Agriculture in East Africa

A farmer planting beans in Bududa District, Uganda

 

Hands of Action Uganda’s priority
is to invest in agriculture

The rapidly deteriorating climate, growing population and rising food prices pose a threat to the global food production the world over.

In December 2010, the Time Magazine headline read: “Earth to run out of food by 2050”.  While this may have been an overstatement to a few people, UN agencies, scientists and food experts concur that indeed we are in serious trouble if governments don’t act fast to boost the agriculture sector.

This year, East Africa has been hit by one of the worst food crises ever, giving us a glimpse of how such crises would play out in the years to come.  In Uganda, agriculture employs about 80% of population and has accounted for 13.9% of Uganda’s real GDP in the 2010/2011 financial year. The sector also accounted for about 46% of the total export earnings in 2010. Although the role of agriculture in poverty reduction and overall growth in Uganda is well recognised, investment in the sector still remains minimal. There is no time to waste.  Uganda leaders, CBOs, NGOs must sensitize and must invest in making agriculture robust now, enabling more food to be grown in climate-stressed environments, without further exhausting finite natural resources like Elgon, Mabira and so many others that are being depleted.

Uganda’s inflation rate is now at 30.5%
Uganda’s inflation rate, standing at an astounding 30.5%, (source, Bank of Uganda), has been blamed on high food prices due to shortages in food supply caused by the scanty rainfall that has mainly been  caused due to climate change. (source, World Bank)

We are experimenting with new food crops

For the last two decades, government budgetary allocation to agriculture has been less than 5%. The money allocated is hardly enough to revamp the performance of Uganda’s weak agriculture sector where growth has steadily declined from 7.9% in 2000/2001 to 0.9% in 2010/2011. Economists are of the view that government mechanizes and boosts agricultural production through promoting agro-processing, which will create more jobs for both the skilled and unskilled Ugandans.

Hands of Action Uganda has initiated several programs to help our farmers seek out potential crops and new farming methods.

The project was made possible by an initial donation from Marcia Bujold from US who donated agricultural seeds to Hands of Action Uganda.

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Helping Hands send a sewing machine, books and training

 

Five people in our community have trained to use the sewing machine sent to us by Corazon Ringmaster

 

We are grateful for these gifts from our friends

 

Thank you, friends from around the world, who have helped us in so many ways!  Here are more stories about those who have reached out to donate needed items to our orphanage and community.

Thank you, Corazon Ringmaster, for sending this sewing machine!

We are grateful to receive this sewing machine from our friend Corazon Ringmaster.   Since receiving it, three women and two men have already trained on it. The sewing machine will be used for making and repairing children’s clothing.  Hands of Action Uganda is now seeking funds to buy material, thread, etc., so that clothing can be made for the orphanage. We also look forward to developing women’s sewing as self sustenance business projects.

 

Mr. Khaukha Lawrence, Librarian, receiving a book given to us by Professor Kate Parry from Hunter College, CUNY, New York

 

Books for the Library
Many thanks to our friend Professor Kate Parry from Hunter College, CUNY New York, for the advice on how to run a community library and donation of books.  Professor Parry teaches English at Hunter College and is Chair of the Board at the Uganda Community Libraries Association.   We also thank Under the Reading Tree from Canada for supporting us with wages of our part time librarian and for books.  We are also grateful for the Osu Children’s Library Fund for providing us with books.

David Tye of Trees for the Future demonstrates methods to terrace a slope

 

Good environment is the backbone of Uganda
We thank the organization Trees for the Future and David Tye from the United States for their continued support and training in Agro-forestry, soil erosion control training, and providing us with different types of tree species for the community.  Trees for the Future came to us after a terrible landslide killed several hundred people in Bududa District.   David Tye helped our farmers with training in terracing and tree planting in the continuing struggle to farm on steep slopes.

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Helping Hands – Friends send food

Food has arrived for little Maureen, who is just 1 1/2 years old. Thank you Rachel Caddell and Hannah Daltrop of Canada!

 

For I was hungry and you fed me

We send love and thanks to our special friends who have heard our cry for help and have sent us much needed donations of food.  They gave what they could spare to help the orphans here.
 
Hands of Action Uganda has 180 children who we are caring for, and more come every week. We have been challenged recently by serious food shortages brought on by drought and inflation of food prices. Our sincerest thanks goes to Jennifer Karina Anderson, Deb McGregor, Hannah Daltrop, Rachel Caddell and Ann Rich, who all have gone without and left their own stomachs empty to donate food to the needy here in Bududa!

