School farms: so much more than lunch

July and August have been busy for Fred, School Farm Project Manager in Butaleja District. Lots has been going on, so we thought we’d fill you in on what he’s been up to.

poultry birds of Mulagi girlsMulagi Girls’ school is one of the schools supported by the school farm scheme. During July they were provided with 357 chickens, that will enable them to generate income to further sustain their school farm activities. Pupils take part in practical lessons on feeding and treatment of poultry birds during their agriculture lessons, including how to conduct vaccinations to keep the birds healthy. Mulagi Girls’ have also recently harvested five bags of peanuts from their school farm, and they plan to use it as a nutritious sauce for their lunches. A little bit of HOPE (UK) Trustee, Amy, visited Mulagi Girls’ School with Rob and Fred back in July. They were impressed by how well the students demonstrated the modern farming methods they’ve been learning about during their agricultural lessons on the farm. The girls were excited to ‘show off’ their school farm, which is proving to be an extremely valuable learning centre within the school.

“We are so grateful for the support given to us; particularly the poultry birds. We shall now be able to provide the girls with a balanced diet, and the manure from the birds will be taken to our gardens to improve the fertility of our soils. Our crop yields will increase, without us incurring any costs of inorganic fertilisers, thanks to a little bit of HOPE” (Mr Waira – Agriculture teacher, Mulagi Girls’ School)

Fred has been training pupils and staff at Nabuyanja Primary School on soil and water conservation technology. This involves processes that are mostly unfamiliar to the a little bit of HOPE (UK) team, such as ‘mulching’ (helping soil to retain moisture in dry weather) and creating water diversion channels! Nabuyanja Primary have also taken the initiative to elect a student-led school farm committee. Meeting with pupils on this team, Fred tells us how exciting it is to see children passionate about sustainable farming at school: “From talking with these pupils, we realised how much they enjoy their responsibilities. These include maintaining the gardens, managing and recording the harvests, ensuring children all get their meals, and storing the produce for later use. We are so encouraged that the children have continued to use these school farms as learning centres to learn modern but simple methods of farming.”

Mugulu Integrated School and Busolwe Secondary School both harvested their maize crops in July, which will be used to make a number of different meals for pupils’ lunches. Two more schools have also welcomed the introduction of school farms this year. George, a parent and committee member at Lughule Primary School said: “We never had a school garden at our school, and our children never had lunches. But now we have gardens at school, children are learning modern farming and very soon our children will begin having meals from harvests of their farm; something that has never happened at Lughule Primary School.”

And as if that wasn’t enough activity for a month or two, Fred also took teachers from each of the six supported schools to Jinja (a larger town 150km from Butaleja) to an Agriculture Expo, to enable them to learn new farming technologies and build confidence in the methods we have trained them in for their school farms.

We are grateful for the support of many in the UK that enables us to employ our amazing staff team in Uganda and initiate life-changing projects like these school farms. If you’ve been inspired by what you’ve read today, and would like to help impact more lives in Butaleja, visit our give page to find out how to donate. Thank you.

Kitchen garden managed by pupils of P.6vegetable enterprise of Nabuyanja ps