Please support our crowd funding to extend the successful environmental education program, including the provision of Inga alley plots, to rural schools in Western Honduras. We have been supporting this program in the North coast of Honduras, where it has had considerable success. Go to
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We crowd funded successfully last year to provide such education in several schools in Cameroon. We have also supported Dr. Valle and colleagues to do thisat several local schools in Honduras. This has been very well received, and we are confident that it is effective (though follow ups are needed for some time), and much appreciated by the schools.
Lycée de Nkoumadjap, Cameroon. Inga tree for seed planted autumn 2011, photographed autumn 2014. Photo Gaston Bityo.
As we have several new members and subscribers who may not be as well acquainted with these projects, and many others who will have forgotten, this seems a good time to give you a brief overview.
Dr. Valle (right back) teaching a class on Inga to local school students in the FunaVid classroom. Back left is Dr. Tiiu Miller, visiting from Rainforest Saver. Photo Dr. Dodson.
In Honduras the teaching is led by Dr. Guillermo Valle, who is supported by several other professors from CURLA (part of the National University of Honduras). The course also covers other relevant subjects, (soils, plant physiology, nursery management) which are taught by the specialists in these subjects.
Dr. Valle started teaching students at a couple of local schools in 2006. This was expanded from 2010 on, with the support of Rainforest Saver, to more schools, and to teaching the teachers, who will then pass on the knowledge. Dr. Valle is working in association with a government sponsored tutorial program for rural schools. This covers 12 of the 18 departments of Honduras. He also works closely in association with FunaVid (www.funavid.com). FunaVid have many good facilities and a mountainside that is being reforested and designated as a nature reserve. Dr. Valle has planted several small Inga plots there. All that has provided good teaching facilities to local students.
Dr. Valle teaching students in an Inga alley on the FunaVid Mountain. Photo Tiiu Miller.
The map shows where the teaching has been or is being done (blue and green), and where the crowd funding aims to take it (red). There is more information about Western Honduras on the Crowd Funder page itself.
See description below.
On the left, students at Las Marias (one of the first six local schools, see map) are learning how to use an A-frame to plant their Inga rows accurately along the contours of a slope so that they prevent erosion. The middle photo shows seedlings planted in rows at Cacao school (also one of the six local schools). On the right is a large nursery where Inga seeds have been planted at one of the very first schools: Diamante de Sion. They wanted 500 seeds to plant Inga trees at their watershed to stop erosion, which was damaging their water supply. This shows how teaching school students has a wider impact.
Diamante de Sion school, one of the first to get an Inga plot. Photos Tiiu Miller.
The Inga plot at Diamante de Sion was planted in December 2011. The left photo, with Dr. Valle (looking not too happy in the rain) posing to show how much they had grown by March 2013. And on the right the same plot being pruned by the students in October 2013.
They first tried growing beans in the Inga alley after the Inga was pruned, but these failed. The lesson to learn: if there has been only one pruning of the Inga the pruned leaves may not make enough mulch to hold the water the crops need. You need two or three prunings. The Inga has since regrown and is now ready for another pruning and they will try again with more beans, hopefully with more success.
Dr. Valle (front) supervising the pruning at Diamante de Sion in October 2013. The gentleman in the red striped top is a farmer come to see how this is done. Visits by local people to the schools will help to spread the Inga system.
The photo on the right shows Inga regrown ready for the next pruning.
April 2015. Dr. Valle is giving a follow up class to students and teachers at Cacao, another of the first six schools.
Follow up visit to Cantor school, April 2015. Dr. Valle is explaining how to prune the Inga. Inset; Inga seedling at Canto, in March 2013, to show how fast it can grow.
Another follow up training session was done at Cantor school. There was much interest from both students and teachers, and 17 students and 3 teachers wanted a total of over 500 Inga seedlings to take home. These will of course be provided. This again shows how teaching the students will help the Inga system to spread. These students and teachers come from several surrounding villages, and what they do will be seen by their neighbours.
