Cottonforlife supports the Damietta school in Egypt
Cottonforlife works in the school to teach young people the value of sustainability, respect for the environment and, why not… the business value that sustainability can add. Cottonforlife fosters responsible behaviors in the youth by creating awareness on the value that their land and the local products can bring for their future.. Cotton has been (and still is…) one of the most important resources for Egypt and for Damietta in particular (https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/04/181-6-increase-in-egyptian-cotton-exports-in-q2-2017-2018/).
We believe in youth and their capacity to invest in the cotton for their future. We have started assisting the school three years ago by offering training for crop rotation, elimination of pesticides, water and energy efficiency, analysis on soil and water in order to obtain the certification by the CERES. We have worked adopting a bottom up approach and by using reverse mentoring: the young students trained in the school transferred the good practices of sustainable farming to their parents and neighbors who produce cotton.
In the meantime, the teaching books were developed for the Damietta school in 2015. Now the same books are used in 134 Egyptian schools for a total of 150,000 students… The model has been positively valued by the Egyptian Ministry of Education: we are now working together on a plan to be implemented with UNIDO to bring the model at full capacity and extend it to other schools at national level.
The school plantation is constantly monitored by the students and agronomy experts working in the schools as teachers. The natural fertilizers are made directly by the school; thanks to a composting machine donated by Filmar. The cotton plants finally bloomed and the plantation is really beautiful… During the first days of October, in the framework of The Egyptian Cotton Project by UNIDO, we participated in the first harvest of this fantastic organic cotton along with the young students of Damietta. An important accomplishment for us but, above all things, for them!