Newsletter May 2006

It’s Not About Men, and It’s Not About Fish…

It’s about Education!

Three months on and we’ve another fine catch of stories for you, with even more examples of how income generation within schools can help support the cost of that education.

We’ve news from the cutting edge of agricultural education including a school in Kenya that's not only providing livelihood skills, but selling the equipment that makes it possible.

There’s also more on a Paraguayan school that's teaching students how to climb the 'value ladder' in its dairy.

...and finally, discover why we've been taking a break from transforming vocational education to hang out with a Hollywood legend.

  • Keeping Kenyan Bee-Keepers Sweet
  • Teach A Man To Fish – Brushing Shoulders With Hollywood!
  • Milking It for All It's Worth - Adding Value in the Dairy
  • Tell the World - How To Go Global in 14 Steps
  • Share Your Story With Us

Keeping Kenyan Bee-Keepers Sweet

An agricultural college in Kenya supporting its programs with income earned from providing school-made equipment to its most successful students.

Vital as education is to reducing poverty, it can’t work its wonders in isolation. You can teach people to fish all you like, but if they don’t have the basic equipment for the job, they’re still going to go hungry.

For enterprising schools however, this represents a two-fold opportunity. By training agro-entrepreneurs in livelihood skills, and then selling them the equipment needed to put their new skills to use, schools can meet the twin goals of providing a quality education and generating income to support their activities.

Nowhere is this better exemplified that at the Baraka Agricultural College in Molo, Kenya. Its beekeeping programs – taught both within the school and through outreach programs – have offered thousands of smallholders over the years an unrivalled chance to learn how to earn a living from producing honey.

Nonetheless Baraka realized several years ago that with greater resources it could create an even bigger impact. It made a strategic commitment to generating its own income through school-run enterprises, and established a workshop that now provides employment for 8 full-time production staff.

With quality beekeeping equipment often expensive and hard to find in rural Kenya they saw an opportunity to fill an existing gap in the market – one that would complement their educational work.

The initial investment required to start out in beekeeping is a substantial commitment for the typical subsistence farmer. Baraka’s know-how means however that they can provide a quality product, at a competitive price, and at a convenient location for their customers. The workshop now produces a full line of beekeeping equipment from hives and smokers, to protective clothes.

They’ve not only found another way to support their beneficiaries and local bee-keepers, but the money they generate from it can be ploughed back into extending their outreach activities.

All of which proves you really can have your honey cake and eat it!

Teach A Man To Fish – Brushing Shoulders With Hollywood!

Robert Redford lends his support to social entrepreneurs, including TeachAManToFish director Martin Burt, who are trying to change the world from the bottom up.

It’s not every day that you get an endorsement from a Hollywood legend, but that’s what happened when Teach A Man To Fish took part in the recent Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford.

Robert Redford has long supported the Skoll Foundation. Created by Jeff Skoll, the first president of eBay, it aims to identify the people and programs already bringing positive changes to communities throughout the world, and empower them to extend their reach, deepen their impact, and fundamentally improve society.

There being nothing like a celebrity to attract a little media coverage the BBC weren't far behind, helping us to bring the idea that education can pay for itself to a whole new audience.

It’s not quite as glamorous as being in the movies, but we still get excited about being on TV. Why not check out our performance on the small screen:

- Watch the BBC News TeachAManToFish clip.

- Watch the BBC News Robert Redford interview clip.

Milking It For All It’s Worth – Adding Value in the Dairy

The school in Paraguay that’s maximising income generation from its herd by 'adding value' to its dairy products.

This year the San Francisco Agricultural High School in Paraguay, run by the Fundación Paraguaya, is set to sell enough goods and services to cover nearly three quarters of its annual operating costs. How can a school manage to do that?

Dairy Cows In The Fields One way is to increase production, so the school has more products to sell. A still more effective way is to add value to those products, so that they can be sold for higher prices.

The milk produced at the San Francisco Agricultural High School is a case in point.

When the Fundación Paraguaya took over the school it had, on average, 11 cows producing 60 litres of milk per day - not even enough to supply its own needs. So, the school set about increasing milk production - first by improving the care and feeding of the animals it had, and then by adding more productive cows to the herd.

Caramel Production in the Dairy Product Processing PlantBy the end of 2005, the school had, on average, 30 cows producing 460 litres of milk per day - enough to meet its own needs and still have about 6,000 litres of milk per month left over to sell.

Selling milk was good business. But the school had a better idea.

In March 2006, it opened a small milk processing plant, which can process up to 500 litres of milk per day. Now it is now turning some of its milk into yogurt, cheese and caramel. One litre of milk makes about a litre of yogurt. However, yogurt sells at three times the price of milk, and there is a big market for yogurt in Paraguay!

By adding value to the milk, the milk processing plant is helping to speed the San Francisco Agricultural High School toward its goal of becoming financially self-sufficient. At the same time, the plant teaches students how this simple agro-industrial process works and shows them how adding value increases farm income.

As students at the San Francisco Agricultural High School are learning:

Practical agricultural skills + Business know how = A better future

….and that goes both for students learning how to overcome rural poverty and for the schools striving to teach them.

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