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. 

DDE Xmas Appeal 2020 for web

Christmas Appeal 2020: please can you help?

Seeds, suckers and training in sustainable agriculture

Thanks to the many generous donations for the Christmas Appeal, so far, we have received a total of £2700. This will provide training for 77 families. Before Christmas Beatrice Okumu worked with 20 families and their neighbours, and Godfrey Kisakye with 10 – see these reports from Beatrice and Godfrey

More families will be trained during the next few months - so it is not too late to donate. Beatrice and Godfrey have made sure to include young people and young women in the training sessions.

Food for Thought on line leaflet page 1

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.

Our new leaflet gives details of the current projects.

Thanks Hunger in Uganda v2 1

Uganda’s Covid-19 lock-down and the poor harvest has left many families struggling to feed themselves. This appeal is a small effort to help some hungry children, pupils at Food For Thought schools, and their families … see also

£30 will feed a family of 5 for 14 days, providing maize flour, beans, cooking oil, salt – and soap for hand washing. 100% of donations will be sent to Uganda and all will be used to buy food and cover the small transport costs (approx £15 for 10 families). There are no over head costs in the UK.

Food will be bought in the local town by our Food For Thought co-ordinators, Godfrey Kisakye in Mubende and Beatrice Okumu in Tororo. They will deliver the food directly to the families in their homes. The families have been identified from the Food For Thought schools, where we have been involved for several years. Godfrey and Beatrice worked with their colleagues and the head teachers to identify the most needy families.

These families tend to be headed by elderly widows, caring for their young, orphaned grand children.

Our initail target was £6000, to provide food for 200 families, from 20 Food For Thought schools but  the need is still there and donations are still welcome

You can donate via our Virgin Money Giving page. Thank you for your support ... including those who took part in the cycle challenge

DDE is a registered charity 1102233. DDE, The Global Centre, 17 St David’s Hill, Exeter, EX4 3RG.

CAH4U photo 12

Message from Godfrey ... We wish to convey our thanks to Food for Thought UK for the great support to the families with food.

Here are a few of their stories ... and photographs

Hope. 59 years old. This family has a single mother with 7 children, 4 of them are orphans, 3 are her daughter’s. They have no land to grow food. The woman had an accident. Now she can't walk. So they are facing a hard time to get food.

Rose. 75 years old. This family has an elderly, single woman with 5 grandchildren and all are orphans. They have a small plot where she grows crops. But this season nothing was harvested and that has caused too much hunger.

Naava .She is 72 years old. Her daughter has just passed away and left a baby of 8 months and 2 other grand children. She is a widow. She has no land. She has not got anything to sell to get money. The family had no food.

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

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!

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 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.

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.

Katente West Primary School – Residential Hostel for Blind and Partially-sighted Pupils.

Photographs of the Katente West Hostel Story and of the work to be done.

Katente West Primary School, in Mubende District, is a rural government primary school, for children aged 6 to 13 years, founded by the Catholic Church. In 2019 it had 679 pupils. It has a good record on inclusion and care for disabled children, currently teaching 62 pupils with a variety of special learning needs (ie 9%).

The Ugandan government has a policy of school inclusion, so all children, including those with disabilities, should be attending school. Primary education in Uganda is free, although parents have to provide uniforms, books and lunch. However, unfortunately, this policy of inclusion is not always implemented.

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.

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’.

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.

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.

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  

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 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.


Our next event is Windrush Caribbean Cricket Festival - Saturday 24th September at Exmouth Cricket Club

Our latest Food for Thought Newsletter gives details of work done during the pandemic and current projects.
For more information see About Us


Our next event is Windrush Caribbean Cricket Festival - Saturday 24th September at Exmouth Cricket Club

Our latest Food for Thought Newsletter gives details of work done during the pandemic and current projects.
For more information see About Us