The children celebrate food received from Hannah and Rachel

Beans sent to us by Hannah Daltrop

Maize and beans feed a multitude
Hannah Daltrop and Rachel Caddell of Canada saved us from hunger by sending maize, beans, and special treats, such as baked muffins and drinks, which the children enjoyed very much.  The arrival of food was a happy occasion, and the children felt stronger after eating.

Hannah and Rachel have sent us food, as well as important items, like building materials and balls to play soccer and netball, so the children build healthy bodies.

 

Ann Rich holds another fundraiser event to raise money for Ugandan orphanages, including ours

Fundraising with love
Mother Ann Rich has traveled several times to Uganda.  We were so happy when she visited us in Bududa. She has been to other orphanages as well and has written a book, Mother Ann,  about her experiences.  Ann holds fundraising events in her community, selling items and holding raffles to raise money for us.

“I have been helping in Uganda now for over 6 years,” writes Ann, “I was so impressed … I went to see Moses and the children … what a wonderful young man he is, his teachers and his mother, too!  There is a food shortage and prices are rising so much … going to be hard times ahead for all there. We are so blessed to have what we have here.”

This little girl and her friends raised money to help the children in Africa.

A little girl at the door
Jennifer Karina Anderson and her friends gathered together enough money to feed our children for several weeks. She says, “It is such a relief to know that they will be taken care of for a bit anyway while we search for a long term solution.”

Her young friend, a 10 year old girl, raised funds for us!

Jennifer wrote: “So I am sitting at home, shedding tears over the orphans in Uganda, when a young girl comes to my door just now with a box filled with $53 she and her friends raised today washing cars to help the children in Africa. True Story. Amazing.”

We are so touched that this beautiful little girl would help our children.  She is a special gift to us.

Jennifer has been selling her art and having garage sales to raise money for the Hands of Action orphanage.

Jennifer says, “I am trying to raise funds to help Moses with more mosquito nets and food. I am also over half way to my goal of raising start up funds to begin a women’s jewelry making microenterprise there! Things are progressing, but the needs are too great.”

These girls are eating beans and posho, made from maize sent by Jennifer Karina Anderson and her friends.

 

Thank you to Jennifer and her friends!


 

Let me first pray for our friends

These acts of kindness remind me of this verse in the Bible….

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.– Matthew 25:35.

Rachel Caddell, Hannah Daltrop, Jennifer Karina Anderson, Deb McGregor and Ann Rich – thank you for obeying God’s word of feeding the hungry. We love you all for what you did for us!

We are actively seeking long term solutions to our situation, but any and all donations will go a long way towards helping us in this difficult time.

Do you know that you can feed 180 children for an entire week for only $80 – $100?  Can you help these innocent fatherless and motherless children?  Please contact Moses for information on how to donate at handsofaction@gmail.com .

 

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Famine knows no border

Another Painful Famine and Poverty attacks Africa!

There is hunger once again.
 
The worst famine in recent memory has gripped regions in Somalia, producing another painful humanitarian crisis in Africa.  According to the United Nations, tens of thousands of Somalis, mostly children and women, have already died.  And an estimated 3.7 million people – more than half the population of Somalia – could starve to death.

Famine and drought does not stop at the Somalia border.  Our area in Eastern Uganda (Bududa),  Northern Uganda and other parts of Uganda are already seeing victims of this painful famine crisis.  Widespread drought is contributing to the suffering of people region wide, drying up crops and contributing to food shortages.

Climate change is real
According to the UN World Food Program (WFP), the drought is a result of climate change, which is altering weather patterns in the sub-Saharan region.  And to complicate matters, the small food crops produced in Uganda have been sold at inflated prices to neighboring countries of Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, leaving little for Ugandan citizens.  The result is the highest malnutrition rates in Uganda for children under 5 years.  They need luck to find food to eat.

A catastrophe looms
Unless relief is urgently provided in the next few months – before the new harvest – there is going to be a catastrophe right here in Bududa, Uganda.

Hands of Action Uganda has 180 children who we are looking after.   We are facing a huge challenge to feed them, with the skyrocketing prices for food due to the inflation sweeping across Uganda.

Do you know that you can feed our 180 orphan children for an entire week for only $80 – $100?  Please contact us to find out how you can help save these innocent fatherless and motherless children.

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Food crisis in East Africa

 

Maize is a staple crop in the Hands of Action farm community. In Bududa District, maize has been
severely damaged by drought, a disaster for local farm families.

 

Where is the answer to food crisis in East Africa?

