Salesians in Gatenga, Rwanda launch vocational training project in organic and sustainable agriculture
The "Don Bosco" Technical School in Gatenga, Rwanda, has launched a study program to teach how to practice modern agriculture that improves crop yields and does not harm the environment. The training program in ecological agriculture is in line with the Salesian charism of caring for the Common Home and aims to promote organic farming in the Gatenga youth center and nearby communities.
The organic and sustainable farming project has been made possible thanks to the Planning and Development Office (PDO, in English) of the St. Charles Lwanga Vice-Province of Great Lakes Africa - to which Salesian works in Rwanda refer - and funding from Salesian Italy. Among its goals is to combat malnutrition among children under the age of five, especially those from poor families, who will be provided with vegetables as a nutritional supplement.
The program that is being implemented at the "Don Bosco" Youth Center in Gatenga has many implications, including environmental protection, youth training, support for farmers in vulnerable situations in finding work upon completion of their studies, and more vegetables to help combat malnutrition among the youngest children.
The organic farming curriculum will initially focus on greenhouse farming. This will avoid the consequences of climatic phenomena that could affect the growth of crops selected as part of a long-term program.
"This project aims to promote modern agriculture to make the community food self-sufficient, help students have a firsthand and practical knowledge of organic farming, and preserve the environment," said Salesian Fr. Serivilien Ufitamahoro, Director of the local PDO.
The Headmaster of the "Don Bosco" Technical School in Gatenga, Fr. Jean-Pierre Turabanye, added that the project "will not only equip students with new and more sought-after agricultural skills, but will also be a source of income for the school."
The Salesians in Gatenga saw the need for this program after the pandemic. Its development, they say, will help "improve nutrition, not only for the surrounding communities, but also for the students who eat meals at the school."
Felicien Dusabimana, AGL's PDO Coordinator, adds finally, "the project is in a pilot phase that will be expanded as it develops and the first results come in."