Unbalanced nutrition, often based on for instance only maize or cassava and lacking vegetables is a common problem for many rural people in Africa.
To improve this situation, Koppert Foundation supported the Association of Women Development Actors (AWODA) in Uganda to train more than 780 farmers in sustainable farming and healthy nutrition. The training aimed at enhancing understanding of the natural environment and its components, and to use this understanding to improve their farming practices.
The farmers were trained in crop diversification, water conservation and soil fertility management. They learned how to establish a productive vegetable garden and how to use the vegetables produced to cook healthy, tasty and balanced meals. In addition, they were also trained on the use of energy-saving stoves for cooking.
The project also established 25 farmer managed gene banks/seed multiplication sites for banana, maize, potatoes and vegetables to provide the famers with good quality seed and planting materials, which are not available in the market.
The training program resulted in increased resilience and economic viability of the family farmers. The diversified production practices and innovations they have learned not only improved their diets but also resulted in surplus production which could be sold on the market to earn and additional income. This helps to cope with regular expenditures, e.g. for school fees, as well as unforeseen costs, for instance in case of illness of a family member, and therefore contributes to the stability of the households.
Last but not least the program supported setting up village savings associations, where groups (of mainly women) stimulate each other to save money and provide the possibility to borrow from the group savings to finance small investments.