
So far, he reveals that a number of schools and colleges across the country have visited Joel Omino with an aim of learning the new concept and the results have been positive.
The school also creates awareness on food security in its projects such as nutritional garden, the food tower, sheep rearing, poultry keeping and a bakery run by the students. “Through this project, we are able help the students raise the standards of their learning, thereby provide wholesome education,” explains Nyayal.