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Michael Matete

In our series that looks into the many facets of the Nambale Magnet School, we highlight the school’s micro economy and its connection to hands-on real-life learning.  We introduce you to Michael Matete.

Michael supervises the schools farm production unit. This includes the crops, dairy unit, chicken facility and the pigsty.

Michael hails from the Nambale area and enjoys seeing the students understand the natural world and learn ways to cultivate sustainability. He has a busy job. His day starts early but he sees joy in overseeing the vital organism for the Nambale Magnet School.

Michael oversees making sure the food supply of the students is adequate and enough throughout the whole academic school calendar, this reduces the expenses on purchasing food. The food the students consume is organic and grown locally on the farm and picked fresh daily. Lessons on proper nutrition and hygiene accompany this aspect of the school’s operation.

Excess farm production is sold to the community generating income. The farm’s biggest sellers are eggs, milk, and piglets. Sale of these items reduces the general operating costs of the school making it one of the financially sustainable elements in the schools

The farm is equipped with a recently installed weather station. This allows better understanding of weather patterns and allows the farm to forecast the weather and plan accordingly. The students enjoy the benefit of lessons in meteorology.

The farm has an extensive greenhouse where kale, tomatoes and other vegetable are grown. The vegetables are harvested and cleaned and prepared daily for the population of the school. Every morning you can see the kitchen staff and student helper cleaning and preparing the vegetables for that day’s use.

Recently a sun drier was acquired at the school’s farm to enable the farm to dry the produce for use later. If there is a surplus of crop it can be dried and used during a less bountiful yield.

The farm also has milking machines that enables a higher production of milk for the school and makes the sale of milk one of the farms greatest assets. Other farm sales include the vegetables, eggs and piglets.

Chaff cutters are machines that chop the hay and straw grown at the school to be able to be used as fodder for the livestock. This is another component to the full loop agricultural self-sufficiency aspect of the farm.

Thanks to a grant from the Rotary International, a bio-digester was installed. This bio-digester takes the effluence from the school and separates the Methane gas and turns it into Biogas that is used to heat the school’s water and used for cooking. The solid by product of this production is called slurry and is used as fertilizer for the school’s crops.

The students are brought to the farm area to observe and are taught practical lessons in science, agriculture, and environmental best practices as part of their curriculum. In an agrarian area like rural western Kenya this understanding of best farm practices offers an avenue for young learners who choose to go into agriculture in a sustainable way.

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