todayNovember 3, 2023

By Godwin Abedican


A life changing agriculture program being implemented by Healing Hands International (HHI) Uganda is gathering pace in Kasua and Komite cells in Ayivu west division Arua city.

Healing Hands International, a US based organization in its “Hunger to Harvest” farming program targets small and medium scale farmers in various communities  offering them trainings on modern farming techniques, equipping them with the farm inputs especially drip irrigation tools and equipment for the dry season as well as seedlings of high breed vegetables for domestic and commercial purposes.

Rolled out over two years ago, the program continues to pull community members individually and as groups who are willing to learn modern farming techniques from community farms set up by HHI as learning and demonstration centers from which the individual beneficiaries are expected to transfer the knowledge to their own farms.

Alleni Nancy, who joined the cohort of February 2022 says as they are involved in growing of short-term crops, this has helped her family and also benefited the group. “I am able to get something that can help my home, even medication for my children, I now get the money from the harvests we make. This has similarly helped me to maintain my home and family. I have realized that this is a very good initiative that brings us in groups where we are able to help each other in case of problems, something that has empowered us so much,” Alleni said.

Healing Hands International (HHI) in this program does not limit its beneficiaries based on any formal education as the youth are one of the main target groups for positive mindset change towards agriculture.

Stephen Mungueconi, a senior four drop out is now earning big after attaining the training with healing hands international and was able to raise a profit of over 500, 000 shs in his first harvest after 3 months, and he advices the youth not to aim at white collar jobs in this era of limited jobs. “Other people are employed because of their papers but for me I am employed by what I do practically.

As a school drop out I couldn’t imagine myself being at this level. As per now I am managing over 100 acres of farms in other parts of the country and all this is because of the knowledge I obtained from HHI. This has also made me to lecture and employ other people. What I can say to the youth outside is that, we should not think that once we come out from school, we shall get employed. Let’s stay away from saying agriculture is a dirty job.

As for me my dream was not for agriculture but from what I am getting from it, I call upon my fellow youth to join agriculture. Let’s start with the little we have and where we are, from the little something big can come,” Mungueconi urged.
Stephen Mungueconi, a beneficiary

Aimed at eliminating hunger in the communities by growing vegetables and improving the nutrition of the children in the communities, through the “Hunger to harvest” program, HHI supports the farmer groups to grow crops such as tomatoes, spinach, collard greens commonly known as Sukuma wiki, cabbages, egg plants and others in a bid to locally generate revenue so as to enhance food security among families.

Asianzu Lilian, the Women of Hope coordinator with Healing Hands International says, with a great percentage of women involved, food security in families can be attained. “Women are the ones who are directly affected in the communities and families because they deal directly with the children. So, our involvement of women in this program is for them to sustain their families through an easy way of getting food for the family,” she said.

She however says that, there is still a great challenge of some beneficiaries who become relaxed after the training. “In our communities here, people do not want to get involved in farming so much, so you find that, some come to learn this but they cannot go and practice in their various homes or they mostly want to do it on the community farms which is not the intended target of the program. We expect that from the community farms, they are supposed to move out on their own individually or as a group, which many are not doing hence a setback to us” Asianzu noted with concern.

Asianzu Lilian, the Coordinator, Women of Hope- Healing Hands International speaks to Radio Pacis  

Joseph Edema, the Country Coordinator, Healing Hands International Uganda, pledges continuous support to the community saying, this program is still a long way to go as more beneficiaries are being targeted. “We want to see communities are able to fight hunger even when there is no rain. This we believe can help to curb food insecurity especially at family level.

One of the things we do is to make sure that we buy the seeds locally from the community based on their preference and ensure we teach them how to grow the local seeds in a modern way because we don’t want to bring seeds from outside which will need a lot of expertise attention in the process, something which many people in the community cannot afford because of poverty. We are still continuing and our donors are still ready to support us to see that the program continues,” Edema confirmed in a statement.

Healing Hands International has so far trained and equipped groups in Kasua and Komite in Ayivu west division with 120 beneficiaries, 80 beneficiaries in Ewuata Arua district and 60 beneficiaries in Maracha district.

COVER PHOTO: Alleni Nancy a beneficiary of the training with Healing Hands International harvesting tomatoes from one of the Community farms By Godwin Abedican

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