Booms College initiates Agro Forestry as practical subject, nurturing future environmental stewards

Ephraim Munhuwei

An esteemed educational institution known for its innovative approach to learning has recently launched a groundbreaking initiative by introducing Agro Forestry as a practical subject. This pioneering program aims to equip students with hands-on knowledge and skills related to sustainable agricultural practices and the crucial role of forests in mitigating climate change.

With the global call for action on environmental sustainability growing louder, Booms College has taken a proactive step in instilling a sense of environmental stewardship in its students. Recognizing the urgent need to address climate change and protect natural resources, the college has integrated Agro Forestry into its curriculum to provide a comprehensive understanding of sustainable agricultural systems intertwined with vibrant forest ecosystems.

As part of the Agroforestry program, students will have practical sessions where they will gain experience in tree planting, forest management, and agroecosystem design. The goal is to encourage innovative approaches to agriculture that promote biodiversity, enhance soil health, and create long-term ecological resilience.

Booms has three classes studying Agroforestry as a practical subject from one to three. The form three students are the pioneers and will be the first to have a certificate in Agroforestry by next year.

N Chipuriro the Principal at Booms College adopted Agroforestry to be practiced as a subject at Booms and he is willing to receive as many students to come meet professional teachers at Booms College so that they gain quality knowledge in all subjects including Agroforestry as a practical subject.

Speaking with this reporter, the founder and director of the Clean Waters club, Clemency Mhoya who is also a Teacher at Booms College said, they want to engage with all schools to study this subject so that every child will know the implications of climate change and how to end the problem.

He said there are two teachers at Booms him, and Mr Machaya who is also an expert in Agroforestry subject. Mhoya further states that there are hardships in trying to engage with the formal schools since they have their specified subjects that they know but their intention is for the subject to be a national subject. They are trying to negotiate with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to facilitate Agroforestry in the new curriculum as a subject.

“Climate change is a global challenge, for example, concludes that ‘the warming of the climate system is an unequivocal and consolidated fact. Existing literature and other anecdotal evidence suggest that Zimbabwe is among the African countries that will suffer significantly from the impacts of climate change-induced environmental change. So we are working hard to make Agroforestry a national subject in both formal and non-formal students as we are trying to liaise with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to fascinate Agroforestry as a practical subject in the new curriculum,” said Mhoya.

“These changes have been argued to have severe implications on the ability of rural poor people to engage in meaningful agriculture and food production activities. In the context of Zimbabwe, existing evidence suggests that climate-induced extreme weather events such as droughts, cyclones, flooding, and heat waves are already having significant impacts on the ability of small-scale farmers to engage in meaningful agricultural and food production activities. So we have been teaching adults about tree growing to reduce the effects of climate change issuing certificates for them last month we issued certificates to about 200 people at Manyoni Primary School in ward 18 in the presence of Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Prof Paul Mavhima.

“But there is a proverb which says ‘you can’t teach an old dog future skills, catch them young,’ so we decided to shift from teaching adults to school pupils who will be the communal teachers of tomorrow and still have fresh minds to catch all skills and have knowledge,” said Mhoya.

Clean Waters Club Director, Mhoya said those who pass this subject have high chances to get jobs in many governmental institutions.

“It is not about getting knowledge and certificates but we are trying to open opportunities for these children in the future because those who will have certificates will have high chances to find a job in governmental institutions like EMA, Forest Commission, Agritex, World Parks to list a few, so we are paving the path of their future. We can also secure jobs for our students like teaching people about the importance of tree growing,” said Mhoya.

Booms College’s commitment to incorporating Agro Forestry aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 13 (Climate Action) and Goal 15 (Life on Land). By empowering students to understand the interconnectedness of agriculture and forests, the college is fostering a holistic approach to sustainable development.

In response to the news, students at Booms College have expressed excitement and a sense of responsibility.

“Agro Forestry is a subject that reflects the urgent need to address climate change while sustaining agricultural productivity. This initiative will equip us with practical skills that will be invaluable as we navigate a future increasingly shaped by environmental challenges,” said Nigel a student at Booms College.

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