Manitoba co operator

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The Manitoba Co-operator | August 20, 2015

Farmer’s oat crop donated to support ag training in Zambia Art Enns wants more people to hear about the work being done by the Manyinga Project to give young Zambians a good education while also training them to farm and garden BY LORRAINE STEVENSON

“I just wanted to encourage more people to help with this. Even if I never meet these people in this far-off land of Zambia, this is something we can put out there.”

Co-operator staff / Morris


hen Art Enns looks back on his own life in farming, he knows how valuable it was to learn skills he needed working alongside his father. Now he’s doing what he can to help children in a far-off land who don’t have parents to teach them. Losing parents early in life in a country like Zambia, where 85 per cent of people farm, is a life’s missed opportunity and potentially a life sentence of poverty. But some are getting a second chance to learn at two schools teaching young Zambians to become successful gardeners and viable commercial farmers. When Enns, now a grain farmer near Morris, heard about the crops grown and livestock raised by several hundred youngsters in the southern African country while they attend school, he decided to pitch in and help. Enns is donating the revenue from a 35-acre oat crop this fall, expected to generate about $12,000, towards the two schools, which are known as the Manyinga Project. The cost of running the agricultural program is about $15,000 for a year. “It’s a small project by size and yet it has a really hands-on

Art Enns

Red River Valley grain farmer Art Enns is impressed by the work of two small schools in Zambia to teach young people to be farmers and gardeners, so he’s decided to donate the proceeds from 35 acres of an oat crop to help support the school program.   PHOTO: LORRAINE STEVENSON

method of trying to teach young children to farm,” said Enns, who was introduced to the pro­ ject by a group of Manitoba volunteers supporting it through fundraising efforts. “It just really caught my attention.” The two schools which are funded strictly by private donations are attended by about 430 young Zambians age six to 14 in the villages of Chinema and Samfunda. Support began for them after a Canadian doctor from Winnipeg visited the country in the 1990s and, moved by the plight of children being taught as best they could by grandparents in small “bush church” schools, returned to

Canada and began to garner support for the two schools. The agricultural component of the schools started up in earnest in the early 2000s when it became clear the students, without parents, were missing out on a key part of upbringing in Zambia, learning to farm and produce food. Land was secured at each school, beginning with just one lima each — (a lima is equivalent to .25 hectare) and brought into production in 2008, with maize as the main crop. Cowpeas have since been added to the cropping rotation and the land base has grown to 22 limas. Today the schools have been able to hire teach-

ers and assistants to serve two thriving schools in excellent school buildings with strong and increasingly empowered parent-teacher associations, thanks to ongoing donations from committed Canadians and Americans. The children also support their own schools by raising revenues from sales of crops and garden produce that they’re not consuming themselves. The creation of the ag program was a key goal of her involvement in the project, says Robynne Anderson, president of Emerging Ag Inc. who also contributes to the program to support the salary of the school’s agronomist. This is a way to break the cycle of poverty not only through conventional education, but also by including learning by doing training on farming, she said. “The schools are training on cropping, livestock rearing (goats), orchards and vegetable crops,” said Anderson. “Each of these areas of agriculture are

important locally and encourage a mixed farming approach to further nutritional outcomes when students later run their own homes and farms.” Enns said the only reason he agreed to be public about his own donation is so that more people will hear about this small project achieving big results. This is a project that’s helping people to become selfsufficient, he said. “Donations can stop in a heartbeat but if you teach people to feed themselves they become self-sufficient,” he said. “I just wanted to encourage more people to help with this. Even if I never meet these people in this far-off land of Zambia, this is something we can put out there. “Agriculture has been a great place for me. It’s been a comfortable living. I’d like to encourage others.” To learn more about the pro­ ject log on to: www.manyinga. org.

Slow down for emergency vehicles Analysis finds one out of six vehicles passing police at 100 kmh or more Staff

Most drivers are not heeding new laws requiring motorists to slow down when passing emergency vehicles. The Manitoba government amended the Highway Traffic Act in 2014, stating that drivers on either side of an undivided highway, who pass emergency vehicles and other designated vehicles that are stopped with their beacons flashing, must proceed with caution and pass only when safe to do so. Drivers travelling on multi-lane highways are also required to move to a lane farther from emergency vehicles. All drivers must slow to the following speeds: •  40 km/h on highways with posted maximum speed limits below 80 km/h; and •  60 km/h on highways with posted maximum speed limits of above 80 km/h. In the fall of 2014 and again this spring, RCMP Traffic Services conducted two separate analysis to record the speed and volume of traffic passing by while police officers conducted staged traffic stops. While the majority of vehicles moved over or changed lanes,

over 90 per cent of motorists failed to slow down, an action punishable by a $300 fine and two demerits. Sixty per cent of vehicles that did slow down to 60 km/h or less were Commercial Vehicles (i.e. transport trucks, construction vehicles). “An amazing one out of every six vehicles drove by officers and their police vehicles at a speed of 100 km/h or more,” an RCMP release says. “Our officers know that policing is a dangerous and unpredictable job, but they should not have to worry about ordinary citizens just driving their vehicles,” said Manitoba RCMP Sgt. Bert Paquet in a release. “When you see a police or emergency vehicle with lights flashing, slow down and give them room.” RCMP would like to remind motorists that beyond being a law, this amendment is to ensure the safety of all emergency vehicles, tow trucks, roadside assistance vehicles and vehicles operated by government enforcement officers with their beacons flashing. “In reality, we’re only asking drivers to delay their travels by one minute,” Paquet noted. “The first responders you see on the roadside might be helping someone you love.”


OFF THE ISLAND MacDon vice-president Gene Fraser knows the importance of the non-profit STARS air ambulance helicopter service to rural Manitobans. It will also be important to him on September 15, when he needs to get off an island where he’ll be dropped on Lake Winnipeg. But STARS won’t pick him up without your help. Gene is competing with six others in STARS’ 2015 Rescue on the Island fundraising event. They’re equipped only with a cell phone to call you for your pledges. Funding helps STARS continue providing specialized care and transport to critically ill and injured patients in rural Manitoba. Help Gene to reach his $50,000 goal — and to get off the island — by visiting

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