The last week has been a very exciting one at AID, as it saw the launch of an agriculture project with South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.
South Sudan is blessed with extremely fertile land, but years of civil war has meant that land and training has been neglected. Ongoing conflict has prevented AID from starting agriculture work in the country thus far. However, an opportunity was spotted in neighbouring Uganda; hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have fled to Uganda over the last few years, and on arrival they are given a plot of land.
Last Friday, around 100 people gathered just outside Bweyale refugee camp in Central Uganda for two days of agriculture training. Of these, 70% were South Sudanese living in the camp and 30% Ugandans from the local area – the Ugandan government allows NGOs to work with refugees in their country on the basis that 30% of beneficiaries are Ugandan. The training was carried out by Rev Thomas Lubari.
Born in Uganda to South Sudanese parents, Thomas Lubari has been involved in agriculture in both countries from a young age . He currently runs a charity called ‘Life Gospel Ministries’ which offers trauma counselling to refugees, and helps Ugandan and South Sudanese youth to find work. In his training, Thomas uses the Foundations for Farming method, which looks at biblical principles and applies them to agriculture.
Participants now have two weeks to prepare their land after which it will be assessed. At this point 50 out of the 100 trained will be selected to carry on the project and will be given hoes, seeds and further training. These 50 will sign contracts allowing them to sell any produce to AID, at the end of the season. AID will sell the produce on at a small profit, and the profit will then be pumped back into the project. Farmers will be monitored and helped throughout the year by four men Thomas has selected to be ‘extension workers’ (left).
This is a very exciting step forward. Please pray for fruitful farming, for growth in faith and for the project to equip South Sudanese with farming skills they can use in their own country.