A garden project linking Devon primary schools with schools in Uganda.

food for thoughtA one-year gardening project between schools in Devon and Uganda in conjunction with Growing Devon Schools Partnership (GDSP).

One of the longest running and most successful DDE projects involving school linking between Devon primary schools and schools in three districts in Uganda. The project is successfully teaching children about the importance of sustainable food production.

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

  • A direct, positive link between pupil s and teachers in the link schools
  • A 'Window on the World' for pupils, beyond their schools, in both countries
  • Practical experience of growing food, with all schools in both countries running organic/sustainable food-growing school gardens
  • An education programme to enrich pupils' le arning experience in both countries

A crucial aspect of the programme is to give pupils in Uganda the skills to be able to feed themselves and their families using sustainable methods - and to make them proud of being farmers.

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’.

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.

For over 10 years, we have been running the Food For Thought programme, linking schools in Devon and Cornwall with rural primary schools in Uganda - around the theme of sustainable food growing. This has been very successful. Now pupils are moving on from primary school - and in Uganda we want to create a Young Farmers Network for the more active young people, so that they continue to improve their farming skills, have a mentor to provide advice and alos have the chance to meet other young farmers. So, we are fundraising for this - £60 will pay for one day’s workshop for 12-20 young people. In June, Julius Tumwebaze, one of our Ugandan co-ordinators, will be visiting Devon, to work with schools and also talk about the Young Farmers and organic growing in Uganda - especially pineapples – he has 35,000. (Yes, 35,000).

You can meet him at:
1. Saturday 31st May, from 12 noon, at the Respect Festival, in Belmont Park, Exeter, with the 'Love Local Food' stand on Sat 31 May. (Free entry)

2. Sunday 8th June, 11am-4pm, at the 'Open Farm Sunday' event at West Town Farm, Ide, just outside of Exeter. (Free entry)

3. Tuesday 17th June, 6-8.30pm he will be leading a Practical Workshop and Talk at West Town Farm, Ide.  No charge but donations requested.

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.

DSCF9238 CustomThis year's Food for Thought Schools Gardening Competition was judged and celebrated in two venues in July - one in Devon and one in Cornwall.

The children had a very enjoyable day and the quality of the exhibits was excellent. Here are some of the winning entrants.

  

FFT singing 

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. 

fft harvest assemblythumb2011NEW RESOURCE! Grace's Story: Ideas for a Food for Thought Harvest Assembly.

FFT boysSchool 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.

standup water girl

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.

uganda classroomThe 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.

FFT carrotsThere are several ways to support Food for Thought and become involved.

Donate to Food For Thought NOW.
Click here
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!

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.

The Global Centre
17 St Davids Hill
Exeter EX4 3RG
01392 438811
dde@globalcentredevon.org.uk

Announcements

Our weekly World at Lunch sessions (Thursday 1pm to 2pm) continue through the summer. We hope soon to publish the Autumn programme.

Following the AGM and Summer Party here is a brief report on DDE's activities for 2018/19 

We are currently adverting the following posts

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

Check our Teacher Training page for CPD opportunities for education workers.

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