Monrovia - Youth Exploring Solutions (YES), an accredited nonprofit, passionate and voluntary grassroots youth-led development organization has harvested its first Organic School Garden which is owned and operated by the Environmental Club of 15-Gate All God’s Children School System situated in rural Montserrado County.
In spite of the sunny weather with extreme heat, a 20-minutes footpath walk crossing a wooden bridge, and an army of ants on the corn sticks, Lilieth Whyte, Economic Officer of the U.S. Embassy Monrovia alongside her colleague Mark from the United States Agency for International Development including members of the Environmental Club, faculty and staff members of 15-Gate All God’s Children School System as well as official and volunteers of Youth Exploring Solutions participated in the harvest of corns from a segment of the Organic School Garden which is a little over two acres of farmland. The harvest event was a complete excitement for members of the Environmental Club coupled with the school administrators and teachers who have labored very hard to cultivate the corn garden behind Monie Captain’s Farm that is 45-minutes’ walk from their school campus located in the 15-Gate community. Madam Lilieth Whyte thanked the school for their participation in a U.S. Embassy funded project which ultimate goal is to establish an environmentally aware culture in Liberia through research, education and action utilizing a youth-led sustainability movement in the areas of energy, water, food, waste and ecology. “On behalf of the U.S. Embassy Monrovia, we are very happy to participate in the first Organic School Garden harvest. I am hopeful that you will grow more food through eco-friendly approaches and eat what you grow as well as develop career opportunity in agriculture so as to replace Liberia’s aging farmers” The Economic Officer encouraged school administrators, teachers and students to grow tomatoes alongside other vegetables in order to yield considerable economic benefit that could possibly be used to expand the garden and solve some of the challenges facing the school. The school administration lamented that a greater portion of the corn garden was destroyed by fire and it has already been replanted and would be harvested in three months. If it hasn’t been for the fire disaster the school was going to harvest over 20 bags of corns. In a joyous mood, Principal Levi Learwellie expressed his deepest and warmest appreciation to the U.S. Embassy Monrovia for supporting Youth Exploring Solutions to implement “Building a Sustainable Liberia” project of which his school is one of the direct beneficiaries. Principal Learwellie indicated that his school has long been desire to cultivate organic school garden, but it wasn’t possible due to inadequate source of funding; however, the Building a Sustainable Liberia project is a dream come true. “We have been able to train our students to become lifelong farmers irrespective of their future professions and we are very happy that our campus has become a green school, where the students have been taught to recycle, reuse and reduce waste as well as acquired knowledge and hands-on learning opportunities to create an ecosystem of innovation in the areas of Energy, Water, Food, Waste and Ecology through research, education and action utilizing a youth-led sustainability movement” the Principal of 15-Gate All God’s Children School stated. Mr. Learwellie continued: “I am very proud that our students have been engaged, educated and empowered to turn their ideas into practical solutions through a variety of initiatives ranging from Leadership Summit, to Clean Water Summit, to Energy Access Talks, to Liberian Environmental Awareness Forum, to Environmental Restoration Initiative, to Clean Toilet and Safe Drinking Water and Washing Hands campaigns among other innovative and eco-friendly initiatives on our campus. The Principal asserted that they planted coconut trees to provide food, habitat for wildlife as well as other trees to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. He revealed that they discussed a lot of major ecology issues including deforestation, logging, and the damage that such practices like slash and burn agriculture have on the Earth. Meanwhile, Mr. Learwellie has revealed that the school will harvest its two additional Organic School Garden in four months which is expected to provide over 15 bags of cassava. We want to add value to our produce and connect our organic garden to market that provide attractive prices and also afford our students to learn how to produce other commodities emanating from the organic farm.