Internship students at FunaVid learning nursery creation and management.
Besides the teaching at the schools, for several years now carefully selected final year high school students have been coming to FunaVid to do an internship. They partake of a lot of practical work, as well as being taught by the professors from CURLA. RFS has at times been able to support this work. It has been highly successful. We hope that these students, having achieved a higher level of education in sustainable farming and care of the environment, will either become community leaders in their own villages, or go on to university and be able to contribute to the sustainable development of Honduras.
Atanga Wilson had contacts with five schools that were interested to join in. When we did the crowd funding last year he had started with three of them. Our money, among other things, paid for essential equipment, like the watering cans in the image below, all with Rainforest Saver written on them.
Since then he has sent photos of the fourth school planting their Inga plot, and the fifth school was to be started as soon as the rains came.
Students from Banga Bakundu government school with Inga seedlings, and planting them out with Mr. Atanga (in white cap and top) directing.
The teachers in these schools seem to take a lot of interest in the Inga project. Here a teacher is helping a young student plant his Inga seedling. Photo Atanga Wilson.
Gaston Bityo has been working with larger secondary schools. The Cetic de Nden has just planted their first Inga seedlings, which he left with them, apparently as a seed orchard, not as alleys. Gaston was not able to discuss their future plans with them, because when he was in the district and visited the school no one was there. He will of course visit them again, but this emphasises how poor these people are. The schools have no phones! So making arrangements is pretty difficult.
Gaston has three other schools lined up to start Inga plots soon, and last year’s crowd funding money should still cover these.
October 2014. The girls are unloading Gaston’s truck and carrying the Inga seedlings to the planting plot. On the right the headmaster himself is helping with the planting.
October 2014. The boys, helped by a teacher (in white) and the headmaster (on the right) are planting the Inga.
The Lycée de Nkoumadjap, the big secondary school Gaston first started to work with, is doing well. The Inga
that were planted there last October, and when Gaston visited the school very recently, he found them growing well, but some of them needing weeding. The headmaster assured him that the students will do that.
May 2015. Headmaster with well cared for Inga row at Lycée de Nkoumabjap
May 2015.These Inga alleys at Lycée de Nkoumadjap are growing well, but need to be weeded, which the students will do.
The headmaster of the Lycée de Nkoumadjap told Gaston that the students are very interested in this project. He wants, when the Inga is ready for pruning, to organize, jointly with Gaston, an Inga day in the school where they will invite all the parents in the villages around where the students come from, and other schools in the district, to see their Inga plot and explain to them how the system works. This will be a good way to spread the technique in the region.
But neither the Inga project nor true love runs smoothly. Inga has been found to be generally resistant to pests. It secretes nectar for ants that protect it from other insects. Nonetheless insects attacked the Inga at the school. The headmaster was attacking the insects with a chemical spray, but Gaston said to find another solution. We want the system to be organic. And indeed they did find another way. The local people can come and gather the insects and eat them!
I hope this has given you some idea of what the schools projects are about. Besides planting Inga some environmental education is also included. In both Honduras and Cameroon the indications are that not only are we helping the next generation to farm sustainably, but that these school projects will directly encourage the local farmers to adopt such better methods too.
Rows of cute kids with Inga seedlings look lovely, but behind that lies a vast amount of work – to grow the seedlings, transport them, contact the schools even when they have a phone, etc. Gaston travels many miles on terrible roads to do this work, and Dr. Valle will be venturing into the back of beyond to take the Inga where it is most needed. All this costs money. They do the work. Rainforest Saver supplies the money. Please support our crowd funding with whatever you can spare, and enjoy some of the exciting rewards that we have devised for you. Go to pledge at
This is an all or nothing crowd funding site. If we don’t make our target, by 18th June, we get nothing. So please help us reach our target. Thank you very much.
Secretary, Rainforest Saver