Welcome to MyFarm weekly. This is the place you will find anything and everything we have been up to here at the farm.
The women in Gambia are strong, powerful, resourceful, smart and capable, and deserve to be and feel empowered. We are organising a day that will showcase empowered women throughout the Gambia and inspire the next generation to follow their dreams.
Inspiring people to be the best that they can be is what MyFarm is all about. Tomorrow (Monday 11th October) is International girls day. While it is unfeasible for everyone to gather together on Monday, we have arranged Friday to be a day full of workshops, activities and speeches, and even a documentary film all designed to showcase amazing things women in this country do. We have partnered with the Women’s Initiative Gambia to help us facilitate this inspiring day. Workshops on the day will include, soap production ran by the MyFarm processing team, recycled jewellery making and rubber tyre recycling ran by Isatou Ceesay from the Women’s Initiative, and several garden activities ran by the MyFarm garden team.
We want as many children as possible to come and learn at MyFarm, our Learning Lab concept is now being proven all over the world to be more effective than standard education…It is our mission to make sure the children of Gambia, and the world benefit from this. This week in education, this has been our focus. We have been holding meetings with the local schools and encouraging students to come and be a part of the learning process. Its worked!!! Attendance in our labs more than doubled throughout the week and we are aiming for even more in the coming weeks.
Did you know that in Gambia, over 30 schools have now adopted the Learning Labs as part of their curriculum. Schools who have are seeing much better grades than those who haven’t! We have started the process of planning visits to all of these schools to make sure they are using the Labs correctly, and to give our expert training and top up their facilitators skills.
Elsewhere in eduction, we have been working on integrating garden activities into our education. The aim here is to give children knowledge about their environment and show how things in Gambia relate to the wider world! The children this week were led by Ousman in a very wormy activity. They helped replenish our on site worm farm and learned all about the importance of these little invertebrates to our garden and agriculture in general. The children also enjoyed planting some avocado seeds throughout the farm. Each child was given a seed and it is their responsibility to help it grow…
In The Garden
We have had a truly fantastic week in the garden this week. Saidou, our resident local building expert has been all over the farm making things to improve the farm. As always we use only materials found at MyFarm. Saidou and the team turned the foundations of an old and knocked down building into a wonderful space for visitors and children alike. The concrete foundations now have a beautiful local archways over it and in time flowers will grow over the whole thing. We will use this space as a teaching area for the kids and a beautiful sitting area for visitors.
Our practice permaculture training continued this week and Alieu and Ousman taught the trainees how to make biochar, sustainable biochar by the way. We normally make biochar using specialised drums, to limit the oxygen supply to the burning wood. This time, to relate to the trainees that we will be training in the future we decided to try it the local way. This involved piling dried wood for burning and over the top of that covering it with fresh green garden waste, then covering the whole thing with dam soil from around the farm. This would burn for 3 whole days before it was ready, and came out the perfect biochar to use in the garden. The trainees loved this technique and we will be using it again for sure.
Permaculture is everything you do in your system. This includes improving your soil, testing and trialling new techniques, and also (like some people forget) your yield, and yield is not limited to just what you grow, it is also what you produced. That means that our processing team have to get involved with the training too. Isatou delivered 2 amazing trainings for the participants. She led them in detail soap making, and body butter making. The trainees found this just fascinating and are looking forward to testing their own products in the future.
Every Week gets Better & Better
Every week seems to be getting better and better at the farm. We really are in the process of realising our mission which is to “improve livelihoods in Africa and around the world, through education in agricultural innovation, environmental protection, entrepreneurship, and new innovative learning methods for basic literacy, numeracy, logic and concepts.”