PULLMAN, Wash. – When five Washington State University students travel to a small village in central Rwanda this week, they’ll be documenting every step in their journey on a special web site. Pictures, stories and videos will be posted at http://storify.com/cahnrsglobal/rwanda-agriculture-internship as part of the students’ experience.
The trip is the first of its kind for the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, and is a pilot for what officials hope will become an annual offering. Professor Kim Kidwell, executive associate dean of CAHNRS, and Colleen Taugher, project associate in the WSU Research and International Agricultural Development Office, will lead the project. For two weeks at the beginning of June, the group will work in the village of Gashora with community members as well as three students from the Rwandan Higher Institute of Agricultural and Animal Husbandry.
The students, who applied for the opportunity, were personally interviewed and selected by Kidwell and Taugher, and a majority of their expenses for the trip will be covered. They have been in a preparatory class since February, which involved researching the area in which they will be working as well as developing practical, sustainable solutions for the issues Kidwell and Taugher worked with community members to identify in a trip in January.
The students are:
- Charles “Eric” Christianson of Burlington, Wash.
- Taya Brown of Seattle
- Dustin Tombleson of Bend, Ore.
- Victoria Marsh of Carbonado, Wash.
- Rowan Ringer of Selah, Wash.
The WSU group will tackle four different projects. They will work with the cooperative to:
- Help build composting toilets to address health and sanitation in the village
- Develop and implement a system for drying fruits and vegetables grown in the area to minimize food loss
- Help to build demonstration mushroom houses. Mushrooms are a popular vegetable in the region and provide a highly nutritional crop in a small amount of space.
- Implement a general composting system to help improve soil quality in surrounding gardens and farms. Currently, farmers use no soil inputs.