Starbucks Composting Project -Evaluation and Monitoring in Schools 2012

Evaluation and Monitoring

A month after going to 12 schools to demonstrate how to make compost, Saras from REACH spent 3 days to pay a visit to the schools to check on their progress beginning on the 19th of September 2012 accompanied by myself, a local homegrown volunteer .

In the course of 3 days, Saras and Melody visited 9 schools out of the 12 schools who participated in REACH’s pilot compost project. We couldn’t check on another 3 schools due to various factors such as distance and the unavailabilty of the teachers in charge of the project at their respective schools.

Of the 9 schools, Saras and Melody found all the children to be very interested in the process of compost-making, especially when they are able to bring from home bits of fruit peel and vegetables to contribute to the school compost project.

The only problems we found in most of the schools was that the students tend to neglect the importance of pouring out the excess water that accumulate at the bottom of each 5 litre bottle of compost. This resulted in the compost being soggy and decay, attracting flies and producing a stench of rotting leaves in some bottles.

We advised the students to pour out the water of the bottles on a daily basis as well as to add more dry leaves and sand or soil to the compost bottle in order that there be a balanced amount of mouisture in the bottle to allow for a conducive environment for the enzymes to decompose the mixture of household scraps and soil into good, rich compost. As a reward for some schools who had done their composting well, Saras and Melody added some strong-smelling, rich in nutrients, coffee grounds into their compost.

 One school which deserves special mention would have to be SJK(T) Ringlet. This school’s students are so dedicated to our cause that they have a total of 18 compost bottles, each manned by a single student, as well as a huge barrel of compost, cared for by the whole school. All the students are encouraged to spend some time in the garden everyday, whether they are digging in the garden, pouring excess water out of the compost bottles, or simply adding some more dry leaves and bits of newspapers to the compost bottles.

Saras and I left the schools with a smile on our faces and a spring in our steps, knowing that every single person counts in our endeavour to educate the public in our local community about the benefits of composting. These children are our future for Cameron Highlands.