Of the many exciting activities supported by FutureLife-Now! at Naboye Secondary School in Zambia’s Kafue district, the production unit is one of the programmes that has grown in leaps and bounds.
The production unit of the 53-year-old school undertakes farming projects to help the school raise finances. The unit aims to develop farming skills in the learners which eventually result in a supply of fresh produce.
FutureLife-Now! has been active at Naboye since 2020 and learners have been actively involved in the many projects that fall under the production unit. “Working with learners has been the most interesting thing when it comes to the school’s production unit,” says Alice Kaunga, the school’s FutureLife-Now! focal person. “The interest shown by the learners in the production unit has been so impressive that it has attracted even those learners who were initially not interested in coming on board.”
Naboye’s production unit farms fresh produce – mainly tomatoes, onions, and citrus fruits. It is also known for its fish production and since the involvement of FutureLife-Now! there has been a noted improvement in the quantities of produce. For example, training and knowledge input has resulted in the doubling of tomato and onion seedlings. The resulting produce is sold to the local community and the income goes directly to the school.
Learners at Naboye say that their participation in the FutureLife-Now! production unit project has benefited them in acquiring practical knowledge and skills that will help them throughout their lives. “We are given an opportunity to plant trees and grow fish, something we would never learn at home,” explained Dalitso Mwanza from Grade 11.
Grade 11’s Sangwani Zulu says that the learners involved in the production unit are kept busy after school. “This means we have no time for engaging in unacceptable behaviour such as substance abuse.” Another Grade 11 learner, Ian Chibeka, says, “We learn how to make money through agriculture. For example, we are trained in the fish feeding programme which in some cases, results in our starting small fish ponds of our own at home.”
The school’s principal, Loveness Zgambo, says that besides knowledge and skills, learners benefit materially. “We have also observed that the programme has helped in behaviour change among many of the learners involved in the programme, and it has also had an impact on school activities in a broader sense.” For example, she says, part of the profits realised from sales of the produce is used to fund some of the school’s co-curricular activities, like buying snacks for learners taking part in FutureLife-Now! weekend sports events.