The fund for the farming project was received in January, 2015 from an organization named Emerge Poverty Free. The farm utilizes 220 acres of land and is currently growing vegetables, fruit, beans, groundnuts and grain. There are also animals like chicken, cows, pigs and goats.
Aiming to Achieve Sustainability
By Andrew Gabula, Founder/Resource Mobiliser, and Elellan Debela, Safe World Writer
URICT Uganda has many programs under its wing to alleviate poverty. One of the programs is farming. The farm is located in Joy Orphanage of URICT in the Namisambya Kamuli area, eastern Uganda. The area is mainly rural and the people are subsistence farmers. Joy Orphanage is home to 48 orphan children who have lost their parents from HIV/AIDS and has around eight volunteers who help out in the day-to-day activities.
The age range of the children is 3-17 years old, with 26 girls and 27 boys. They assist in farming once in a week on Saturday, for two hours only. In this way, children get organic farming skills. The rest of the farming is done by volunteers; we have 20 local and regional volunteers who do garden work. We also have international volunteers who come from the USA (California), Australia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania. These volunteers stay with us anywhere from a week to a month, depending on the program.
The orphanage is not just a home but it also has its own school.
The best option to keep the children nourished and well fed year round is farming: cultivating vegetables and animals. Therefore, the orphanage won’t always be dependent on the individual donors who have always been keen to help. The decision was made to own a farm and use it to feed the children in the orphanage and also sell it to the people around the farm. It is hoped the farm produce will feed the children – plus, earn some income by taking some of the produces to the market.
One way to alleviate poverty is using the resources available at hand and URICT seems to be doing just that.
The fund for the farming project was received in January, 2015 from an organization named Emerge Poverty Free (based in the UK), in addition to donations from individual supporters. The project was then started in March, 2015. Prior to this project, the orphanage entirely depended on handout help from our individual donors which really wasn’t adequate. It only covered one meal per day. The farm utilizes 220 acres of land and is currently growing vegetables (green pepper, egg plants, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, etc), banana, maize, beans, oranges, mangoes, ground nuts, soya beans. There are also animals like chicken, cows, pigs and goats.
Professional agriculturalists from Kaba-kidds farm, a local partner and consultant organization, advise the volunteers and the management team in modern farming. There are 11 volunteers who work on the farm and sell the produce.
In addition to the children, grandmothers who have lost their children to HIV/AIDS and are taking care of their grandchildren also benefit from the farm. We are able to supply vegetables to the grandmothers twice a week as it is not adequate to supply them every day. The grandmothers also receive hands-on training and skills on the farm in modern methods of farming which they apply to their own farms.
So far there has been a good harvest: eggs, milk, vegetables, and meat from the goats and cattle. The children are able to eat three meals per day now which is good progress. Moreover, the volunteers go to the township markets and sell vegetables to the society near the farm. The income is used to buy soap, sanitary napkins, medication, cooking oil, sugar and rice, scholastic materials for the kids.
The URICT team is eager to fully provide food, scholastic materials, clothes, etc., for the kids and a good progress has been made since the project started in March. But there is so much more that can be done with the resources at hand and with some help.