Education is a powerful tool to use in taking on many of the challenges we face today. Poverty, economic stagnation, poor health and wellness, and a myriad of other issues can be addressed by empowering others with knowledge and skills. At the Clinton Foundation, education is central to ensuring the effectiveness of many of our programs. For example, the Clinton Development Initiative (CDI) uses education to help farmers increase their productivity. In Tanzania, many of the demonstration plots that are a part of the Anchor Farm Project are located near schools and are maintained and operated by schoolteachers. The success of the demonstration plot depends on the commitment of the teachers and their students. To highlight this dynamic, we asked Mr. Eckson Kangalasi Kayuni—a teacher at the Mtitu primary school in Tanzania—a few questions about education and agriculture.
What made you decide to become a teacher?
When I was in school, there were very few teachers even though it was an easier job to acquire than others. Knowing the importance of educating the society and the need for more teachers, I developed a love for teaching. I like to point out that many leaders started off teaching, including the first president of Tanzania – Mwalimu Nyerere.
Why is education important in your community?
Education is important for many reasons. For one thing, a lot of the information on good agronomic practices is provided in writing. Therefore, if a farmer wants to improve their crops, they have to be able to read. Another reason education is important is because the transfer of knowledge from one generation to another, in many ways, can only be achieved through formal learning and education.
How is the school integrated into the Anchor Farm Project?
Our school runs demonstration plots that are used to teach children good and sustainable agronomic practices. For example, we teach students about soil conservation, weed management, proper timing for planting and harvesting, and how to correctly use fertilizer and seeds. We also teach them the importance of agriculture as a means of getting food and income. In fact, crops grown by farmers that participate in the Anchor Farm Project feed our students.
What do you hope for the future of your students?
I hope that our students become good farmers who conserve the land. I also hope that they teach fellow villagers what they learn about farming because agriculture is the backbone of the Tanzanian economy. Rural societies are employed more by the agricultural sector than any other sector. The crops that farmers grow not only feed their families, but they are also sold to provide income for the families. The money farmers get after selling crops can be invested into other things, like retail shops and other small businesses. Agriculture can lift people out of poverty, so I am very passionate about teaching my students how to become better farmers.