The focus of this photo journal entry is “SOILS”.
The sure way to keep Dr. Jay Bell happy is to let him play in the dirt. Perhaps “play” is a stretch of the word for this Associate Dean of Faculty Affiairs at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) at the University of Minnesota. But then again perhaps not. Jay looks out at the landscape and sees soils. He digs and examines the life below the ground. His hand often holds soil. He is sure to tell all within earshot that it will be the soils that bring this Ag project – KARUCO- to life. Africa’s soils are fragile. Abusing them is not an option if we truly will bring about social and economic transformation through KARUCO – the district’s first university. Karagwe University College will focus on Agriculture and much of agri-business depends upon soils. At KARUCO, students will learn to not only understand – but also to appreciate soils, and will learn to manage them for maximum yields and sustained use.
If you are new to the blog, feel free to visit previous blogs for particulars of how the project started (2008) and how Educate Tanzania was established (2010) for the purpose of introducing KARUCO students and subsistence farmers to new ways to go about crop production, crop conservation, and harvest-to-market techniques. See also the “Groundbreaking” blog to catch up on the excitement of beginning the building of KARUCO.
Dr. Benson Bagonza founded KARUCO – Karagwe University College to address the need for improved agriculture. With his vision he hopes to stem the brain drain and provide an alternative to early marriage. His concept paper outlined specifically how the district’s first university could teach entrepreneurial agri-business techniques and transform Karagwe through economic and social improvement. The university was approved by the community, the ELCT (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania) and is supported by governmental organizations and other institutions of higher education. Jan B. Hansen learned of the concept in 2008, knew it would work and pledged her support that resulted in the formation of the nonprofit Educate Tanzania, Inc. in 2010. Meanwhile, the ELCT hired Dr. Brighton Katabaro to coordinate all functions related to the establishment of KARUCO. ETI, the ELCT, European partners — All agree that a university – birthed in Karagwe- would bring about increased understanding and therefore higher yields, healthier crops, better nutrition, sustainable revenue streams, exciting businesses, improved economy and importantly – social justice for those commonly left out of the picture – often women. The idea of a university has taken hold and building has begun (see previous blogs especially “KARUCO Ag Tag” – January/February, 2013).
ETI thanks Ashley Miller of AshMill Photography for these images. Scroll down for more photos.