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Food security is a massive challenge facing people around the world and in the villages we support in northern Uganda.  At the end of May food runs out, the crops aren't ready for harvesting and there is a gap in the food supplies. We call this The "Hungry Season" - and it runs until the end of July. 


Before COVID they stored food for the Hungry Season, but COVID forced them to eat everything, including the seeds they had saved for the next season.  Climate Change means the weather is unpredictable and the rains don't come when they should. Black clouds form in the sky, tricking the farmers into thinking the rain is coming. The farmers plant and the rain stops, just when the seedlings need it most.

Since 2020 the situation has deteriorated every year.  Now in 2023 we are doing everything we can to save the lives of the most vulnerable people - young children, old people, disabled people, orphan headed households, elderly grandparents looking after their grandchilden, who have been abandoned because the parents can't cope. 


Home grown food security

We are working towards growing our own food security, with the farmers growing enough to feed their families, sell to the schools, keep seeds for the next season and see them through the hungry season.

It is crazy that the technology is there to monitor activities from 3,000 miles away - see below - but the farmers are still using a hoe and cows to plough the land.

A tractor can plough an acre in 30 minutes and we are very excited to have a 1956 Massey Ferguson T20 tractor in northern Uganda.  Once the farmers have learned how to drive it, it will transform the farming process.

It might be nearly 70 years old, but certainly much more advanced than a plough.

SfD massey ferguson.png

Food for the vulnerable

Old man in northern Uganda sitting on the ground with mango next to him.

Oryem Elizeo is 86 years old.  Every day he sits under the mango tree waiting for the mangoes to drop to the ground.  That is his food for the day. We call him Mango Man.

In his hut Mango Man had three eggs and four pieces of sweet potato.

Elizeo is one of around 1,000 people in the same situation in the seven villages we support.

We call them "The Vulnerables".  Everyone we support is vulnerable, but these people are elderly, disabled, looking after orphans, or orphans themselves and really struggling to survive.  So they have a special vulnerable status with us.

When the mango season ends in June Mango Man  will have nothing to eat. 


Mango Man is our Early Warning System that things are going to get really bad.

To help them get through the most challenging weeks of the hungry season we buy and distribute 10kgs of maize to each household every two weeks. This will keep them from starvation for around 10 days.

Porridge for the Children

young children in northern Uganda with cups of porridge.

Without our help many children would not eat during the day.  We provide a daily cup of hot porridge to all the children attending the nursery schools we support.

During COVID schools were closed for two years in Uganda.  This put huge pressure on families, already struggling to survive.  We took porridge to them to make things a little easier.

Porridge in Uganda is made from maize, a staple crop grown by the farmers. As well as porridge (which is liquid and has a lot of sugar) it is used to make posho. Posho is the staple food in northern Uganda and the same maize is used for both posho and porridge.

Porridge plays an important role in Seeds for Development.  Whilst the amount per child is tiny, when you mulitply that to feed at least 500 children a day it quickly adds up.  You can read more about porridge here.

Embracing Technology

SfD Esri Dashboard
SfD Esri Dashboard with Vulnerables.png

COVID meant that we couldn't travel to Uganda for more than two years. It was horrible and we felt completely out of touch with what was happening. During the long evenings we turned to technology and started using Google to map where the farmers were living. We immediately noticed that the basemap imagery was completely out of date, in some places nearly 4 years old. It is still out of date - Google imagery is from 2016.


One thing led to another and we are now really excited to be embracing technology and using Esri software to map where the vulnerable people are and also where the different crops are being grown.


To do this we have paid for smart phones for the key people on the ground.  When we finally made it back to Uganda we showed them how to use the Survey tool and ever since they are sending the locations of different crops.  They also send through photos and locations of every vulnerable person who receives food.


A huge thank you to Helen Mazalon from Alcis who has created an interactive dashboard showing which crops are growing where and also the location of the vulnerable people receiving our food. 

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