Bayawan City East Central School (BCES) is committed to teaching its students about organic gardening, or more specifically in their case, planting vegetables without the use of chemicals or synthetics. There is a garden on the school grounds currently, but the school's goal in partnering with World Connect is to develop its capacity to maintain and grow the garden, to teach vermiculture, and to promote recycling at the school. The long-term goal of the project is to establish a successful school garden that will reliably produce enough food to establish a successful nutrition program for the malnourished pupils at the school, reducing malnutrition by at least 50% within the student population. Practically, the project will lead to the repair of an existing hand-pump water source, the construction of a raised-bed enclosure for vermicomposting, and the installation of a test nursery to produce crops that have the highest nutritional value and the least impact on the local environment.
The school garden has been completed and the vegetables are being used in the school feeding program to help combat malnutrition among the students. The water pump has been reinstalled, allowing for a stable source of water for the garden. A vermihouse was completed and the school is generating income through selling worm compost. A nursery has also been established on site.
"Organic vegetable gardening not only adds years to people's lives but to Earth as well. I hope that in the future, through these children I taught, many if not all will believe that food can be produced in a natural way, an organic way. And that everyone can produce their own food naturally in their own backyard." - Imelda, Project Participant
"The students have really enjoyed the new gardens at the school. They like having the opportunity to have class outside and getting their hands into the dirt. It's been a fulfilling learning opportunity for them. And with the principal's interest in using the vegetables from the gardens for the feeding program, it has also improved the nutritional sources for the pupils. Parents of the pupils have been taking time to talk to the Project Leader about the gardens and been motivated by the school gardens to try small vegetable gardens at home." - Jennifer, Peace Corps Volunteer