Mangroves and the Eco-nomy

We've been working to replace the need for Mombasa's Bangladesh residents to import food and conserve their environment. Two schools near a mangrove forest have:

  • begun stabilizing eroded soils by planting grasses and trees
  • catching rainwater by installing gutters
  • planting vegetables
  • and conserving the mangrove forests to stabilize spawning locations for crabs

February has been a great month. The schools have worked hard at their gardens and have tried to bring in water whenever it is needed even though there was a shortage. Baby vegetable seedlings are starting to sprout and the pioneer plants the lemon grass and bamboo are doing well.

PROGRESS REPORT FOR PERMACULTURE GARDENS IN ST. ANGELINE’S AND ST.PETER AND PAUL

The setting up of permaculture gardens in the two schools had the following main objectives for Grassroots Economics:

  • Combat the severe soil erosion in the compounds
  • Inculcate in the children a sense of social responsibility
  • Boost the nutrition of the families by growing vegetables and fruit trees in the gardens
  • Link the schools and the community through use of community currency

The objectives are being achieved gradually and the pupils have been working hard at it. Albeit we have had a few challenges but we are on course to set up within six months.

Combating Severe soil erosion. This objective is being achieved by:

  • i. Setting up tree nurseries that will provide a sustainable way to continuously plant trees even after the targeted six months. The children have set a target of planting trees at least three times their age by the end of the year Tree nurseries have been set for indegenous trees like the Mrabai, Bambakofi and Luceana which will be great pioneer trees as they already grow in the surrounding villages along with the Flamboyant and neem trees. We taught the children to do seed harvesting so we hope to have an explosion of tree species of their choosing as they have fun planting.
  • ii. Planting of pioneer trees and plants that will help in covering the ground and also combat soils erosion- this has been started off by the planting of Lemon grass and bamboo which are trees that have roots that can hold soil and are part of companion planting initiatives. The lemon grass can be used for pest control when planted around the vegetable gardens and will also prevent soil loss through erosion. Bamboo planted at the bottom of the slopes will hold water and also when planted at the top will help in cleaning grey water that will run into the kitchen gardens.
  • iii. We also ensured to build swales- that will help in slowing water down as it runs down the slope and is a form of natural water harvesting technique.

Inculcating a sense of social responsibility in the children.This has been achieved by:

  • i. Holding weekly sensitization classes- for the pupils on the uses of trees and how it is their resposibility to leave the school better than it is.
  • ii. We have also partnered with another organizations – so that they can be trained on the benefits of mangroves and how to propagate them. They have also started setting up mangrove nurseries. The mangove will be planted at the beach near the school and it will be their way of giving to the community.

Boosting the Nutrition of the community by planting fruit trees and vegetables. We started this off by ensuring the schools had:

  • i. Tanks with gutters- that at the onset of rains they would be able to harvest rain that will in turn nourish the vegetables.
  • ii. We also involved the community in digging of swales- that we filled up with manure and dry grass that we left for about for a month that would help in boosting the nutrition content of the severely eroded soils.
  • iii. We had the children trained on setting up tree and vegetable nurseries- that they would plant in the swales, and the other small vegetable gardens. Vegetables that are in the seedbed are: Kales, bringles and spinach. We hope to introduce gradually tomatoes, water melons, pumkins and some traditional vegetables as we want them to have a stacked garden with creepers that act as cover crops to retain moisture and other vegetables that grow taller. As for food and fruit trees we will introduce the nitrogen fixing and nutrient enriching Moringa Oliefera whose leaves are medicinal and super rich in nutrients along with paws paws, bananas, grafted mangoes and oranges. We will also introduce sugar cane on areas that pool with water.
  • iv. The schools have also been trained on companion planting- so that the know how to plant the vegetables and food trees to ensure maximum yield and using organic pest control methods.

So far each school has two kitchen gardens one that will be mostly vegetables and a few food trees and one that will contain fruit trees and vegetables

The schools as part of the Sarafu – Credit community currency.

At the onset we had meetings with the schools with one of the Bangla-Pesa representatives who would act as a link between the business community and the school. The lady Sylvia Osodo will ensure that when the community is involved in program is involved in the program especially the youth the business network can pay part of the labor fees in Sarafu-Credit from the community basket whenever the need for payment arises.

We envision however the community will gradually take part especially ones within the business network and once we harvest the vegetables we could have the business community buy in part Kenya Shillings and Sarafu-Credit and at a subsidized rate than they would get at the Market and have the schools in turn purchase goods or services from the Business community on normal days and especially during market days.