MyFarm - an educational journey from seed to business.
This one hectare farm is a residential education centre for children, young people and farmers, providing an exciting educational journey from seed to business, acknowledging the importance of independent food security in an ever-more unpredictable global environment.
- Open 7 days a week, it offers a wide variety of tailored-made activities and course
‘Learning through play’ for the younger children from the local community using Lego, iPads, books and play structures to improve basic language and maths skills.
‘Learning through doing’ for Grade 6 + school groups and summer camps supporting the Gambian agricultural science curriculum whilst showcasing alternative technologies including solar ovens, parabolic cookers and solar dryers, demonstrating a sustainable future for the Gambia.
Extended training programs aimed at school leavers and young farmers integrating practical, agricultural training and environmental awareness with the entrepreneurial skills needed to add value to the products and market them profitably.
Much experience has been gained over the past few months running intense summer schools for drop-ins, grade 6 kids and also business courses for secondary school leavers.
We are currently in the establishment phase by trialing education strategies and methods which best suit the delivery of entrepreneurial, environmental and horticultural subjects in a Gambian setting.
Over the year 2012/2013 we will be focusing on developing session plans and activities for three distinct programs, all of which feed into the idea of 'from seed to business'. These are;
* Entrepreneurial business training for young people promoting self-reliance and independence through sustainable small-business creation.
* School Visits for Grade 6 and above focusing on environmental awareness and agricultural science.
* 'Drop-in' children from the local area, many of whom have no access to formal schooling. This program focuses on basic reading and writing skills, access to iPad´s, library work, learning through play including Lego and play structures interspersed with horticultural activities.
We are looking optimistic on the way forward!
MyFarm Produce is a brand developed to demonstrate both the viability of the business model taught at MyFarm and also the suitability of the products developed in a Gambian setting. The aim is to focus on crops and products which extend both the growing season and shelf-life, increase profits, maximise nutrition, and reduce waste and imports.
The availability of suitable packaging has always been a stumbling block in the Gambia so MyProduce has sponsored the importation of a range of practical jars and packaging materials for preserving foods and other products.
Through local sales agents, it provides an outlet for the farm produce generating some income to support the project. MyFarm Produce is a micro-franchising concept that is offered to the students once they have completed their training.
Some of our former projects:
Bakau Laptop Program
Gambia StartUp has recently started a laptop class for children in Bakau. The program teaches basic computer literacy to children who would otherwise never have the opportunity to learn such skills. We also use software which encourages basic literacy and numeracy through fun, educational games. The classes are held in the mornings and afternoons, before and after school. At present we are working with only a handful of laptops – each of which is being used by up to 25 kids a day – but we hope to expand this number very soon.
To increase sales and production of honey in the Gambia, we have started
a sales brand of honey called MyHoney. Read more on www.MyHoney.gm.
Our other sales channels: www.MyProduce.biz
School Materials and Football Equipment
A number of villages and schools have received school materials, football equipment -ranging from 2nd hand balls to new jerseys. These have either been supplied by Gambia StartUp directly, or facilitated by us and provided by Norwegian schools and private donations.
Water Bore Project
Access to clean water is a huge issue in Africa. Gambia StartUp has funded a bore and water tank in the village of Batalling and Sibito. Construction of a system of pipes to make water available from various locations within the village is currently underway. Many villages in The Gambia are without adequate drinking water, and this is another area we hope to expand in over the few years.
Medical Centre Project
Gambia StartUp has build new medical centre in the village of Kiang Nema. The centre will provide much needed healthcare for the village and the surrounding area. At present there is no proper healthcare available in the region. The nearest hospital is several hours drive away, and even arranging transport is expensive and often impossible.
School in Wellingara
In January 2009 Gambia StartUp provided funding for a new roof for the school. Before this the roof was made of palm leaves and was not waterproof, making school virtually impossible during the months of the rainy season.
Public Toilet Projects
Gambia StartUp have built public toilets in Kianga Nema and Batalling. Sanitation and waste disposal is obviously a big issue.