Closing the loop with a recycling project

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

In addition to being an educational facility, St. Mary High School grows crops and raises livestock such as poultry and pigs. The income-generating activities on the farm help to pay teacher salaries, maintain the school and feed the children.

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Sr. Yvette's closed loop recycling project increases food production, manages waste and lifts the economic burden from her school during times of crisis in Cameroon.

The ongoing sociopolitical crisis in western Cameroon has drastically reduced sources of income, making life very challenging. But as Administrator of Saint Mary Catholic Comprehensive High School, Sr. Yvette Sam, SUSC, knows that mouths still need to be fed, wages and bills need to be paid and essential maintenance of the needs to be ongoing.

Sr. Yvette needed to a way to combat all of the challenges she was facing. Using the crisis-management principles she learned in ASEC’s Sisters Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) workshop, she proposed an income-generating project that could increase food production and manage their waste.

In addition to being an educational facility, St. Mary High School tends a farm where they grow crops like maize, beans and nuts. They also raise livestock such as poultry and pigs. The income-generating activities on the farm help to feed the children, pay teacher salaries and offset the school's maintenance costs.

Closed Loop Recycling Process

The chickens are fed with their own special feed that utilizes the farm’s produce, such as maize. Because they make the feed, they know that the birds are getting high-quality nutrition. The droppings from the chickens are added to the pig feed. This gives the pigs extra nourishment, making their manure a valuable fertilizer that’s rich in nitrogen and other organic material. The pig manure is used to fertilize the produce on the farm and the entire process begins again! Sr. Yvette adds,

“I marvelled at the recycling process and how it ensures a healthy growth both in birds, animals and food crops. It also reduces expense and waste, as well as stimulates economic activity.”

Sr. Yvette’s agricultural recycling project has been very helpful in paying the bills for the school and caring for the children. Although the chickens and pigs require a lot of attention, the waste recycling ensures a healthy environment for the future.

Cameroon has enough fertile land to feed the whole country and beyond. Sr. Yvette and her congregation believe that this cyclical recycling system can be applied far beyond this local application. She says,

“...we are convinced that if we harness this potential, then one day, we shall not just be able to feed ourselves but shall live in a sustainable society.”

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This article is addressing the following UN Sustainable Development Goal(s):

End poverty in all its forms everywhere End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture Ensure access to water and sanitation for all Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Sr. Yvette Sam, SUSC

Profiled in article
SLDI Administration Track Alumna (2015) - Cameroon  

Sr. Loretta Mulry, IHM

Volunteer Editor - USA  

Amy Fedele

Web Content Manager  

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