To break the cycle of poverty and ensure food security for villagers, Joséphine Nakakande and NGO Eco-Agric Uganda developed a simple yet innovative idea: use small spaces and locally available materials to create low-cost sustainable vegetable gardens.
At least 20 % of women in southwest Uganda live in extreme poverty. Agricultural practices are rudimentary with often negative impacts on crop productivity, the soil and human health. Having identified the challenges during a Participatory Rural Appraisal in 2018, NGO Eco-Agric Uganda launched a training programme to promote sustainable vegetable growing, particularly mushrooms, to improve subsistence for these communities and generate revenues.
This will make it easier and faster for vulnerable populations in Uganda and across Africa to grow vegetables using low-cost materials available locally. In turn, this will improve the economic situation and nutrition of these fragile rural families, while increasingly fresh vegetable supply for a growing market in Uganda and further afield.
At the same time, the project supports environmental conservation by reducing negative environmental impacts. Sustainable vegetable gardens will promote sustainable agriculture and reduce food transportation costs and water runoff. The fruit trees planted will clean the air and water, create shade for birds and humans, enrich the soil and provide food.
Train and share knowledge
To achieve this, Eco-Agric Uganda provides local women with training, as well as the materials, seeds and plants to get started. Some are then trained to share this newfound knowledge with other women. The impact so far has been significant with many of the women earning 30% more. Since the project was launched, 678 women have been trained and more than 400 women are involved in growing mushrooms.
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