The Living Classroom

The Living Classroom is the cumulative result of GardenAfrica’s work since 2001, alongside agroecology specialists and training organisations in sub-Saharan Africa. In this series, we focus on agroecological practice, which both informs and is informed by its science - mimicking the natural patterns and processes to restore degraded landscapes, and to promote the movement towards a resilient, resource-conserving, and biologically diverse farming of the future.

GardenAfrica Films produce highly quality, effective and innovative educational films, which combines expertise in agroecological co-learning and film-making. Having demonstrated benefits of workshops with farming communities, this series is the next step in inspiring more change.

Each film is presented by course ‘graduates’ using a storytelling approach that underpins the key learning messages. With this in mind, the films are designed to be 40% information / 60% inspiration to get people excited about the available alternatives, about sharing information, and about experimenting with and feeling more confident about managing their own change. 

The films add value to training, encouraging local training organisations transitioning to agroecology to take a more participatory approach to co-learning and experimentation – one which actively promotes adaptive capacity. For this reason, each film comes with embedded pause-points to allow space for farmer-to-farmer discussion and ideas sharing on different techniques and locally available resources.


The Living Classroom series will present 12 key themes:

 

2. Water Management and use

3. Soil Conservation

5. Livestock

6. Agroforestry

8. Horticultural Production

9. Integrated Pest Management

10. Preservation and Value Addition

11. Harnessing Energy

12. Growing Income


Inspiring Change

This film introduces how NGOs can use the Living Classroom series as integral to their training, using pause-points and practical lessons outside to encourage thinking about different ideas and techniques. Films have been piloted with farmers in Swaziland, and data captured in changes in knowledge and comprehension.

Without pre-existing knowledge of the topic/film during piloting, understanding began 24%; after watching the film once without pauses this increased to 57%; with facilitated pause-points as part of training this increased to 78%.

Overall the increase of using Living Classroom films as part of facilitated NGO training represented an increase of over 300%.

This films shows how, using interactive facilitation for co-learning.

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Alongside supporting materials to aid facilitation, the series aims to provide much needed visual and textural support for NGOs – to stimulate thinking, discussion and adaptation. In addition to this English language version, the series will be dubbed into a further  local languages for use by training organisations & institutions in Southern & East Africa.