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INT06 - Foundations for Farming: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: July 17, 2015

Report on Training Seminars held by BHW's Agricultural Director 


Recent Events

Jinja, Uganda - 25-27 June 2015

significant impactA three day training seminar was held at the YMCA facilities in Jinja, Uganda. There were 23 participants who were mostly selected from the various Bright Hope World partnerships within that country. There were also two people from South Sudan (see Personal Story below) and one from the Congo. Just under half of the participants were women.

The Uganda Partnership Facilitators had done a good job communicating what kind of attributes we desired in these participants. This certainly appeared to have a significant positive influence on the outcomes from the training as we got good buy-in on all the main points of this training. One of the main aims of these trainings is to identify people with the ability and willingness to become trainers themselves.

During the course of these training days it became clear that previous trainings have had a significant impact on crop yields of those that started to implement the methods taught in Foundations for Farming. Some of the participants had received previous training from our Bright Hope World partners Thomas and Joyce Lubari (UGA04) with very pleasing results. There appear to be a number of promising possibilities to develop more local trainers. The intention is for me to work together with the Uganda Partnership Facilitators to work on further training for these people.


Maputo, Mozambique - 3 July 2015

keen for more trainingAfter consultation with our Bright Hope World partners, Patrick and Grace Mulenga (MOZ01), in Maputo, Mozambique it was decided that an introductory seminar on the principles of Foundations for Farming would be useful to ascertain the level of interest there might be for a full training. An afternoon seminar was conducted by Jerry Field and John Vlaming in the church of Pastor Paulo. Around 20 people, mostly women, attended. There seemed to be a good level of interest and some good questions were raised.

At the end of the seminar people attending agreed that there was a real need and good interest for such training. Patrick and Grace undertook to see to what degree people will put into practice what was taught and see if the interest is still there later. We have promised to come back to train Foundations for Farming here if Patrick and Grace feel that the interest is still there.


Angoche, Mozambique - 7 July 2015

big differenceIn this partly deserted coastal town our Bright Hope World partner Inacio (MOZ04) is reaching out with the Christian message. The need for poverty alleviation is great in this area. A day long Foundations for Farming seminar was run by Jerry Field and John Vlaming on the 7th July 2015.

After having visited a number of fields the previous days it was decided that the main need was to emphasise mulching and compost making. Even though we saw some well-tended fields where crops were relatively weed free and reasonably spaced there appeared to be a general lack of agricultural knowledge. Fertiliser use was basically nil and there was no awareness of Ph and use of lime. The overall climate is favourable to crop production. Soil types vary from very sandy to deep, rich soils in the more swampy areas. Agricultural supplies have to come all the way from Nampula.

About 150 people, mostly from the Koti tribe, attended the seminar and seemed to be well engaged and getting the ideas that were taught. This area would greatly benefit from having a local trainer. The intention is to come back here for follow up and see if a potential trainer can be identified from among the attendees. 


Personal Stories

Rachael from Yei, South Sudan

Rachael attended the Foundations for Farming training in Jinja at the invitation of Thomas Lubari. Rachael was born in 1989 in South Sudan and she is now 26 years old. She was born in Arua and at the age of 7 years old, due to the war in South Sudan, she travelled with her parents into Uganda. She was sponsored into education and completed senior 6 Level. In 2006 her parents returned to South Sudan however in 2007 her mother died. In 2009 Rachael returned to Sudan. Her father died in 2013. Her father had three wives and her mother had eight children, four of whom have died. Rachael reports that in her region and where she lives in Yei many youth are drinking local brews and living with drunkenness, there are early marriages with very young pregnancies and very delayed education for children.

While in Yei Thomas Lubari met Rachael and Rachael had the opportunity to apply for the Vocational Training Programme being run down in Jinja (SUD04). She selected training for the medical course however due to limited numbers she was not able to enter this programme.

While in Yei Thomas was also able to do a two day Foundations for Farming training programme which Rachael attended. She has been trying to teach and use the principles on her village land. She reports that there are very big challenges with dry land and very late rain and she also reports that from January to May 2015 it has been very dry. When she was offered the opportunity to come to Jinja to do further training in this method of farming Rachael was keen to attend. She would like the knowledge to sustain herself and build capacity for herself and her family.  

Prior to Thomas visiting Yei Rachael was selling soap and doing some conventional farming and was able to produce and sell a little. She lived with her elder brother and step-mothers. Rachael plans to practise these farming techniques however she has hopes to have the opportunity to do further study and/or training. Rachael would like to do design and she also talked about the possibility of biology because she achieved well in this subject. In her region there is a demand for people who have skills with agrochemicals and she is interested in agriculture so thinks that this may be another good choice for her if she had the opportunity to study.  

When we talked to Rachael about returning to Yei and what her thoughts were, she said that she will use what she has learned from the training in Jinja to train other people. In part this is to reduce jealousy and reduce the risks to her if her land does very well and those around her do not produce as much as she does.  

Amos Katabuk

difficult situationAmos came to the Foundations for Farming training in Jinja. He comes from Ntoroko District in North Western Uganda. This is the other side of Semliki National Park and on the Congo border. Amos, along with hundreds of other people are refugees from the war in the Congo. As a result of the war they fled to Uganda. They were given land on a flood plain of the Semliki River. Unfortunately the land, which had belonged to the Ugandan Government, is subject to widespread and extensive flooding on a regular basis.

The main activity in the area is pastoral and the people are particularly cattle raising people.  There are practically no crops grown and, in Amos’ words, they are not agricultural.

Amos lives on one side of the shores of Lake Albert and many of the refugees live on the other side, immediately bordering DRC. The Lake Albert plains apparently are flat until the Rwenzori mountains. When the Semliki river floods, which it does once or twice a year, the floods can extend for 6-8 kilometres. These people have nowhere else to go.

Amos is a pastor of a church of 40 people on one side of the lake and has colleagues on the other side. In 2014 there was an especially severe flood which resulted in significant loss of cattle and hundreds and hundreds of people were affected. We were pleased to hear, however, that no people died in the latest floods.

Because the land floods at least once a year and there are very strong floods every 3-5 years people are reduced to extreme poverty.  The only thing they know is grazing of animals and, because of the flooding, they can end up even living on anthills.

In our discussion with Amos he did indicate that agriculture was a possibility, but that it would be difficult to effect a mind-set change.  We think that this should happen and we are encouraging Amos to at least encourage his people to carry out some small scale agriculture.

We see that this poses some very significant problems as it is not possible to reliably predict or grow crops, even though the flood time of the year is usually predictable.  2015 has been an unpredictable year as there has been much more rain than normal.

We did identify that a micro-finance programme might help, along with encouragement to grow kitchen gardens and small scale agriculture. There is some knowledge of micro-finance in the area, but there does need to be someone skilled in advising to assist in a larger developmental approach.

Our present thinking and plan might put us visiting there in mid-2016.