By Nolly Molton.
This year, an article started trending on Facebook illustrating the diversity of school meals around the world. The photos used featured meals from all over Europe, America and Asia and it was certainly fun to compare different cultures’ approaches to lunch! However, I was surprised by the glaring omission of any African food in the research and then it struck me that this is at once sad and pertinent. The reality for many children in certain parts of Africa is that school lunches aren’t yet commonly provided in schools and without the means to fund this themselves, many children go the whole school day without eating.
This has huge consequences both in terms of health and education. A staggering 2.3 million children suffer from malnourishment in Uganda today resulting in ill health, stunting and of course, poor performance in class. Without the energy needed to concentrate, many young people are forced to retake years and even drop out purely because they aren’t being fed. While these statistics are shocking, Uganda is pushing forward in its effort to eradicate hunger amongst school aged children and our team member, Fred, is a wonderful example of how enthusiasm, paired with strategy and diligence can help do this.
Earlier this year, Fred began the School Farms Project at Busolwe Primary School (amongst others). While it’s taken a huge amount of hard work, perseverance and diligence, this project is well and truly thriving under his leadership and the primary children are starting to reap the rewards of his commitment.
The idea behind this project is that the children themselves learn practical agricultural skills whilst also taking ownership of the production process and not solely the consumption of the crops. The hope is that not only will the school be able to provide a lunch time meal for the students (meaning more energy and, therefore, better performance throughout the day) but the students themselves will be able to harness skills as well as a positive attitude towards farming and a personal sense of responsibility for the farms. Tom Eruba, Busolwe School’s head teacher expressed his enthusiasm for the project when he spoke with us last month:
“We at Busolwe Primary School are grateful for the love and support a little bit of HOPE has given us. Last season they supported our school farm where we harvested and got 956 kilograms of maize grains, here pupils happily fed on porridge for 4 months and still this season our yield is amazing and we expect around 1200 kilograms of maize grains.”
These statistics are as encouraging as they are impressive. Fred has done a wonderful job coordinating and leading this project forward and we’re thrilled to know it’s made such a positive difference to the students over the last months! Nevertheless, there’s always more to be done and we would love to be able to put even more time and resources into this specific project.
If just ten people decided to donate £10 a month, we would be able to employ someone else to work alongside Fred and help him expand this project further still. If you feel you might like to be part of this journey, find out how to get involved at alittlebitofhope.org/give. We are incredibly thankful for all the support we already receive and hope this update encourages you as much as it has done us.