Demonstration Gardens

Agricultural training and a village savings scheme that improves rural livelihoods and supports education in Northern Uganda.

Photo of African Revival
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

African Revival

Year founded

2005

Initiative stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $50k - $100k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 10,000 - 50,000

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development
  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Headquarters location: City

Middlesex

Location(s) of impact

Uganda: 15 communities within the Amuru District

Website

http://africanrevival.org/

Facebook URL

www.facebook.com/africanrevival

Twitter URL

https://twitter.com/african_revival

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

In Northern Uganda, poor agricultural productivity leads to food insecurity, and despite increasing enrolment children continue to miss school to help their family in the fields. Children attending school are often hungry, resulting in a lack of focus and poor academic attainment. Low household incomes means some parents can't afford to pay their childrens' school fees, or buy scholastic materials such as books and uniforms.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Demonstration gardens are established at schools and provide pupil and parent farmer groups with specialist small-scale agricultural training. Farmer groups plant crops on land given to the group by schools, with tools, fertilisers and seeds provided. Dividends from this harvest are split with 30% going to the school, 40% split between parents and pupil groups, and 30% going back into sustaining the garden. Village Savings and Loans Associations are then established at each school - training parents in financial management and providing savings services and micro finance loans. This allows families to plan for costs such as school fees, and borrow money to start small businesses, or pay unforseen costs.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

At 11/15 schools we're working pupil retention has improved by at least 10%. This is due to establishment of school feeding clubs, children bringing packed lunch, and more dialogue between the school and community. 12,158 currently enrolled students are benefitting from improvements made to the school environment from garden dividends. 1 school PTA installed electricity - giving older pupils the opportunitiy to study after dark. 632 parents have received agricultural training and seeds. We anticipate all these individuals will improve productivity, and income, on their own land. We teach participants to make natural pesiticides/fertilisers reducing contamination of water sources and preventing harmful chemicals entering the local food chain. Future gardens will also train participants to use waste biomass with special stoves - reducing deforestation for firewood and charcoal.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

All the current budget is a grant. After the project has been well established, and training completed over three years, the gardens are self sufficient - sustained by the 40% of dividends that can be used to purchase tools and seeds for the following year.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Our project is based around the school, which strengthens community commitment to education. For future rounds of the school gardens we would like to introduce bio fortified beans - fortified with zinc and iron. We will also select crops with higher nutritional value - such as orange sweet potatoes. As we give parents seeds for their own land, this will improve the nutrition of the community and address the high levels of infant anemia in rural Northern Ugandan communities.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Despite infrastructure provision and teacher training programmes in rural community schools, teachers continued to highlight students lack of focus in the classroom, coupled with disproportionately low attendance and higher than national average drop out rates. Drop out rates were associated with low rural incomes, meaning parents could not pay their school fees, and lack of focus in the classroom was attributed to the students not having sufficient food. Our "Aha!" moment came with the idea to implement Demonstration Gardens - providing Parents with transferable skills and knowledge in agriculture, engaging them with Schools/Teachers, highlighting the benefits of education, and need for nutritional food for the children.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Social media

8 comments

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Comment
Photo of Joseph Brenyah

Demonstration farms can be a great means of teaching needed skills to a larger community. The idea of Demonstration Gardens is therefore laudable. Dependence on grants can create financial sustainability problems and the need to wean yourself of such is quite paramount. Active involvement of the entire beneficiaries should be encouraged. Through this, the students and the youth will be trained to appreciate agribusiness ventures for their future livelihoods.

Photo of African Revival

Joseph Brenyah Hi Joseph thanks for this comment. Totally agree about financial sustainability, which is why every year 40% of the profits are set aside to continue the gardens, and why village savings groups are established at all schools. After the three years the gardens are totally self sustaining! As for active beneficiaries we hold meetings for everyone school, parents, pupils - and the beneficiaries decide how all profits are spent between themselves.

Thanks again - Catherine Inch, African Revival

Photo of Joseph Brenyah

You are welcome.

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