Uganda has over 2 million orphaned children as a result of HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS). Orphaned children in developing countries are deprived of social, material, and psychological support, and as consequence, tend to be more vulnerable and at increased risk of poor health. Food insecurity remains a fundamental problem to this population, causing micronutrient deficiency and chronic undernutrition, which accounts for over 60% of deaths for children under 5 years. The Permagarden4all initiative, which is a climate smart strategy that combines permaculture; an agricultural approach using design principles to utilize natural systems for production, and bio-intensive agriculture; an agricultural approach to maximize production on a small amount of land through sustainable practices that increases biodiversity, to create a highly productive garden, seeks to improve the nutritional status of undernourished children under 5, and food insecure households in the Wonkole Sub-County in Kamuli District, Uganda.
Using simple tools, vulnerable households will learn how to create highly productive gardens and prepare balanced meals that would ultimately reduce their nutritional deficiencies, and make them more food secure and resilient. Households would be able to utilize only a small amount of land to produce nutritious food throughout the year by learning the natural principles of proper gardening and matching those principles to basic practice.
The Permagarden4all project targets 1250 children and their families/caregivers and/or 500 households. To inform our program design, we conducted a baseline assessment that included door to door household questionnaires/interviews, utilizing the Subjective Global Assessment (SGA) tool, Household Dietary Diversity Scale (HDDS), etc., to evaluate the households’ feeding behaviors and health. Experienced Permagarden Education and Management Taskforce (PEMT) working alongside farmers, trained the households on the construction and management of these permagardens.
The permagarden4all initiative also seeks to build the capacity of these small-scale farmers to withstand and adapt to environmental shocks and stress, including soil infertility, droughts or floods, and still be able to produce nutritious crops throughout the year.
PEMTs are working with farmers to construct a permagarden in each household to increase access to a nutritious diet. Plant positive pest control practice, focusing on pest and drought resistance crops, such as, sweet potatoes, peas, broad beans, tomatoes, stonehead cabbage, etc. will be planted. Water conservation and agronomic techniques, including mulching, plastic water bottles, crop rotation, and companion cropping will be adopted to further improve crop production.
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