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Africa • Uganda

Food security for refugees and host communities

Most people in Isingiro in western Uganda live from agriculture. But droughts, water shortages and the limited usable land lead to a precarious food situation in the communities and refugee settlements.

Preventing malnutrition: A COVOID employee carries out a screening of a child. (Photo: AWO International)Preventing malnutrition: A COVOID employee carries out a screening of a child. (Photo: AWO International)

The Nakivale refugee settlement in southwestern Uganda is one of the oldest in the country. More than 100,000 refugees live here. They fled from violence and hunger in their home countries such as Congo and Southern Sudan. But life in the refugee settlement also presents the refugees with great challenges, as the Isingiro region is one of the poorest in Uganda.

Around 80 percent of the families living here earn their living from agriculture. But usable land is scarce and most families own only a small piece of land. In addition, there are the consequences of climate change: water scarcity and droughts mean that harvests are lower and the region's food supply is not secure. Even a balanced diet is hardly possible. The malnutrition of children in particular is a major problem that is hardly noticed.

Together with our partner organization COVOID, we are making a contribution to improving the precarious nutritional situation in the region. This also includes measures to prevent malnutrition due to unbalanced nutrition and measures to generate additional income. Our project is aimed both at refugees in the refugee settlement of Nakivale and at the residents of the host communities.

Strengthening self-organiszation and improving cultivation methods

In the so-called "Farmer Field Schools" founded by COVOID, farmers meet regularly in small groups with a trained moderator. Here they jointly compare modern cultivation techniques with the techniques used to date and determine which agricultural practices lead to higher yields under the given environmental conditions. The newly tested cultivation methods, such as drip irrigation, row planting and mulching, should lead to safe and healthy yields and take social, economic and ecological aspects into account.

In order to also show communities that have less access to usable land new ways to increase their food production, we offer training to alternative gardeners, such as backyard and hilltop gardeners. With these methods, even very small, previously unused areas can be intensively used and contribute to a more diverse food production. With the support of our partner COVOID, so-called savings and credit associations are also being set up: A form of microfinance managed by the communities themselves. The self-organized and self-chosen groups enable their members to take small loans and invest them in the creation of new sources of income.

To prevent widespread malnutrition, COVOID employees offer workshops and practical training, such as cooking demonstrations, in which people are informed about the importance of a balanced diet and how to achieve it. As a further measure against malnutrition, sweet potato seedlings with a high nutrient content are distributed and people are informed about their cultivation. Screenings will also be carried out to test children for malnutrition. In acute cases, these can then be referred to health centres, where they have access to medical treatment and, if necessary, dietary supplements.

Our aim is to ensure that the project has a long-term and sustainable impact: Therefore, we are working together with local community members to create community structures that will preserve, manage and disseminate the newly acquired knowledge and techniques in the future.

Project information

ProjectFood security for refugees and host communities
Place/RegionIsingiro District, Nakivale refugee camp
PartnerCOVOID
Target group

refugees and host communities

Activities
  • Establishment of "Farmer Field Schools" as training facilities for modern, effective and sustainable cultivation techniques.
  • Trainings for backyard gardeners
  • Establishment of self-managed savings and credit associations
  • Educational workshops and cooking demonstrations on the subject of balanced nutrition
  • Malnutrition screenings
  • Setting up a support network for people suffering from malnutrition
  • Distribution of sweet potato seedlings and training in their cultivation
Duration2019
Budget50.000 Euro
SponsorAktion Deutschland Hilft, Spenden

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