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Farming sustains families through lockdown

Subsistence farming has been a lifeline for many families in Fort Portal, Uganda, during lockdown.

Accomplish has been working with the Rwenzori Special Needs Foundation (RSNF) since 2015 to provide tools, seeds and livestock for families with disabled children. By growing crops or keeping pigs or goats, families can feed themselves, as well as producing surplus vegetables or meat to sell. The income-generating farming project is sustainable because each family must donate a newborn piglet or goat kid to another family.

By the end of 2019, 200 families were farming thanks to the generosity of Accomplish's donors and because of organic growth via livestock donations.

Then COVID-19 hit. In Uganda, the number of cases has been consistently low, but the impact of draconian lockdown rules has been substantial. Many people suddenly found themselves out of work. Border closures affected trade. The cost of both food and transport rose sharply. Furthermore, most journeys were prohibited, so people could not travel to markets to buy food. Uganda has no social security system or furlough scheme.

During last year's lockdown, we at Accomplish were encouraged to hear about the huge difference that our sustainable farming scheme made. Not only did the families involved have homegrown food to eat, but several of them also gave food to neighbours in need. Encouraged by this, we decided to devote our Christmas 2020 fundraising campaign to agriculture and 32 families received pigs or tools and seeds as a result.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters and donors. As the proverb goes: give someone a fish and you feed them for a day, teach someone to fish and you feed them for a lifetime. Or, in our case, give someone a cabbage, bean or onion and you feed them for a day, teach people to grow crops and you feed them for a lifetime.

A volunteer from Ukraine spent time working with RSNF prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. She saw first-hand the difference that farming made and how selling produce enabled people to pay school fees and buy beds or mattresses. She subsequently raised enough money for 70 families to start keeping goats, chickens or cows. At Accomplish, we have always wanted to provide seed funding for projects that can grow, mature, and seek additional funding from elsewhere, so this is a great example of that happening.

This year, Fort Portal has enjoyed a favourable climate, so our families have produced a good harvest from their seeds - enough to eat, to replant for next season, and to sell for income. The pig-keeping scheme has produced 20 piglets ready for collection and for passing onto the next beneficiaries.

You can support Accomplish's farming projects by donating online through Enthuse:

To enable a family to start growing crops by providing seeds and tools costs £45 and a pig costs £30. Every donation of any size will improve people's diet, income, and quality of life. Thank you so much for supporting Accomplish.


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