 
Uganda could be the next country hit by alarming malnutrition rates due to the drought which has sparked famine in southern Somalia and hunger in Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, the United Nations warned on Tuesday.
Reuters: Uganda could be next hit by malnutrition, UN warns

It’s only remaining to declare Uganda, but the reality is that Uganda has already been hit by the drought.  We have just seen the death of sixteen children in one day due to malnutrition in eastern Uganda.    Making matters worse, inflation in Uganda is driving the price of food and other consumable commodities to unbearable levels – prices that the common Ugandan cannot afford.
Daily Monitor: Government under fire over sugar crisis

Maize damaged by drought and insects

 
Boosting Ugandan agriculture is one of the most effective and sure ways to address future food shortages and incidences of hunger.  But the key long-standing challenge to agriculture this year is DROUGHT, which is causing misery in every farmer’s home across Uganda and East Africa.

Famine conditions have been declared in two regions of Somalia in July 2011 where 3.7 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.  Eight million people need food assistance in neighboring countries, including Kenya and Ethiopia.  United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls the situation a “catastrophic combination of conflict, high food prices and drought” and has appealed for immediate aid.

“Will I eat today?”
Uganda is known as a “Food Basket” of east Africa.   But climate change is creating huge problems in Uganda. Altered weather patterns due to climate change has caused a long drought span, causing beans, maize crops, etc, to dry and weaken in the germination stage.  This condition encourages dangerous pests and insects, such as cassava mosaic and banana wilt to attack the plantation. Uganda is no longer a Food Basket. Ugandans now ask “Will I eat today?”.

Prices for commodities in East Africa, in Ugandan currency. Source: Daily Monitor, August 11, 2011

 
Furthermore, fuel inflation greatly effects the costs of food that a person needs to buy.  In Uganda, the daily income of a person in the village is less than one dollar, but 1 kilogram of maize flour has risen from .5$ to 2$ – more than a day’s pay. The cost of sugar has risen from a half dollar to 3.2$ per kilogram.

Orphans with no father and no mother face great danger, as these children are often left to fend for themselves and have nothing to eat. The challenges that have produced the mass of refugees in Somalia, and created crises in Kenya, Sudan and Rwanda, are the same challenges now facing Uganda.  Small harvests and high prices for produce results in starvation in Uganda communities.

Here in our community in Bududa District, we are already seeing much suffering from food shortages.  Our orphanage has been struggling to feed our 180 children, and local people often go several days without food.  Thanks to friends who have made food donations, we have been able to provide simple food for our orphans, but this is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

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Helping Hands

 

Helping Hands will be a regular feature where we highlight the contributions of the kind people who help our community.

Shisa James Fredrick and Mwambu Charles showing children how to use mosquito nets. Thank you Shirin Zavosh and David Tye!

 

Friends around the world send help

Mosquito nets are a gift of life
We thank our friends, Shirin Zavosh-Forrester and David Tye from US, for their gift of mosquito nets, which are being used by children in the orphanage.

Jane receiving a mosquito net from Shisa James Fredrick and Mwambu Charles

Malaria is the leading cause of death for Ugandan children under the age of five.  On average, the Ugandan child suffers from six malaria episodes every year.  Malaria kills 350 children every day and is the main cause of infant mortality, underweight and premature births. One out of every two children is admitted to the hospital from malaria and 8% to 25% of the children admitted to the hospital die. 
  70% of child out patients die of malaria.

Malaria is an overwhelming burden all across Africa, contributing to widespread poverty.  Poor communities often lack the basic infrastructure needed for successful mosquito control and disease management.  In turn, people who are sick with malaria cannot perform well in school or jobs. Thus, the malaria/poverty cycle is a vicious trap.

Our friends Shirin Zavosh-Forrester and David Tye have given a gift of life. Thank you!  You have saved the life of future leaders.

A mosquito net costs only $6, and can save a life here in Uganda.

 

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A gift of play
All work and no play makes a child dull, and our friend Rachel Caddell in Canada comes through with balls for the children to play with.  Rachel has sent a football (soccer) for the boys and a netball for the girls.

Children have basic needs – love, food, water, shelter, medical care.  But children also need to play.  Play is essential for growing healthy bodies and happy minds.  Football and netball are popular sports here in Uganda, but many of the orphans in our community have never had the opportunity to play this game.

We thank you Rachel for helping our children have a childhood!

With the increasing numbers of children in our care, we are in need of sports equipment so that all can play.  Can anyone help with this?

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Love the children

 

Friends, please come to rescue this boy. No clothes, sickness, no education, no love. Please help such a child.

 

The child not trained for life will be a beggar for life

Michael is an orphan in our village.  When he lost both of his parents, he thought his life had come to an end.  He could not imagine anyone sponsoring him for studies.  Life had become meaningless, without hope.  Even the Aunts who cared for him were helpless.

