TONDTENGA, organic farm and agricultural college
In the language of the Mossi, the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso, Tondtenga means "our land". Tondtenga is affectionately known to everyone as "TT" because this is where we come to celebrate with the children. The air is good and
the surroundings are peaceful, something not to be found in the capital. Young farmers learn to cultivate the land for profit at the agricultural college. The aim is to reduce rural exodus and to give the young men in their villages the possibility to lead secure and fulfilled lives.
The agricultural college for boarders was inaugurated in 2005 in Balkouy, a village about 15 km from the centre of Ouagadougou. 10 boys aged between 10 and 18 from 8 different villages spend 2 years being taught methods of improving agricultural yield as well as animal farming. The farm extends over 7 hectares and includes orchards and vegetable gardens, small arable plots, compost ditches, animal sheds (for pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, ducks, turkeys, chickens, cattle and horses). The farm needs water and so we installed a solar pump that feeds water into the water tower from a depth of 65 metres.
The skilful use of various irrigation systems is an important component in the training of these young people. Each working
group has to cultivate its own area and each boy is in charge of his own plot. This develops a sense of responsibility and also gives them an opportunity to measure their own performance against that of their peers. They grow corn, millet and groundnuts. Orchards are planted and they are taught to ferment compost in the compost ditches. Composting under
the climatic conditions of Burkina Faso is quite an art and is so important for organic farming.
Tondtenga is managed by a team of directors, supported by tutors, veterinary doctors, gardeners, teachers and of course cooks, all caring for the wellbeing of the boys.
Daily training modules provide the basic theory on subjects such as ecology, the environment, animal farming, cultivation and organic vegetable farming. The boys also learn the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic. On completion of their training the young people go back to their villages where the village community gives them a piece of land on which they can put their acquired knowledge into practice. A.M.P.O. also contributes wells and sheds for animal farming. The working groups are supported in setting up their own small farms in the villages for a further 2 years.
Quite a number of groups of trained young people have been reintegrated into their village communities and in many villages we can see how their knowledge of improved farming methods has been passed on to others in the village,
resulting in a significant improvement in the living standard of all those involved. Tondtenga sends out a clear message to the villages, showing by example that rural life is not necessarily linked to poverty and hopelessness.
Tondtenga is financed by the foundation "Dr.-Elvire-Engel-Stiftung“ in Luxemburg.