When you travel to the northern region of Uganda from Kampala, you will have to cross one of the world’s most famous rivers: the Nile. The Nile River is more than just an incredible force of water that flows with authority from Lake Victoria through to Lake Albert and on to South Sudan. For this largely agrarian country, the Nile River is truly a source of life. The vast majority of Uganda lies in the Nile Basin, and this geographical reality helps to make the country a rich, fertile land.
Ugandans are keenly aware that living in this setting presents the possibility of succesful farming, beyond just basic food security. In a post conflict region, this is the dream for many seeking to climb out of rural poverty. The Children of the Nile has already served over 33,000 women this year (View 2012 TCON Agriculture Overview in a larger map) by investing in agriculture initiatives aimed at making profitable farming a reality. When we share about our strategy to empower women with tools to farm effectively, many people ask- ‘Why does an organization called “The Children of the Nile” partner with women in farming, rather than directly with youth?’
Quite simply, in order to reach children and impact the future generations in Uganda, women are the primary vehicle. An average female in Uganda will have nearly seven children in her lifetime (currently the world’s second highest birthrate behind Niger). Amazingly, in the Lango and Acholi regions of the north that were ravaged by years of conflict, many women have even more children than that in their care. In the case of orphans, it is the women who do not hesitate to become providers, defenders, and nurturers. It is not uncommon to meet an individual woman we support with ten or more children in her care. Her priority is not just her own future, but theirs. So when TCON provides resources to help tens of thousands of women farmers, the true impact reaches much, much further.
The August harvest from the first planting season is in full swing, which means farmers everywhere are reaping the gains from months of tending to their gardens. The reports we hear on our visits are encouraging: “I have done well enough to save food that will feed us through spring and replant even more next season.” Another woman in Lira shared, “I will be able to pay all of my children’s school fees for the first time because of my gains at market.” We marvel at the resilience of these women and what they are accomplishing.
The source for the Nile River is Uganda’s own Lake Victoria. But the source of sustenance and support for the children that grow up here are the women themselves. They are a current of hope reaching children in every corner of the country, and they are helping ensure that Uganda’s future is bright.
We are continuing to share about the 2012 Agricultural Initiatives in the coming weeks on the blog. Check back for updates and keep up with more regular TCON news via our twitter feed @TconUganda