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What is the Micro Gardening & Entrepreneurship Program?
The Micro Gardening & Entrepreneurship Program is one of the most successful we offer. The program first teaches students how to make and manage their very own micro garden, then entrepreneurship, specifically related to micro gardening, gives them the knowledge to use that skill to make money and improve their livelihood.
This program has been implemented by MyFarm – Africa Startup many times and funded by ITC, YEP, and The European Union and has proven extremely successful.
One year ago we implemented this training program in Jiroff, rural Gambia, for 25 participants. We are so pleased to tell you that 6 of these participants have successfully started their own businesses and are improving their lives in the process. 10 have started full time employment across the Gambia, and the others have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to get going when the time is right 🙂
We believe in a very hands-on and practical approach to training. Our training guides are fun and easy to digest and learnings are reinforced by innovative learning methods to make comprehensive training programs, giving participants the best possible chance of success
What is a Micro Garden?
A micro garden is an intensive agricultural technique that utilises small spaces for big yields and was the focus for the second week of the program. It is perfect for the Gambia and other African countries, especially in the cities. Anything with a shallow root system can be planted and either consumed or sold at market for a profit, and the best part is, virtually everything in a micro garden is recycled or can be purchased for extremely small amounts of money. Lettuce, onion, herbs, aubergine, radishes, and carrots are just some of the plants that thrive in a micro garden.
What will they learn?
Micro Gardening & Entrepreneurship training can be implemented in 2 weeks. The first is an intensive skills week where participants will learn everything they need to know about setting up and maintaining their own micro gardens.
Towards the end of the first week students begin to be exposed to entrepreneurship by starting to initiate discussions around business and business principles using the amazing ‘How To Make Money’ newspaper (available to view here).
They will also use entrepreneurship videos’ and applications (available to view here), and will start playing Dipeo, the entrepreneurship board game. The final day of the first week sees students create their first action plans; these at this point are related to how they will start making their micro garden at home, later they will be used to start their very own businesses.
At every Micro Gardening training program students are gifted the tools and equipment they need to start their gardens. The students we teach do not have much, mostly they are from remote locations with very limited resources and this gesture really provides the enthusiasm and excitement needed for them to succeed with their gardens.
The second week links the micro gardening skill with entrepreneurship. We do this through practical training, educational role playing, the fun and easy to digest ‘How To Make Money’ newspaper, entrepreneurship videos and applications, and other innovative learning methods. The week is about getting them to think critically about businesses and analyse their needs to understand what it takes for them to start their own businesses. Lots of practical and fun role playing leads up to a fantastic finale to the week. The real life selling day. The real-life selling day is where students put all they have learned into practice and go out to a busy Gambian market and sell products from MyFarm (soaps, creams, seedlings, micro tables etc). For the day they will have to prepare marketing materials, record the stock they take, organise their team and utilize individual strengths, create nice displays, and of course use our 7 point sales technique.
We try to give students real-life experience wherever we can. We give students who express an interest in actually selling the micro garden training as a business the opportunity to do training in real life to invited guests. We love doing this as it helps the students and it gives back to the community too.
Throughout entrepreneurship week the MyFarm team provide individual support and guidance for students and their business ideas. At the end of the week all students must create their very own action plans related to their business ideas. After huge encouragement and a big well done, students graduate with certificates and are then off to start their “seed to business” journey.
Follow-up is always created using whatsapp groups and site visits where possible.
This training program has now been used all over the Gambia, and people, communities, and organisations are now seeing the benefit it can have on individuals.
30 beautiful ladies from the small village of Talokoto, WCR, Gambia have approached us because they are desperate to have the opportunity to learn these skills for themselves. Talokoto is a small village, but is unique in The Gambia for its progressiveness. The village is the only village in Gambia (that we or anyone else knows of) with a Woman Akalo, Akalo’s are the head of the community within a village.
The women of Talokoto have been running a women’s garden in the village for a long time, but as with everywhere in the Gambia, they are extremely seasonal in what they produce. Micro Gardening would help them combat their seasonality and enable them to grow vegetables to sell all year round. With a relatively small amount of funding, each lady will have their very own micro table to grow in in the wet season and learn all the skills needed to make sure growing is happening all year round. The ladies of Talokoto are one big community, even though they will all have their own tables, they have already expressed that they will collate all the tables and use them as a community growing space for everyone to benefit from.
During the program, we plan to to add additional skills for the women to learn that will also help them in their usual garden. We want to give these ladies a platform to ensure that their land is being constantly improved in tandem with their yields, thus improving the food security of this village for years to come. We will teach them composting, how to make and use raised beds, how to make key hole garden beds, how to make and use sustainable biochar, and many more tips and tricks that they can use to improve their soil, yields and their livelihoods 🙂
Every small donation will help us reach our goal of training these beautiful women. This program and our organisation is completely non-profit and all donations made will go directly to the training program itself.
The budget of the program with breakdown of all costs associated is available to anyone who would like it. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to get those details.