From school to home: How students’ new ‘green thumbs’ help their families


Rose Lempate & George Mugera

Date Published

Young people have the power to change the future of our planet. It is therefore imperative that they understand how changes in Mother Nature affect their current and future livelihoods. Save the Elephants’ (STE) education program endeavors to inspire and nurture environmental stewards while teaching conservation skills in Samburu. In 2020, STE alongside pupils of our partner, Lorubae Primary, began a kitchen garden farming project in the school.

Samburu is very arid and therefore lacks adequate moisture conditions to promote farming. By embracing simple technology, we procured a simple structure made of shade net that easily regulates internal humidity and temperature conditions. This in turn promotes fast and consistent growth of vegetables within the school. The project has resulted in increased production of healthy bunches of kale and spinach that now provide essential nutrients to the school’s feeding program specifically, adolescent boarding school girls.

Our greatest reward at Save the Elephants is seeing the impact that innovative ideas like this have on students who then enthusiastically replicate the concepts learned back at their homes and with the wider community.

One such student, 13 year old Leshanda Letereuwa from nearby Lorubae village, has taken his newly acquired ‘green thumb’ home where he encouraged his family to grow vegetables on old sacks and used vehicle tyres using the scarce water resources available. The boy has since been an inspiration to his family and others from his community.

Leshanda and his younger siblings also collect and plant drought-resistant tree saplings around his home compound. He says his engagement with the wildlife club spearheaded by Save the Elephants, has taught him about the benefits of trees as a source of rainfall and shade – a concept he has always endeared. He hopes his actions will inspire others to follow in his footsteps. STE’s interaction with Lorubae Primary pupils, through our elephant curriculum classes and wildlife club engagement, has taught them about permaculture using recyclable local resources and sustainable water use of drip irrigation. These practices will not only go a long way in conserving the environment through waste management, but also in improving diet and nutrition.

“The fruits of tomorrow are in the seeds of today”. Leshanda is a good example of how simple dedicated actions can inspire young generations to become current and future custodians of nature.