Sele is a name that will be familiar to our regular readers; in our newsletters, on social media, and here on our website we have discussed our flagship project "Sele's School" (here's our first article from 2018 on the subject: http://kwaninifoundation.org/2018/11/01/seles-school-our-flagship-education-project/
Since that article was written, however, we have several exciting new developments to share with you.
As part of our ongoing schools project we financed a washroom facility, with areas for boys and girls, to help maintain personal hygeine standards; ever a pertinent concern, but particularly during the current global pandemic. On a visit in November 2019 we discussed harvesting rainwater and the water from handwashing to collect it in an underground storage area. The collected water could then be used to grow vegetables, providing us with a great opportunity to show the children how to grow their own crops, teaching them lessons on cultivation and food management, as well as possibly showing them how to sell the fruits of their labours.
Accordingly, we supplied the school with hand tools and equipment for the children to start growing their own vegetables under the guidance of Sele, forming an after-school gardening club. This proved to be a very successful project, expanding in June 2020 to include a new chicken farm; Sele used the same model to establish a chicken coop, starting with chicks only a few days old. With good veterinary care and proper food provided through funding from Kwanini, the chicken farm has proven very successful. Another Kwanini team member, Rashid, assists Sele with running what they have dubbed their "chicken club", teaching the children the skills required in managing a chicken coop and the associated responsibilities. The eggs and the chickens themselves are used for both sustenance and for selling.
Last month, they invited the chairman of the Shahir community committee and all of the parents of the children to the village hall where they cooked several of the chickens and gave everyone a taster of chicken and rice. This proved to be a great success with several local people now wanting to know how the chicken farm works; we would like to collect donations to fund an initiative to replicate this system in other villages, as such a sustainable and land-based means of food supply will be a huge bonus in helping us to protect the natural marine environment along Pemba's shores, not just in our Marine Protected Area, from over-fishing.
The Kwanini Foundation is supporting this initiative through the provision of veterinary supplies and services, new chicks, and equipment; by June of 2021, however, Sele expects his chicken farm to be self-financing.
Not satisfied with these already great successes, Sele has now launched his own larger scale farm (a one acre-size plot), largely financed from the proceeds of the chickens with an irrigation system growing crops including spinach, tomatoes, okra, cucumber and watermelon.
As always, water is the main problem; The Kwanini Foundation is helping by financing an underground storage facility for rainwater to allow a consistent supply of water to the plot; this is especially vital during the dry season, but is a key feature for successful crop growth all year round.
These efforts are currently manged by Sele himself, with the assistance of Kwanini volunteer Rashid, two teachers from the local school, and three ladies from the village.