Monday, November 2, 2009

Seed Bank

Capacity Building

Food Security

Positive Economy

Sustainable Development

The above buzzwords (buzzphrases?) are an important part of NGO/charity lingo and the ideas and theories they describe are constantly being applied here as Kibaale Community Centre strives to make an impact in our community. 

At its core, our centre is an educational institute. We have been entrusted with close to 1,000 students to teach, mentor, prepare and develop into Godly, responsible citizens who will be leaders in Uganda. We believe that by educating these children, we are building the capacity of this nation and contributing to a future economy that will thrive, eventually without foreign aid – a lofty idea, I know! 

In addition to this awesome task, we have the opportunity to engage in other development work when needs become apparent on the peripheries of the education component of our mandate. It is difficult to teach a child that hasn’t eaten since they left school the day before or is suffering from untreated malaria (These are just examples of the many challenges our students and greater community face). This is where our community services department steps in; by offering food assistance and operating a medical clinic, among other things. 

Currently, people in our community are suffering as the previous rainy season (February – April) was not long enough for them to produce enough food to last until this rainy season began about 3 weeks ago. The staple food here is a maize flour paste called posho topped with kidney beans. Our community members have had to eat all of their beans (which are also seeds) leaving them with nothing to plant this rainy season. 

Recently, Vincent and Elkanah (both former students and now employees) developed the idea of changing the way we provide famine relief from just giving out food to loaning seeds to people and collecting them, along with a small amount of excess seeds as “interest,” back after harvest. Operating a bank, as it were. Food security as opposed to food assistance is the ultimate goal of this idea. In theory, with the seeds borrowed, people will be able to plant bigger crops, experience higher yields, be able to pay the “bank” back and even save some seeds for the next planting season. The “interest” will be used to cover losses from any failed crops and/or allow us to lend seeds to more people next season.

Vincent helping people fill out their seed bank account applications  

Over the last few weeks, in addition to giving out maize flour and beans to those in our community that don’t have enough food to eat (which has been done to sustain them until they can harvest in about 3 months) we have loaned out beans, cassava stems and maize seeds to those who applied to be a part of our seed bank program. We are all very excited and interested to see if our seed bank will be successful. Check back in a few months to get a full report! 

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