Hannah’s Gold Star Project: School Farms

Hannah Green is currently in the process of writing up her PhD thesis looking at aspirations in Butaleja District and the negotiations which take place within a family in order for aspirations to be realised. She lives in London with Phil and is starting to think about entering the real world of work at the beginning of next year. Hannah rounds up our Gold Star Series with her favourite project of 2012: School Farms…

I don’t know if you remember when you were at school (I still do, just about!), or perhaps you can think about your own children. I know that I was always starving! I would have a good lunch but would still always need something at break time and the minute I got home from school. Even as an adult, I cannot go more than about four hours without food if I want to concentrate. This is why the idea of school children spending all day in school without eating really stood out to me as something a little bit of HOPE should look into. For some of these children, home was just too far to go at lunchtime so they would just stay without food, and then they wouldn’t eat until 9pm.

Primary schools in Butaleja often have land but not the resources to do anything with it. Our school farm project gives money to the school for ploughing the land and for maize seed in the first season and then for more seeds in the second season. The children and teachers weed and look after the crops. After the second season we hope that they will become sustainable, using kernels from the previous season’s maize to plant for the next season.

I have made school farms my gold star project because they work on so many different levels; most importantly all the children in the schools have food to eat and are able to concentrate better in class. But more than this they are also able to learn farming in a real and practical way. The farms are also taken on and ran by the school; therefore it is not just a project run by a little bit of HOPE but involves headmasters, teachers and pupils.

Lots of people have donated to and supported this project so I want to say a big thank you. We hope to do one more school farm in the New Year and work with the others for them to become sustainable before we continue to roll them out in schools across Butaleja.