By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Staff
In a bid to teach its young members greater responsibility, local youth mentorship programme MALE has expanded its usual list of activities to include farming.
MALE, which stands for Mentoring Anointed Leaders Everywhere, has partnered with the Althea Scatliffe Primary School to accommodate the expansion.
President of MALE Henderson Tittle told BVI News Online that some 45 boys have been using a relatively small plot of land at the back of the Station Avenue-based primary school to do their gardening.
“We are partnering with Althea Scatliffe Primary so we can farm up that area. We’re planting some sugarcane, bananas, tomatoes, sweet pepper, cucumber… We’ll throw in some passion fruit also. We have a little patch of dasheen; so we’re teaching the boys how to put food on their table.”
“The whole idea is to create a sense of responsibility because each boy is assigned to an entire plant whether it’s tomato or [another crop]. They are responsible to take care of it, keep growth, and make sure that they water it. We have different turns when they are going to water the plant. Different groups are responsible for certain acts,” Tittle further explained.
We don’t just need lawyers
While noting that farming is no less important than other professions, Tittle said he is hopeful that the initiative will inspire some of the MALE mentees to ultimately become involved in the agriculture industry.
“That’s where MALE is headed because I’m not seeing other groups doing that. So I decide to venture out, go to the garden… Most of the other [youth] groups are involved in basketball, baseball, soccer. MALE can now be involved from a whole new angle; not just sports.”
“Farming is necessary; it’s very necessary. Most people here in the BVI buy a lot of our food and, if we can get a group of young men who are interested in producing their own food, we will be way ahead. Think about it. We don’t just need doctors; we don’t just need lawyers; we don’t just need teachers; we need some farmers also who are going to ensure that the lawyers get something to eat when they get home,” Tittle further told BVI News Online.
He stated that the MALE members have taken a liking to the farming initiative.
“They have fun because, in the garden, we even create an area where we can sit and have sessions.”
The gardening programme got underway recently after MALE reached out to the Agriculture Department for assistance.
“They have offered some help thus far and we intend to use the garden as part of the MALE programme from here on as long as we are permitted to do so,” added Tittle, who also is the founder of MALE.
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