May 27, 2022

Many schools have a class dedicated to agriculture; but in practice, the students clean the school rather than learn to plant crops. Since farming accounts for 30-40% of the continental African GDP and subsistence farming employs more than half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population, Faith Nchotu Ndinyanka aims to bring experiential learning of agriculture to schools across Cameroon.

“Growing up in Cameroon, agriculture was our primary source of income,” Faith said. “We were taught from a very young age that the backbone of the Cameroon economy is agriculture. However, this was all in theory. [I saw] the benefits of it to my household and to others and realiz[ed] how little our schools incorporate the practical aspect.” 

Faith is partnering with Open Dreams, an organization that equips scholars with practical tools needed to maximize educational opportunities. With funding from the Aspire Community Action Award grant, Faith and her team developed a traveling curriculum for seven Secondary and High Schools in Yaounde, bringing with them agricultural experts to train the next generation in sustainable agricultural practices and methods. 

They have implemented phase one of the test curriculum with over 400 students across seven schools in Yaounde. Her plan is to launch phase two — weeding and fertilizing —at the end of May. 

“I think the children are in awe to see me, a young girl, leading a team of guys,” Faith said. 

Although spearheading this initiative, Faith hopes to turn this curriculum back into the hands of the teachers, leaving them after a year with the harvest and the tools to continue growing. 

“My number one goal is for these students to have a practical skill that they can always depend on,” Faith explained. “I want them to emerge with an entrepreneurial mindset, rather than a dependent attitude toward the government as the only source of employment.” 

When she isn’t working on her curriculum, Faith is taking a course on Google analytics; learning from financial analysts about how to leverage data analytics to support her project. She will also be starting an internship at an accounting firm in June.

“Applying for this award, I was clouded with uncertainty as to whether I had what it takes to write a project this competitive,” Faith shared. “There was just this small voice talking in my head saying Faith, go for it. It does not hurt to try and if you do not succeed, at least you will not be wondering what could have happened.”

Faith loves watching movies, reading books, and cooking in her free time. Her love of food inspired her to begin cooking and her favorite dish to make is fried rice made with Njama Njama — known in the west as huckleberry. In between cooking and volunteering at her church on the weekends, she is a dedicated football fan. “I am ecstatic about my football,” she explained. “Cameroonians, no matter our differences, we are united in football.”

“The Aspire Leaders Program and the Community Action Award means a lot to me – the experiences, the future benefits, and boost of morale. I am very grateful to the Aspire Leaders team and all their partners for their time, effort and support. I feel I am in a better position to really effect change in my community, especially among youths.”


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