We visited PCSS Mfou, a new school, in the countryside outside Yaounde, in the Centre Region of Cameroon, last Saturday. It is well-run, on a rural site, secure, spacious, with fresh air and a cool breeze relieving the equatorial heat. The school is still under construction, work that has been supported by a local Presbyterian congregation responding to the security crisis in Cameroon. A large number of students are internally displaced, having moved out of the North and South West Anglophone regions due to extreme insecurity, regular gunfire, kidnappings and frequent skirmishes between government and secessionist forces. The first students enrolled last year. There are dormitories, classrooms and the main hall still under construction, yet PCSS Mfou already has an active environment club – a dynamic and inspired group of young people who want to make their school green, attractive and a beacon of good environmental practice. It was a privilege to spend time with them. They showed us the ornamental trees they have planted, explained the waste management system they have set up and presented their new medicinal plant garden (pictured below). They explained their plans for the coming year, listened intently to suggestions and discussions… and made lots of notes we observed!!
Penny Fraser, the PACE Coordinator visited with Lucy Diffang, Education Advisor from ISTP. Lucy has recently introduced PACE to the school, to support their Competency and Sustainability approach to education. She took along PACE materials including a PACE KIT for Sustainable plant nurseries (below). The students were very curious and had a lot of ideas as they examined it. The kit is used to make tree nurseries, school and community gardens more environmentally friendly. It includes a range of different biodegradable alternatives to single-use plastic nursery bags. The club members quickly noted a kind of local grass that can be woven to make biodegradable containers, for gifting plants and other items, they thought, as well as nursing seedlings for their own school planting.
We welcome PCSS Mfou to the PACE network and are hugely proud of their interest and above all of their hard work and the impact they are having, on their immediate environment, on their peers and teachers, and on us.
Penny Fraser, the PACE Coordinator wrote: ‘I left feeling a great obligation to get more educational materials out to these kids – if we just resource them they touch so many, and are not only determined but are concretely making a difference.’
Penny and Lucy, centre, pictured with the Environment Club, vice-principal, right, and geography teacher, back left.