This is one of the longest-running and most successful DDE programmes. It links primary school in Devonand 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.
In Uganda, in these rural schools, the children come from small-scale farming families and after a few years at primary school, they will probably grow up to have similar lives as their parents. So a key aspect of the programme is to give pupils the skills to be able to feed themselves and their future families using sustainable methods – and to make them proud of being small-scale farmers.
In the UK, we aim to enable pupils to understand how food crops grow and where their food comes from – beyond the supermarket shelves!
Our partner organisation in Uganda is the Kulika Charitable Trust, www.kulika.org, which has a very strong commitment to organic, sustainable growing. It trains small scale farmers in sustainable agriculture, to be Key Farmer Trainers (KFTs), so that they can pass on their skills and knowledge to their neighbouring farmers and also to teachers and pupils at school. Kulika recognised that agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s economy, with over 80% of the population still reliant on small scale farming. So, enabling these farmers to improve their production and family incomes is a very important contribution to the development of Uganda.
Food For Thought was established in 2001, by the late Elijah Kyamuwendo in Uganda and Sue Errington in the UK. Elijah selected Mubende, as this was his home area, so he could maintain a good oversight on development; and Gulu, which was still in the grip of civil unrest, attacked by the Lords Resistance Army, and effectively ignored by most of the country. However, after several years, it was found too difficult to work in the north and Food For thought shifted to Tororo in Eastern Uganda, near the Kenyan borders and home to several experienced KFTs.
FFT began with 4 schools in Uganda and 4 in Devon. Now there are over 60 in Uganda, with over 40,000 pupils. Sadly in UK there are many fewer schools involved, as pressures on schools direct them away from school linking and food growing. However, we are hoping for a positive change with the new Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning Programme, run by British Council, Pearsons and the Consortium of Development Education Centres, launched in September 2018 for 3 years. https://connecting–classrooms.britishcouncil.org
‘Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning’ offers professional development training for teachers in the UK and Uganda, joint pupil projects linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and also grants for teachers to make reciprocal exchange visits. For more information see the website. https://connecting-classrooms.britishcouncil.org/ or contact us at DDE firstname.lastname@example.org, as we have a Local Adviser, Lorraine Cummings working on this programme (email: LorraineDDE@outlook.com). Lorraine can advise on school links with countries other than Uganda.