Improving Food Security
The Gashora Farm was developed to provide nutritious food to the dining program, create an outdoor classroom, generate revenue for the school, and serve as a model farm to the community farmers. The Farm is located on the parcel of land which the campus resides.
The Farm is considered one of the nine model farms in Rwanda by the Ministry of Agriculture, being one of the best demonstrations of small scale irrigation and crop management in Rwanda. Gashora students have been active in blending their STEM education and passions through farm-based internships and projects as well as starting their own businesses. One of the indicators for entrepreneurial success is the ability to take risks and fail. This program allows our students the support and opportunity to experiment, be creative and fail. e Rwanda Ministry of
Our students have also had much success. For example, a group of students had never had peanut butter before and started experimenting on making their own. This eventually turned into “Gashora Gold” is now sold in hotels in Kigali. These students learned how to take an idea and bring it to fruition. Today our students have completed over 100 agricultural projects ranging from hydroponics to pigs as a source of recycling. We have student businesses including fruit juice, mosquito repellent (our girls grew the materials) and so much more. Gashora students have also been able to work with the local community in supporting farmers from running soil testing to advising on plant and crop rotation and irrigation.
In addition, thanks to grants from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, we have 55 graduates studying in some of the leading schools of agriculture in the USA, Canada and Costa Rica with the hope to bring their knowledge back to Rwanda in order to help address some of the biggest agricultural and food security challenges the country faces.
“I want to create software programs, machines or robots that can impact agricultural development in Rwanda; I want to do something that connects technology with agriculture, something that is practical changes peoples’ lives.” Amandine Manywa Nijimbere, Class of 2015, Pomona College, ‘20
Research underscores the link between nutrition and cognition, an especially important focus in Africa. By providing healthy food to our kitchen, the farm plays an important role in the physical and mental development of the girls.
The farm serves as a hands-on location for biology and chemistry classes, and in the past two years, a significant number of girls have begun independent research projects applying classroom lessons to real world challenges and opportunities, an especially important focus in a country where 90% of the population is involved in agriculture.
Thanks to generous support from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, we have expanded the farm, allowing for a wider range of income-generating crops. In addition, the farm now has contracts to supply some of Kigali’s top hotels, including the newly-opened Marriott Hotel, with produce and eggs.