School sponsorship is a very expensive process and also can have negative impacts upon those it seeks to help. Common criticisms of sponsorship are that it creates a dependency culture, is unsustainable and creates cultural issues. Having recognised these issues, COCO and The Hoja Project worked together to come up with a solution to each problem and established the Food for Fees programme.
Food for Fees involves the cultivation of an area of land using sustainable agriculture techniques, which organically boost crop yields. The produce from the land is then sold on to the government, so as to not flood the local market and damage the income of local farmers.
In the short term, the surplus generated from the programme is used to sponsor students through secondary school. However, in the longer term it is intended that sustainable agriculture techniques are transferred to the student and their parents to help them to increase their own crop yields, and subsequently their income to empower households to send their own children to school.
So far, through the Food for Fees programme, 101 students have been supported through secondary education and another 21 students have continued their studies into higher education.