Sweet potatoes are combatting malnutrition in Uganda! Today we are thankful for a Thanksgiving favorite, and how it is nourishing vulnerable children in Uganda with vitamin A and vitamin C.
With the financial support of a Kellogg Company, Children’s HopeChest has worked to alleviate hunger for thousands of children not only in Uganda, but also in Ethiopia, Swaziland and Guatemala. The purpose statement of this business is, “Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive,” which also reflects our mission to walk alongside vulnerable communities so they can survive, thrive and succeed.
With this company’s investment, HopeChest facilitated numerous agricultural projects, including gardens for 45 schools in Uganda!
The donation was distributed to 20 schools in Katakwi district, five schools in Kaberamaido district, six schools in Bugiri district, seven schools in Bukedea district, three schools in Amuria and four schools in Soroti district, which collectively opened 107 acres of school gardens. The 45 schools are cultivating the land with the objectives to provide midday meals to children who are not in the HopeChest sponsorship program and to improve on the nutritional status and academic performance of the school children.
Over 88 acres were used for sweet potatoes, and six of the acres were used for maize, which will be ground down when harvested to make porridge for the children. Cassava was planted in 11 acres of land, which takes six to nine months to harvest.
The sweet potatoes were chosen because they are nutrient-dense and filling. Sweet potato vines can also be cut down so when the vine is long enough, children can take a portion of the vine to their homestead to grow their own produce for their families. This vegetable is a sustainable choice for the gardens because they are so easily replanted!
In each of the 45 school communities, parents and students all worked together after school to plant the crops. This was a great opportunity for the community to come together and take ownership of their gardens. By working with their own hands, the children were empowered with practical agricultural skills that they could use back at their homesteads.
This year’s crops yielded 426,533 heaps of sweet potatoes! There are an average of five potatoes in each heap, which means that over 2.1 million sweet potatoes were grown for the children’s consumption! 23,160 children were fed sweet potatoes and each child received an average of 46 meals from the harvest.
Providing a nutritious midday meal has increased educational performance for the children because they can now focus on studying instead of thinking about where their next meal will come from. The children’s health also improved as they received more frequent midday meals.
Children’s HopeChest is a highly-relational organization and the agricultural projects in Uganda have enhanced the relationships between HopeChest and the School Management Committees. In-country HopeChest staff and the children’s guardians also had an opportunity to build relationships as they worked in the garden and taught the children. Observing HopeChest come alongside the schools to help the children thrive and succeed has increased the trust that community members have for our organization.
We are so thankful for the generous gift made by this company. They have made a sustainable impact on many Ugandan communities, increasing food security and decreasing malnutrition for thousands of children.