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INT06 - Foundations for Farming: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: March 15, 2018

Report from March trip 


well organised training

Foundations for Farming Training in Nyankagondo, Uganda, 6-8 March 2018
Trainer: John Vlaming

This was a first training organised by Ephraim and Jova Tumusiime, aided by Grace, their church secretary. The course was held in a classroom so the children had to go elsewhere. Their home base church is near Kampala, which is part of Dove Ministries.

Ephraim, in particular, is good to work with. They have a history of support coming from the USA but are now reading books like ‘Toxic Charity’ and he is certainly thinking through some issues which it was good to talk to him about. 

We had around 28 people attending, a mixture of male and female, mostly farmers. The expectation for the course was around 20 people so we needed to get a few more manuals keen participantsprinted. The group engaged well and showed real interest in the material presented. There had been no agricultural training in this area before at all. Some had been to a course elsewhere but that was all teaching on the use of chemical fertilisers and sprays. 

Our translator, Musindi, did a good job throughout with a bit of help here and there. Most of them had quite a bit of English, but Swahili was helping them to understand the material better. 

The first session we did was on the size of land they had available, what crops they were growing and their yields. It was great to see that they all knew how much land they had and the yields they were getting which was useful information for us. After this we went through the whole training with them. This area enjoys a pretty good climate and good soils. Their yields are low so there is great potential for early gains. At the conclusion of the training learnt lotsGrace asked some good questions about what they had learned and where to from here. On their own initiative they formed a group, including chairman, secretary, treasurer and mobiliser. They set aside a piece of land by the school for a demonstration plot and made plans to meet regularly and encourage and learn from each other. Grace promised to keep us informed of progress. 

It was our observance that there was a lot of knowledge in the room already, in particular, a lady named Frieda, an 82 year old farmer called Adongo, and Musindi our translator. It was certainly a promising start here and we will have to wait and see how it develops. 


Training at Foundations for Farming, Harare, Zimbabwe

mindset changeAfter this we travelled to Zimbabwe to participate in a week long training at the Foundations for Farming base just outside Harare. We caught up with the two guys (Eddie and Godfrey) sent from a Bright Hope World partnership in southern Tanzania. Eddie lives in Mbeya and Godfrey in Tunduru. The aim is for these guys to become trainers and carry on from the initial training I did in a village called Mchuluka, near Tunduru. Godfrey does not speak much English so it was difficult to get a feel for how he was doing but both of them seemed to be really engaged throughout the training and they made good contacts for them to engage with later on. Watching this unfold convinced us that getting potential trainers to come here for further training is a good model for us to use.

We also caught up with Fiona Smith from Palmerston North here. She is spending a month in Harare for training and undertaking a bit of an internship. Fiona is keen to join our BHW team and become involved with FfF training. 

The training was useful for ourselves as well. Some details around growing certain crops have changed so it was good to get the latest recommendations. The teaching from Daryl and Hazel Edwards was especially good and went much further than what was taught in the past. Another big benefit is the networking that happens at these events. This is potentially very helpful in working together with Foundations for Farming people in areas around our BHW partners. This may avoid some double up of efforts.

It was so good to see everyone getting the strong link between the gospel and FfF. We heard some amazing testimonies of people who lived through the genocide in Rwanda and Burundi and may well end up visiting them and potentially train in their areas. Also very touching was the reconciliation between a man from Matabele land and some Shona people at the course. The painful reality of past and present atrocities committed on this continent are obviously still very raw but it is truly amazing what the Lord can do when people are open to Him.


Foundations for Farming training in Gabororne, Botswana, March 2018
Trainers: John Vlaming and Hayley Field

keen learnersAfter Zimbabwe we flew to Gaborone, Botswana, meeting up with Hayley Field and Melanie Sutton in Johannesburg before flying on to Gaborone. We enjoyed a church service on the Sunday with Jonathan and Robina Beesigomwe who were organsing the training (and had everything well organised!). The Foundations for Farming training started on Monday in the facilities of the Open Baptist Church in Gabarone. 

Training started at 8.30am with about 25 people. Some people from a national newspaper turned up later to do an interview with us after sitting in on the training for a few hours. It was interesting that only a few of the participants were actively farming but almost all had land. And while some did not even have land, it was so good to see that farming is seen by them as a real opportunity for business and to make a positive contribution to the development of their country. A very low production is achieved here with a lack of rain being a major factor. People were alert, engaged and freely joined the discussions. The training was shared between Hayley and myself.

An interesting difference with other trainings we have done was the high level of education of most of the participants. For example, Timothy is a registrar of companies and his wife is a lawyer. They have some land but only grow vegetables. Carolyn is a farmer’s rep for a chemical company. Joy trains librarians and wants to lease some land to go farming. Owen, a well-educated man, is full-time carer for his sick wife and mother. He has some land he would like to farm. Christopher is a pastor from Zambia and very keen to do some farming here. Billy K is a university lecturer, now a full-time farmer.

A high ranking representative from the Ministry of Agriculture came to hand out the certificates and seemed supportive of what he heard. They were all very taken by what they had learned, particularly the water wastage through ploughing and not mulching. This is as applicable here as anywhere with their low rainfall. They also became very engaged through the mind-set discussions. At the end of the training they formed groups in a few areas and arranged to meet before too long to see how they are going in taking this new knowledge forward.

Botswana seems a relatively wealthy country and we wondered whether we were aiming at the poorest of the poor here. However there is a great need for Foundations for Farming here all the same though. There certainly were a few people at the training with the potential to become trainers.