In Burkina Faso, a school garden enriches the canteen and plays an educational role for pupils

Photo credit: Dramane Sessouma

At Obdaga Public Primary School, the school garden is the pride of the pupils. Cabbages, onions, tomatoes and okra have grown well and are used daily to enrich the school canteen. Set up by Aide et Action within the framework of the Support to Schooling and Health Development Project (PASS), the school garden - now entirely managed by the community - has a double function: nutritional and educational. 

The Schooling and Health Development Support Project (PASS) developed in the village of Obdaga in the rural commune of Manni, Burkina Faso, was officially closed a few months ago but its impact is still remarkable and its sustainability seems assured. Indeed, the community is committed to managing the school garden so that its nutritional and educational benefits can be sustained.

Community mobilisation and engagement

Implemented by Aide et Action, with the financial support of the Orange and BEL Foundations, the project aimed at improving access to quality education, drinking water and health services. It allowed the construction of two boreholes, a Health and Social Promotion Centre (CSPS), two latrines and the renovation of the school's kitchen. The establishment of a school garden was added to these actions in order to contribute to improving the nutritional conditions of the pupils but also to respond to educational issues.  

Once the project was completed in October 2020, community stakeholders (members of the Parent Teacher Association, the Mother Teacher Association and the Management Committee), teachers and students made a commitment to sustain the school garden. For the current school year (2020-2021), the gardening activities could therefore be continued without interruption. And today, it is a great satisfaction: cabbages, onions, tomatoes and okra have grown well and are partly ready for consumption. " We started the garden activities in our school field in December 2020. We had to finish harvesting beans, pearl millet and sesame first "The director of the Obdaga public primary school, Mr Alhagi DIANDA, said. 

A tool for teachers, a pleasure for children

The harvest from the field is used for the school canteen. " The training of community actors on their role and responsibilities by Aide et Action has contributed to the awareness of parents on their involvement in supporting teachers in school management "The school headmaster adds. For the management of the school garden, an organisation has been put in place. Pupils in the Cours Elémentaire (CE) and Cours Moyen (CM) water the plants during their practical activities in the school curriculum. On days off, especially Sundays and during holidays, members of the Association of Mothers Educators (AME) take over. As for the Management Committee (COGES), it has purchased the seeds which are made available to the pupils organised around their school government. The training and implementation of the school government was also supported by Aide et Action, still within the framework of the PASS project. 

For the headmaster of the Obdaga school, the continuation of the school garden is important for two reasons. " On the one hand, it enriches the canteen meal with vegetables and on the other hand, it plays an educational role by serving as a practical case for the agriculture lesson. It's easier for the teacher to get the lesson across from ploughing to harvesting. Parents are happy that we show their children how to take care of a plant "the headmaster insists. The pupils themselves enjoy the garden. The watering hour for each class is a time of relaxation for the pupils and a time of learning the job from their parents for the most part. 

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