Photo by Liz Rinaudo.
The Kenya FMNR project (Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration) is working in 24 schools in Wema Area Development Program. On 4 June 2014 we visited Emarangishu Primary School where some 200 students have become enthusiastic ambassadors of FMNR and they are actively practising FMNR on the school property and teaching their parents at home. The school has linked FMNR to the various subjects the children study – especially, but not only science.
Josiah Kwagma, State Agent, explained that prior to their school becoming an FMNR learning centre and introducing it onto their own school grounds, children were spending over half an hour per day looking for fuel wood for the school kitchen. “Since introducing FMNR, we have moved our society in a new direction” said Josiah.
Mr. Kigen, the school’s headmaster, said he used to be ashamed of the untidy appearance of the school grounds. “They contained an impenetrable, unproductive tangle of weeds useless for livestock and wildlife alike. Now that we have cleaned it up through FMNR I am proud. The grass has come back and we are planning to get a cow for the school. We even pick mushrooms – not previously available. The land was not productive at all before.”
Ester Chemjor, teacher and FMNR Facilitator, told us that the soil used to be unproductive. “There was nothing here before”, Ester said “but now we even pick mushrooms and the children are learning how to look for and utilize mushrooms as well as about all the benefits from, and necessity of having trees in the landscapes.”
The students performed a number of skits and songs extolling the virtues of FMNR and we were very moved by their presentations and poems.