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Faamu Up

Enhancing science academic achievement, boosting agriculture, nutrition and health among elementary school-aged children.

Photo of Victoria Nakitto
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Our idea is to provide a fun, interactive and hands-on introduction to gardening, in order to enhance academic excellence, motivate children to pursue agriculture and help them develop a stronger connection with food and where it comes from. There is a gardening skills gap in primary schools mainly because the primary school curriculum overlooks gardening as a practical learning tool. Additionally, nutrition assessments mostly focus on young children below 5years. Yet, when resources permit, it is important to investigate the nutritional situation of school-aged children who may also be at risk of compromised growth and development. We introduced the schools gardening clubs which is an after-school program that promotes practical based learning and empower children to be better stewards of their health and environment. We achieve this by encouraging primary schools to subscribe to the program, and then we start and run the club in those schools. The club is a weekly one hour meeting where children learn about vertical and container gardening considering that most schools have limited spaces for gardening and so do the children in their homes, they also learn about making proper food choices and how to protect their environment. Hands-on food gardening activities are a very effective way to influence students’ attitudes and preferences toward fruit and vegetable consumption. Additionally, studies show that when children have a hand in growing food, their understanding of food and relationship to their health increases. We target primary aged-children because it is documented that habits and preferences are established early in life and that if established before they leave primary level, positive habits are more likely to persist into adulthood. We therefore want to raise a generation that is aware and in control of their lives instead of trying to solve the problem when they are grown which is a the harder way to change mindsets.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are primary school children aged 6-14 first in urban areas of Uganda. The children improve their science achievement scores significantly by using the school garden to provide real-life hands-on learning experiences. Science is the most common subject linked to gardens. Teachers can use the garden as a laboratory to introduce students to scientific methods through plant-related experiments and to study weather, insects, soil, and other environmental matters. It’s the ideal habitat model for studying ecosystems. These real-life garden experiences contribute greatly to students’ comprehension and retention of new science knowledge. Children will become more aware of their nutrition and be in charge of their health. It is well documented that suffering from under- or over nutrition during the school years can inhibit a child’s physical and mental development. So we encourage them to increase their consumption for fruits and vegetables.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

There are many demonstration farms where vertical farming training is conducted. Our training is conducted free of charge if the school subscribes to the gardening club program, and the training is tailored for primary/elementary aged children. We nurture children’s love for gardening first, before they start working because some schools have gardens yet the children hate working in them because it seems like a punishment. We also cater for the needs of urban schools by putting up vertical gardens that need limited space. We use clubs to promote peer to peer learning, improve social skills and leadership skills of children. It also promotes sustainability of schools gardens because at any one moment there are children to take care of them without being forced.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Faamu Up is a for-profit organization that advocates for food security through gardening clubs.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we plan to register in the future.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

The first time I went to the garden was last year! That was after a pitch competition I attended where one of the participants presented an idea about micro-vertical gardening. It aroused my curiosity and I started doing research about vertical and container gardening. Many urban people are not any different because they are rarely exposed to the garden. They only connect with food in the market or on their plates. I thought the generation we are raising should be informed and different.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Prosperity- For any economy to prosper, the least its citizens need is food. About 19.6% of Ugandans live below the poverty line and are the ones most affected by food insecurity. Most of them rely on markets as sources of food yet the prices are always fluctuating. These families are raising children who are most likely to be food insecure when they grow up too. We hope to reach out to a big number of primary schools to train children who will influence their families and communities. Planet- The state of the planet is largely influenced by its population. Currently the population of Uganda alone is growing at a rate of 2.3%. As the population grows, more land is being used for living purposes increasing the amount of pressure put on agricultural and other resources the population needs. People need to adopt sustainable farming techniques like vertical gardening that need limited space to do.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

I hope to work with the ministry of education and sports to encourage primary schools to adopt school gardens as practical teaching tool for mainly science lessons. I also hope to work with Food and Agricultural organization in their school food and nutrition to promote proper nutrition among children in schools. The Ministry of Agricultural, fisheries and animal husbandry will also be of great help. Demonstration farms will be a great resource to help children get understand agriculture better, some of them offer free visits.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Uganda has over 19,000 primary schools and 61% are government aided. Most children have a chance to enroll for primary education as compared to secondary education even in very remote areas. Therefore we have an opportunity of reaching out to very many children and help them improve their perception of agriculture, make informed food decision and also engage in agribusiness someday.

Geographic Focus

We are mainly targeting Africa, first in urban areas of Uganda.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The project is already on-going and planning to launch in 2 months.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


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