The Living Classroom
The Living Classroom film series 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 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 produces high quality, effective and innovative educational films, which combine expertise in agroecological co-learning and film-making. Having demonstrated the benefits of workshops with family farmers and budding market gardeners, this series is the next step in scaling out and inspiring more change.
Each film is presented by course ‘graduates’ using a storytelling approach that grounds 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 about different techniques and locally available resources.
As an introduction, this film shows how NGOs 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. When the films were piloted with farmers in Swaziland, data was captured on changes in participant knowledge and comprehension.
Without prior knowledge on the topic/film, the knowledge baseline was 24%; after watching the film once without pausing for discussion, this increased to 57%; and when facilitated with pause-points for discussion, this increased to 78%.
Using Living Classroom films as part of facilitated co-learning therefore represented an increase of over 325%.
This film shows how Swazi NGO, Guba has used the Living Classroom, as part of its interactive facilitation.
Alongside supporting materials to aid learning, 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 further local languages for use by training organisations & institutions in Southern & East Africa, as and when funding becomes available, or on request.
The Living Classroom series presents 12 key themes:
(click on green titles below to watch)
2. Water Management and use
3. Soil Conservation
8. Horticultural Production
9. Integrated Pest Management
10. Preservation and Value Addition
11. Harnessing Energy
12. Growing Income