Why plant fruit trees on school grounds in Tanzania?
School grounds in rural areas are public lands, thereby we avoid any complex land tenure issues.
Rural school grounds are the heart of a child's community and and it provides the perfect setting in which to engage other community members.
Gardening concepts taught to the children are eventually learned by the whole community. They will all become better gardeners as they transition from a traditional hunter gather skill base.
Children will be taught to plan for the future.
The children dig the holes, and water the trees; teachers learn silviculture from Tancan instructors, and teach children how to care for the orchard. The entire village takes ownership of the fruit trees, so in time, it will become a community garden. They plan to plant beans in the orchards this year, to enrich the soil.
Within five years the mature orchards and associated gardens become a productive crop of benefit to the entire school community. Children can market their crops and earn money for continuing their education which, at present, is only funded to Grade Five.
What does it cost to plant a fruit tree?
The cost of 350 seedlings and transportation to each school is approximately $2000 (US) - about $5.50 per fruit tree. An installed water cistern costs $ 1,500 (US). So the cost of each tree with ongoing care is about $10. Compost is used for organic planting.
How does it work?
Tanzanian citizens voluntarily manage the school orchard projects under the leadership of TanCan.
TanCan is incorporated in Tanzania as a not-for-profit organization. It is located in Iringa, Tanzania and managed by a dedicated group of local people.
TanCan directors have qualifications in agriculture, education and business.
The TanCan project organizers purchase the fruit trees and deliver them to the schools. They then teach the school community how to care for the orchards.
School Orchards Africa Society (SOAS) oversees the work of TanCan, reviews plans for the orchards in Tanzania and is the decision making authority for expenditures.
Canadians contribute to SOAS to provide the funds for the orchards ... with the added benefit of offsetting some of their their carbon consumption.
SOAS volunteers educate Canadians about Tanzania and create public awareness by giving presentations to gardening groups, conservation groups, work groups, clubs, schools, etc.
SOAS directors have qualifications in education, business, and a practical knowledge in permaculture.
A water cistern funded by School Orchards Africa and installed by TanCan at one of our schools
How did the vision to create school orchards in Tanzania come about?
The partnership took root during a dusty, bumpy jeep ride en route to the Ruaha game park in Tanzania. Swarms of little children walked along the road on their way to school. Many carried a large hoe over their shoulder. Others carried plastic buckets. Their chores for the day included helping in the fields, and bringing home wood and water. TanCan/SOAS grew from the passionate discourse that filled the jeep for the duration of that journey. The Loiselle's, from BC's Gulf Islands, had met Alban Lutambi, a visionary Tanzanian gentleman of exceptional talent .... a DREAM was born.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TanCan Hosts a Tree Maintenance Workshop 2015 (excerpts from TanCan report) The following participants attended the meeting: 1. Alban Lutambi Tancan Director; 2. Baptista Filipatali Tancan Secretary; 3. Gideon Laizer Tancan Treasurer; 4. Joseph Zacharia Tancan Extension Officer; 5. Selestin Lyavu Invited Agricultural officer – To give education; 6. School representative 2 teachers from each of 8 schools; 3 school children from each of 8 schools The following were invited for their positions and education system within the community: 1. Exavery Fute Ward Executive Officer – Mdabulo ward; 2. Antony Mpefu Ward Education Officer – Mdabulo ward; 3. Basanwa Mtafya Ward Agricultural Officer – Mdabulo ward; 4. Andreas Lutambi Village Chairman - Ikanga village; 5. Albert Kabonge Village Executive Officer – Ikanga village.
Every member from each school was given time to talk (each school child had opportunity to say something). Among other views and ideas we got the following from the open talk:
4 schools; Ikanga, Kidete, Mdabulo and Mlevelwa have already started harvesting some fruits in small scale. This fruits have been shared amount school children in different ways.
All schools have managed to keep the orchards clean by most of schools assigning each tree to one kid. Where those who maintain the trees better are given more fruits during distribution of fruits.
Some schools have appointed orchard committee to make sure orchards are maintained well
Some schools have started fencing off the orchards to prevent opportunistic thieves and animals.
Some participants said the fruit trees help turning environment look great and prevent soil erosion in their schools
The water reserve tanks have been a huge help to the school kids for clean drinking was water
Some fruits like avocadoes getting dark spots and dropping down (small scale)
Few trees leaves turning darker due to fungal diseases
Poor growth of trees during dry season as its very hard to get water for watering.
Theft of fruits from opportunistic thieves (small scale)
The community leaders had the following contributions:
They thanked Tancan and SOAS for coming up with the idea as the project has brought a very positive impact to the community. Some villagers have learned from schools and so they are planting fruit trees for their families.
School kids now bring the education from maintaining school orchards to their homes and community.
School kids will get necessary nutrition from the fruits that will improve their heath.
This kind of training give school children confidence to express themselves and give their opinions and feel the project belongs to them.
The Agricultural officer suggested that he is ready to teach school children how to graft tree in their schools, this is so the schools can aim to have even more fruit trees hence fruits turning into business.
The leader will now start educating every family to have some fruit trees. This will help them for nutrition purposes and to stop theft from school orchards.
TanCan attends a permaculture 'Train the Trainer' Course
SOAS is in consultaton with Seven Ravens - Permaculture Academy, a Salt Spring NGO, operating in Africa.
In 2015 we funded the TanCan Co-ordinator, Ottoman Joesph, to attend the level one six week course with Seven Ravens in neighbouring Zanzibar. Ottoman brought his knowledge back to the supporters, teachers and students of our schools.
The Seven Raven course teaches the interconnectedness of all aspects of a healthy, functioning eco system. Covering forest and nursery management, rainwater harvesting, pond systems, fruit and nut growing, perennial and annual gardens, farm business management, land restoration, value adding, alternative energy and implementing these practices in the developing world.
SOAS is assisting Ottoman financially in his enrollment in the Seven Raven's permaculture course, in BC, so that he will acquire the knowledge to better manage the school orchards. Attendance at the Canadian institute will also ready Ottoman for instructing permaculture in Tanzania. A Tanzanian Academy is in the works which will accept graduating students, teachers and the community-at-large.