A programme linking Primary Schools in Devon and Cornwall with very rural Primary Schools in Mubende and Tororo Districts of Uganda with a focus on sustainable food growing. 

This is one of the longest-running and most successful DDE programmes. It links primary school in Devon and Cornwall with very rural primary schools in Uganda, with a focus on organic food growing. First established in 2001, with 2 schools in Mubende District, Central Province and 2 schools in Gulu District, Northern Uganda, it now works in Mubende and Tororo Districts. The programme is successfully teaching children about the importance of sustainable food production in both countries.

The key aims of the Food for Thought programme are to provide: 

  • A direct, positive link between pupils and teachers in the link schools
  • A 'Window on the World' for pupils, beyond their own geographical location, in both countries
  • Practical experience of growing food, with all schools in both countries engaged in organic/sustainable food-growing school gardens
  • An education programme to enrich pupils' learning experience in both countries.

Read more ...There are several ways to support Food for Thought and become involved.

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to donate securely through the Virgin Money Giving website or send cheques, made payable to 'Devon Development Education', to our postal address. This is what difference your donation could make:

  • £6 pays for two African hoes, for digging the school garden
  • £17 pays for the Key Farmer Trainer to work with the pupils for one month
  • £600 pays for one school to have a Key Farmer Trainer work with all the pupils for one year - and also pays for tools, seeds, fencing etc for the school food garden.
  • £1200 pays for a Food For Thought District Coordinator for one year, working one day per week.

Primary school education is now free in Uganda, following debt cancellation in the 1990s. Agriculture is back in the primary school curriculum. But many teachers have received very little practical training in farming - and very, very few know the importance of sustainable, organic growing, until they see the results!

When we started the Food For Thought programme, we had funding to pay a Key Farmer Trainer to visit schools once every few weeks to train the children in organic//sustainable food growing skills. Sadly, we no longer have funds for that strategy. We also found that the teachers allowed the KFTs to work without themselves getting involved. So, we changed the strategy and now focus on 2 Garden Teachers (also called Agriculture Teachers). To ensure teachers have the skills, every December FFT holds two residential workshops one in Mubende and one in Tororo.

The annual garden teachers’ residential workshops were held in Mubende in Central Uganda and Tororo in Eastern Uganda in early December during the school holidays.

The workshops are a continuation of DDE’s long running food programme established 2001 which has linked schools in Devon, Cornwall and Uganda to develop sustainable farming practices. The workshops provide a short intensive course delivering teacher training in sustainable organic agriculture with the aim of the teacher’s passing on these skills to their pupils in rural schools.

Both workshops enjoyed an excellent turnout, providing the teachers an opportunity to learn and share experiences.

Both Mubende and Tororo districts, like much of the country are predominantly agricultural economies. However, over the past few years these areas have become increasingly affected and susceptible to climate change. This has exacerbated the risk of drought, unpredictable rainfall, and flooding and crop failure.  The need for sustainable farming methods is therefore important in protecting the local economy and people’s livelihoods.

In October 2015, DDE received a grant of £3650 to deliver beekeeping training to rural primary schools in our Food For Thought (FTT) programme in Uganda. We chose to run the workshops in May 2018 as the weather is good for bees and schools are on holidays so teachers will be more willing to attend training. We were delighted to be put in contact with a very experienced bee-keeping trainer, Patrick Ssekyanzi, who lived in Mubende.

Context:

In May 2018, DDE ran 2 workshops aimed at teaching young people and garden teachers how to be successful beekeepers and use their beehives to produce income for themselves and their schools. In May 2019, 12 months later, Food For Thought Co-ordinator Sue Errington visited the schools and the young people to see how their beehives were getting on and how the participants of the workshops had put into action what they had learnt a year earlier. This is a report to show what has been done in the last 12 months.

The Need: The government of Uganda declared many years ago that Uganda’s education policy is to be inclusive; so that all children should attend school, including all children with special needs.  However it is the case that many special needs children do not attend school, and some schools can offer some support but perhaps not as much as is required. Unfortunately, no-one knows how many special needs children never attend school.

The proposal to build a residential unit with teaching area, for Special Needs children: It can be very difficult for special needs children to travel to school each day, so the proposal is to build a unit on the school compound so that the children can be residential, either weekly, monthly or termly.

Inside the building, first would be a common-room where children can have extra catch-up lessons or Braille lessons or other specific trainings, where they can do their homework, eat their meals and socialise.

Behind the common room would be 2 dormitories, one for girls and one for boys. Doors at the back of the dormitories would give access to washrooms and latrines, which are for the use of special needs children only.

October 2014 Newsletter  and details of the Ground Breaking Day for the new unit in August 2015.

