From Emergency Aid Towards Self Sustainability: Potato Seedlings For The Batwa

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After having decided to guide the Batwa groups at Lake Bunyonyi on their way towards self-sustainability as a result of the distress signals we have received from them, we brought them garden tools as a first step on the way last February. Their gratitude for this was enormous, as can be seen in the also previously shared video below.

 

 

In the weeks after we brought them the garden tools, both groups have kept us updated on their progress, which turned out to be very positive! For example, they told us that, as expected, the tools enabled them to work on third-party land (planting seeds and weeding) for a reasonable fee; previously this was not a realistic option, because the tools would then first have to be rented elsewhere, which was very much at the expense of the earnings for the Batwa. The groups also informed us that they had cultivated the plot where they reside and that they consider their property (one group has a significantly larger plot than the other) and that they were basically ready to start growing their own crops. They uttered a preference for potato seedlings.

The video below shows how our Ugandan Manager, Noah, together with team member Brighton, met some members of both Batwa groups at one of their locations a few weeks ago (end of March).

 

 

Then, as can be seen in the videos below, they all together visited the business of a nearby living farming couple, Bernard Nzongoza and his wife Deborah, who are a role model for farmers in their community and who are willing to guide the Batwa groups in the process of cultivating crops. During the visit, an explanation was given about the various potato varieties present in the company and about the cultivation of potato seedlings. Eventually, both groups were provided with an amount of potato seedling to get started with.

 

 

All this marks the next step in the process towards self-sustainability for both Batwa groups. Since the groups can at this point not yet survive completely without aid, we have once more provided them with an amount of emergency food, made possible with the support of Foundation Den Brinker.

 

Update as of 7. May: the potato seedlings have started growing!

Last week, on 30. April, Ugandan Managers Noah and Aaron, accompanied by team member Johnson, have again visited the Batwa groups to both check on the growth process of the potato seedlings they have been provided in February and to bring them some food.

Our team was happy to find the seedlings having started growing successfully! Although not all of them have emerged yet, this is of course a promising result.

When there will be a new period of harvesting in a few months (July/August), the groups can harvest their own potatoes for the first time, while they can then also resume paid work on the land of others; step by step we help them on their way to self-reliance.

With harvesting or planting seeds on land of others is currently not an option, and tourism in Uganda still far from back at its old level, we will still continue to provide them emergency aid for some months. This time they have received maize flour, cabbages and soap, made possible with the support of Foundation Den Brinker.

NB: soap is currently extremely expensive in Uganda. It has become a too expensive product for many, while it is indispensable, not only for body hygiene, but also for washing clothes!

Please view in the photo slider below the photos of both the providing of the potato seedlings in February and the visit described in this update.

 

We will of course continue to monitor developments closely!

 

HWMCO-Nederland & NiCA Foundation
‘We Fight Poverty by Bringing Development’

 

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