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Gardening and “Paying it Forward” at Ubiri Secondary School

March 26, 2020

The students at Ubiri Secondary School, like their primary school counterparts, have started their own income-generating project of vegetable farming. At their farm, students grow and harvest carrots, cabbages, and green peppers and sell them to the community. Their project received second place in the Regional Business Competition; the winners were judged based on criteria that included project visibility, creativity, innovation, teamwork, responsibility, marketability, and sustainability. With their second place win, the Ubiri Secondary School Club received 350,000 Tanzanian Shillings. They plan to use their winnings to support and expand their farming project by planting more crops and increasing their produce yield.

In order to keep the momentum of their project, twenty students have been recruited to join the Secondary School LEI Club. These new recruits will eventually replace the older students who will graduate. New leaders will be chosen from among the returning Club members and veteran club members will teach the new arrivals the first-year curriculum and continue to expand their gardening project.

Another feather in the cap moment for the Secondary School came when two of their students along with a teacher were chosen for the annual LEI Summit held in December of 2019, in Kenya. Of the 240 applicants, the chosen attendees had to meet a fairly high standard. The criteria included strong school leadership, excellent academic performance, discipline, and innovativeness, and for second and third time participants an engagement in pay-it-forward activities at the school or at the community level. 

Zaina, one of the students at the Ubiri Secondary School was chosen to attend the LEI Summit. She designed a business plan of farming pawpaw trees. On her return from the Summit, she started her business and began selling pawpaws, a tropical tasting fruit. Currently she sells about five pawpaws a week; Zaina plans to grow her business by selling the fruit in salad containers to the community. Another student, Christine, also chosen to attend the Summit, implemented her business plan to start a vegetable garden through which she supplies vegetables to her community. Both students credit the Ubiri School Club with motivating and inspiring them to realize their dreams.

Written by Sumathi Ramanath