Saturday, 9 November 2013

WANTED - A School with Courage, Commitment and an Adventurous Green Spirit

WANTED… A School with Courage, Commitment and a Green Adventurous Spirit

There is a secondary school in the south of the Cameroons on the edge of the rainforest that is looking for a school in the UK to take part in a joint educational project, that would enable both schools to learn more about both their own environments and cultures and also those of their partner school. It would also like to plant an enduring educational resource in its grounds. This resource could help the local rural population to overcome the most serious environmental, economic and social problem in the area. At present one of the largest threats to the health and survival of the rainforests, comes from a method of agriculture practised by millions of poor farmers, that in most rainforest areas is no longer sustainable. Slash and Burn Agriculture depletes the nutrients and destroys the structure of rainforest soils so that areas that once contained lush rainforests can be turned into barren wastelands.

                                       An example of how continual slash and burn agriculture
                                       can turn lush rainforests into degraded land, where hardly 
                                       anything will grow.

 As more and more rainforest is burnt and more and more nutrients are washed away, the farmers’ lives become harder and harder so that many are forced to migrate to the slums of a nearby city. Yet there is an alternative, which could both provide farmers with a better, more secure livelihood, and help prevent the continued destruction of the rainforests. The Inga Alley Cropping System has been shown to provide farmers with much better yields and also most crucially retains the nutrients in the soil so that the farmer can continue farming on the same plot of land, and no longer needs to move every two or three years to burn more and more rainforest. The Lycee de Nkoumadjap, a Secondary School in the South Region of the Cameroons, would like to set up both a Demonstration Plot of the Inga Alley Cropping System and an Inga Nursery in their grounds to teach both the children and their parents about this new system. The local people will then have the expertise and the resources (ie the necessary Inga seedlings and training) to be able to begin their own Inga plots. The charity The Rainforest Saver Foundation – is offering an English Secondary School the opportunity to take part in this exciting project to help this school in the Cameroons to realize its dream.

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The Lycee de Nkoumadjap

The joint venture would also enable the students of the UK school to discover more about their own local environment, to learn more about rainforests and to improve and practise its use of the French Language. The students of the Lycee de Nkoumadjap would learn to value and be proud of their local rainforests, discover more about the environment and culture of the UK and practise its use of the English Language. Both schools would also be able to provide valuable new information about the little known town of Nkoumadjap on the worldwide web through the medium of Wikipedia.

The Lycee de Nkoumadjap is in a French speaking part of the Cameroons. Most Cameroonians speak their own native language and either French or English but are not usually fluent in both. Rainforest Saver are fortunate to have a dynamic Cameroonian partner called Gaston Bityo, a trained botanist and farmer who runs his own NGO, Volunteers Serving Development, who can speak both European languages. He has said he is willing to help liase the joint educational project and will be the Inga Alley Expert, who helps the school to set up its Demonstration Plot and Nursery. He is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Cameroon’s rainforest plants and will I’m sure also provide some useful knowledge for the new site that will be created on Wikipedia.

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Gaston Bityo and Mr Akono, the Headteacher of the the Lycee de Nkoumadjap, carrying the first Inga seedlings, that will create an Inga Seed Nursery.

The projects will enable both schools to get a greater understanding of both their own local environments and the very different environments of their partner school. Both schools will also be able to work together to help create a lasting educational resource that will enable local farmers and their children to farm more sustainably and so help protect the rainforests.  If you are at all interested in such a project please contact me, Charles Barber, the Rainforest Saver Education Co-ordinator by email at