IFARM

In Jinja, Uganda, overburdened grandmothers struggled to make ends meet. In a collaboration between FSD and St. Francis Health Care Services, the Initiative for Agricultural Reform and Modernization (IFARM) was able to make their lives a little bit easier.

Context

  • HIV/AIDS in Uganda

    In the 1980s, Uganda was hit hard by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Shouldering this burden today are a generation of grandmothers, now solely responsible for feeding, clothing, and schooling their orphaned grandchildren.

  • Jjajas

    Much of Jinja's economy is agriculture-based. Unfortunately, many grandmothers (jjajas) face challenges in the physically-demanding task of farming traditional commercial crops like matoke and coffee.

  • IFARM

    In 2010, our student team worked with St. Francis to design and build an agricultural education center. The center focused on spreading knowledge of profitable, less-labor-intensive crops (like mushrooms) that could serve as a source of income for the jjajas.

Process

  • Problem Orientation

    When working on a social impact project, there is often temptation to look first at deficiencies – what are the problems here? What are we lacking?

  • Asset-Focused

    Instead, our team subscribed to a different philosophy – that of Asset Based Community Development. We instead focused on the strengths inherent in the situation – a strong, social, enthusiastic community of jjajas; a medical facility with a large plot of land.

  • Mushroom Lab

    This deliberate asset-mapping provided great returns in for the project. We realized that a vacant room in the St. Francis facility could be turned into a mushroom culture lab, and used to provide valuable mushroom spores to grandmothers at a low cost.

Results

    The IFARM project was a collaborative effort by local, grassroots stakeholders, and a sustainability-focused international development team.

    This collaboration helped ensure that the assets and insights of both parties were leveraged.

    The project was profiled by the Foundation for Sustainable development here.

IFARM