Children whose parents are living with HIV often experience many negative changes in their lives.  They suffer neglect, including emotional neglect, long before they are orphaned.  Eventually, they suffer the death of their parent(s) and the emotional trauma that results. They may then have to adjust to a new situation with little or no support.  They may suffer exploitation and abuse.

The orphans whom I was following up from deep in the villages of Bukari. No Father No Mother No Education and No Clean water.

Bududa District in Uganda has a vast number of helpless orphans, but not only as a result of HIV/AIDS.   This is a community of disasters, poverty, malaria and hunger, all of which has caused much death.  In addition, we see a great deal of divorce due to domestic violence and family neglect. Parents sometimes move from village to town in search of jobs, leaving helpless children alone to head the families.  This has contributed to the suffering in our community.

Together, you and Hands of Action Uganda can change these communities for the better.  Our people want to control their destinies, to build a world where children enjoy life with their parents.

Together, we can empower these communities and give our orphans a home.  Hands of Action Uganda acts as an eye for the orphans on the ground.  We are the internal actor for the better community.  When an external actor – which is YOU – presents an opportunity in any form to us, we transform that opportunity into tangible action.

Hands of Action Uganda is here to treat the cause, not just the symptoms.  Our orphans, who suffer from hunger and malaria, need food to survive today.  They need mosquito nets and anti-malarial drugs.  Those with HIV/AIDS need anti-retroviral drugs to survive.

Partners of Hands of Action Uganda… love the children!  Let’s change from a negative way of thinking to a positive way of thinking.  Let’s make poverty a history in our community.  Help us end domestic violence which is 65% cause of orphans in Uganda due to poverty in families.  Together, let us empower mothers and fathers to fish, to make loaves of bread themselves and free themselves from reliance on charities.

Michael needs your help now. Only $350 sends him to school with scholastic materials. Can you give this boy a chance?

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Quit talking and begin doing!

 

To reduce poverty in communities,
quit talking and begin doing!

From our perspective at Hands of Action Uganda, poverty can briefly be defined as the deprivation of basic human and social needs and rights. The local people in Uganda do not see it so differently. They simply define poverty as a situation “beyond the lack of income and material assets to include the absence of social aspects that supports life”. (UPPAP, 2000)

This definition implies that poor people not only lack of access to resources. They are also vulnerable and blocked from developing secure livelihoods. They do not have access to necessary education and knowledge. And they are not in a position to exercise their rights. People’s own perception of their situation – as well as factors leading to this situation – becomes important.

Poverty is a complex, multidimensional phenomenon with location and situation specifics – a result of many political, economic, cultural and social processes, which are often difficult to categorize.  In Bududa, structural causes include such diverse phenomena as deteriorating terms of landslide, domestic violence, malaria, HIV/AIDS, landlessness, gender discrimination, malpractice in public resources management, environmental violence and instability. Furthermore, it is very often a combination of these phenomena that can explain poverty.

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The Fish are Goats!

 

Hands of Action Uganda from Design for Docs on Vimeo.

 

Hands of Action Launches Goat Project for Needy Families

We all know the old saying that begins, if you give a man a fish, you can feed him for a day. But if you teach a man how to fish, you can feed him for a lifetime.

But in Bukibokolo … the fish are goats!

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Give a Child a Chance

 

With no father and no mother, 10 year old James has no other option but to sell sugar cane "so that I can have what to eat or buy a pen".


 

Poverty is the Cause of Child Labour

Give a Child a Chance is the call of the day
as Hands of Action Uganda marks June 12, 2011 as
World Day Against Child Labour.

Over 1.8 million children in Uganda between the ages of 5-16 years old are engaged in child labour.  Of this group, 798,451 are girls (International Labour Organization).

Child labour is found in agriculture, transport, mining and related sectors, fishing, construction, the urban informal sector, domestic service (cooking, cleaning and fetching water and fuel) and commercial sexual exploitation of children. Other activities include illegal cross border trade (smuggling) and trafficking of children within and outside the country for employment and other purposes. The most affected groups are HIV/AIDS affected and infected children, children from very poor families, orphans, children with disabilities as well as children caught up in armed conflict.

An orphan child forced to fetch 10 jerican of water before going to school.

 

Girls at especially high risk
Over 100 million girls are involved in child labour worldwide.  Many of these girls undertake similar work as boys, but endure additional hardships and face extra risks.  Girls are exposed to some of the worst forms of child labour – often in hidden work situations –  including slavery, bonded labour, prostitution and pornography.  Girls face particular disadvantages due to discrimination and practices which allocate certain forms of work to girls. Many girls take on unpaid household work for their families more than boys. Girls must combine long hours of household chores with some form of economic activity outside the household, presenting girls with a double burden.

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