10 February 2020
Guest blog by Rose Huguet, work experience student
As a 14-year-old, an interest in some of the world’s major problems of today: poverty, gender inequality, climate change and lack of education in some areas, has led me to do a week of work experience at Farm Africa.
I chose Farm Africa as I’m interested in their work helping rural communities across eastern Africa to thrive. I am interested in how the charity’s work helps to improve gender equality and get as many children as possible to school for an education that will help them daily.
Here, I outline why education is so vital, and how Farm Africa’s work helps more children to attend school by enabling their parents to earn more money for their crops.
Five reasons children everywhere need education:
1. A minimum education is needed to be able to read, count and write, all vital skills for everyday life. The 132 million girls worldwide currently not in school are at a big disadvantage in life. A total of 102 million people aged 15 to 24 are illiterate, meaning that everyday information on important issues such as healthcare are inaccessible to them.
2. Having access to an education could lead to a more interesting and rewarding job that earns more money to support the family. Women who have completed secondary education are more likely to work and earn on average nearly twice as much as those with no schooling, according to a report by the World Bank.
3. Not having access to an education can cause children and young adults to be uninformed. This means not being able to take part in important discussions or taking interest in certain areas can become a problem.
4. Not having an education can lead to child marriage and early childbearing. Every additional year of secondary education decreases the risk of marrying as a child and having children before the age of 18 by six percentage points on average.
Many people Farm Africa has helped have one thing in common: they have invested extra income they have earned in getting their children or grandchildren to school.
Here are three examples of how Farm Africa has helped families ensure their children are able to attend school:
1. Susan Khamala, aged 26, is a farm worker from western Kenya who used to harvest maize and local beans. She used to get paid 200 shillings a day.
Since Farm Africa helped Susan’s employer Rachel to set up a business farming French Beans, which are in higher demand, she earns more money. Susan now earns 600 shillings a day. This is three times more than before!
With Farm Africa’s help, Susan’s children can now have the education they need every day. She commented: “I can now raise money quickly to pay for my children’s school fees”
2. Tanzanian schoolgirl Selina James, 17, helps her father with beekeeping.
The family took up beekeeping as it was less costly than farming. Selina’s father said, “Farm Africa gave my family five beehives and they also trained me to build beehives myself, so I built 16 more myself.”
Since the family started beekeeping, their income has increased, which has meant Selina can now go to school. “When we sell the honey I can buy food for my family and pay my children’s school fees,” her father confirmed.
3. Sheik Abdo and his family from Bale, Ethiopia, have been witnesses of a population increase in their area as well as a changing climate. Because of this, his family had to move for long periods of the year in search of pasture and water for their livestock. This impacted their children who had to drop out of school.
With support from Farm Africa, Sheik Abdo's community restored the grazing lands, and his family no longer has to move in order to earn an income. His children were allowed to go back to school and don't have to miss three months of their education each year.
Not all children are as fortunate; many farming families who had to take their children out of school for a portion of the year are never allowed to re-enter. "The directors said they have missed too much school," Sheik Abdo commented.