UGANDA: Salesian Missionaries Provide Agriculture Training to 140 Students
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries facilitate an agriculture project on six hectares of land on the grounds of the Don Bosco Children and Life Mission located in the town of Namugongo, just 10 miles northeast of the city of Kampala in Central Uganda. The program provides agriculture education to 140 students who are taught new skills while being encouraged to farm the land. Food grown through the program feeds the students and surrounding communities.
While 86 percent of people living in Uganda make their living through farming, more youth are seeking jobs in urban areas often leaving small agricultural plots of land in rural areas uncultivated. The soil in Uganda is fertile with two rainy seasons and two harvests per year. In 2013, a first attempt was made to involve youth in the cultivation of the land through an agricultural project raising geese and ducks, pigs, goats and cows. After two years, the raising of the animals was successful but the farming of the land did not yield enough vegetables to feed the students at the school.
In 2015, with better farming techniques and better cultivation of the land, the farm produced cabbage, carrots, onions, beans, corn, manioc, eggplant, peppers and sweet potatoes in abundance. Recently, the program expanded to include a piggery with three pigs, one of which produced eight piglets that will be raised on the school farm. With a goal of eventually raising more than 200 pigs, construction has begun on the piggery in order to house a larger population of pigs and install water pipes to be used for cleaning as well as providing drinking water for the animals.
“The Don Bosco Children and Life Mission is in a constant state of improvement to increase its agriculture output in order to provide nutritious food for its students,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Thanks to this agricultural project, many youth have also learned a trade that guarantees them future employment and the ability to help their communities.”
With the addition of more quality teachers, the agriculture program continues to expand its training. The goal of the school is to provide young farmers with a basic education as well as advanced studies in the latest agricultural practices and modern technologies while moving towards efficiency in farming by exploring and testing new techniques in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and animal husbandry. The school provides both classroom education and hands-on agriculture and livestock training on a working farm on the school campus.
Close to 67 percent of Ugandans are either poor or highly vulnerable to poverty, according to UNICEF. While the country has seen some economic growth as well as improvement in its Human Development Index ranking over the last 20 years, the country still ranks near the bottom at 163 out of 188 countries. After decades of war left many displaced, the people of Uganda face many significant challenges as they work to rebuild their country.
Uganda’s literacy rate has improved with 73 percent of the population literate but only 23 percent of Ugandans go on to acquire a secondary education. According to UNICEF, one of the biggest challenges in the country is combating the serious increase of HIV/AIDS that has left millions of children orphaned.
UNICEF – Uganda