In order to achieve the objective of free education, “income generating activities” will be implemented in beneficiary Congolese schools.
Officially, school education in Congo is free but teachers’ salaries do not allow them to survive, so families usually have to make a financial contribution to ensure the functioning of schools. This situation penalizes the weaker sections of the population, including ethnic minorities such as the Pygmies, who are often totally excluded from the education system.
In this context, the creation of sustainable income generating activities over time will contribute effectively to improving the school conditions of the poorest villages and their children.
Three types of activities for generating income:
a. School vegetable gardens. In each school a garden will be created with crops suited to the climate and the products will be sold on the local market at a price that will be fair for buyers and sustainable for schools. We will cultivate species for which there is no dependence on the purchase of imported seeds, we won’t use chemical fertilizers and will minimize the use of pesticides and insecticides in favor of more sustainable techniques such as rotation and biological pest control.
b. Manufacture of fruit juices, jams and preserves. Two units will be built for the production of canned fruits and vegetables, powered by renewable energy, whose production will be sold on the local market to finance schools.
c. Beekeeping and honey production. The idea is to facilitate the transition from an activity of “honey hunters” who procure the honey in the jungle, often wiping out the bees, to “beekeepers”. This method is far more sustainable as a family of bees can produce honey for human consumption and at the same time ensure its survival.
Activities generating income will be realized thanks to the contribution of a parents’ committee under the supervision of a headmaster and, during the implementation phase of the project, of our local team.
The priority will be the remuneration of teachers in order to totally eliminate the contributions from families and to provide free access to school for all children and direct beneficiaries of the program.
Secondarily, producing food (fruit juices, jams, honey, fruit, vegetables) will guarantee children receive a meal.
All these activities will be carried out in the most environmentally friendly way, with respect for traditions and biodiversity.