Youth-led community building in Lira, Uganda
Two meals a day. That's what our child-headed and vulnerable female-headed households now have. Before they might have one a day or one every other day.
Our Ugandan soil produces some of the best produce (e.g. coffee) in the world, and we have two growing seasons due to our unique climate. We should not lack for food.
And yet hunger ravages our partners. In late 2009 famine hit, the result of floods which destroyed food crops. The next year, we had a severe drought killing many fruit trees.
Sadly, when we do plant gardens, unless we have the money to fence in large plots of land, theives, including neighbors, steal crops - especially if they know that children or elderly women are the only ones around to protect the crops. It's not fair, and we also do not have a system that can provide justice. We must help our own communities by being there for each other and standing up for each other as we might within our village meetings.
With the American Jewish World Service, we were able to search out those most affected by the famine and teach food security. We fed kids and their guardians and taught them the best practices for farming. We also provided them with drought resistant seeds and tubers for maize, simsim, cow peas, sorghum and cassava stems.
The result: food aid and the restoration of livelihoods.
Floods, drought, famine, and crop theft will not stop us. We will rebuild our community.
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