Moses, Mary, Sylivia, Fred, James, Noweline, Gabriel, Ruth, Paul, Grace – these are just some of the inspiring young people in Uganda, who have learned organic food-growing skills at school – and then applied them at home!

The impact has been some pocket money for themselves – and more and better food for their families!

We want to work with these young people, who are enthusiastic and have had some success at farming, to provide ways for them to learn more and develop new and better skills.

These young people and their classmates have had some training in organic food growing at school, as part of the Food For Thought School Linking Programme, run by Devon Development Education with Kulika Charitable Trust, Uganda. This scheme links primary schools in UK with remote, rural primary schools in Uganda, with a focus on FOOD – growing, harvesting, cooking, eating and recycling. The children in Ugandan schools receive training from a local expert, trained by Kulika as a ‘Key Farmer Trainer’.

Food for Thought has continued for over 12 years. The experiences and learning for pupils, teachers and the wider school communities have been many and varied! But friendship, openness and great hospitality have been experienced by all.

To try to evaluate some of the impact of the FFT programme, we carried out an evaluation in the UK and in Uganda in 2005 and then again in 2010. In Uganda, we engaged 2 lecturers from Gulu University to carry out the research. There was a time delay but finally a summary of the report is now available.

In June 2013, Keira Dymond, an MSc student from Exeter University, carried out research for her dissertation in the FFT schools. She was considering the FFT approach as a form of agricultural extension - through children and young people.

All reports concluded that the programme is effective and good value for money.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT PROGRAMME IN UGANDA: 2001 - 2005 External Evaluation Report

Summary of Food For Thought External Evaluation Report 2005 - 2012

MSc Dissertation To what extent can primary school agriculture help achieve effective agricultural extension? A case study on the Food for Thought programme in Uganda.

Report of Sue Errington's trip to visit Food for Thought Schools in Uganda  

Read more ...NEW RESOURCE! Grace's Story: Ideas for a Food for Thought Harvest Assembly.

Read more ... 

In 2011 the Food For Thought School Linking Programme, linking schools in Devon with rural schools in Uganda, celebrated its 10th year! And a busy year it was!

Celebrations in the UK included a special service in Exeter Cathedral and an assembly outline for schools to use themselves.

Three training days were held at RHS Rosemoor for teachers, teaching assistants, parents or governors who work with children in the school gardens. These were very well supported and much appreciated. The leader was Alison Bockh, who teaches gardening full time at Yeo Valley, Barnstaple. 

Read more ...School linking work

Two factors came together in 2007, leading to a new strand of teachers’ professional development within the Food For Thought School Linking Programme. 

 In July 2007, Jean Harrison, an education consultant, visited Food For Thought schools in Uganda to talk to teachers and find out how they felt about their work. The resulting Visit to Review Teacher Effectiveness in FFT Schools, Uganda report (PDF 245KB) recommended offering support to teachers in practical professional development.

Read more ...The New Build project

This is a Food For Thought School Building Project in Uganda. Since 2005 groups of British and Ugandan volunteers have been working with schools and their local communities to improve the schools’ buildings and infrastructure.

In 2005 The New Build ran a very successful project in Uganda. A group of 40 British students and young professionals worked to raise funds to construct workshops and classrooms for a new Vocational Training Centre attached to Keyo primary school, Gulu, northern Uganda. They raised over £15,000 through fundraising and 14 young people travelled to Gulu in July 2005 in order to help with the building work.

Read more ...

This is a fundraising initiative led by Devon County Council. Devon has been investing in new school buildings across the county, with excellent results. Council staff were therefore horrified to hear that many pupils, especially older girls, are failing to complete their primary education because of lack of suitable toilets and washing facilities.

Lack of water on school sites is also an issue for the rural primary schools involved in the Food For Thought school linking programme. So Devon Council staff initiated the ‘Stand Up!’ fundraising day in 2009, repeated in 2010 and 2011 and now happening again in February 2012. See the 2010 update on how the money was spent: latest news on Stand Up.

Would you like to spend time on an organic farm in Uganda? You can share in the activities of the farm sharing skills and experiences, or just enjoy the quiet, rural location.

Here are three opportunities ...

Beatrice Okumu invites you to visit her farm in rural Tororo, Eastern Uganda, near the border with Kenya.

The Ann Family invites you to come and stay at Bulamu farm in Mubende, Central Uganda, between Kampala and Fort Portal.

Julius Tumwebaze, wife and family invite you to stay on his family farm in Mubende District, central Uganda, between Kampala and Fort Portal.

Welcome!

...to Exeter's Global Centre, the home of Devon Development Education.

01392 438811
dde@globalcentredevon.org.uk