Posts Tagged ‘Edward Mukiibi’


Three Inspiring People Who Have Met with Nourishing the Planet Among Reuters 10 Food Trailblazers

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By Alison Blackmore

Reuters AlertNet recently identified 10 individuals who are changing the food system at the grassroots. Based on nominations from leading NGOs and research institutes involved in nutrition and agriculture, including Nourishing the Planet, Reuters paid tribute to innovators worldwide who are finding ways to boost production without sacrificing food security for generations to come.

Women at work at the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA). (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Nourishing the Planet is thrilled to give special congratulations to three recipients who we have met with on the ground: Edward Mukiibi, co-founder of Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC) in Uganda, Reema Nanavaty, Director of Economic and Rural Development at the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India, and Davinder Lamba, co-founder of the Mazingira Institute in Kenya. Their work is inspiring farmers, youth, and policymakers to create a more environmentally sustainable food system.

As the world looks to find ways to feed a population predicted to grow to 9 billion by 2050, it will be people like Mukiibi, Nanavaty, and Lamba who are finding ways to raise yields, improve nutrition, increase incomes, and protect the environment. From inspiring youth to become farmers, to giving poor women farmers a voice through organizing, to promoting urban farming—these  food trailblazers are finding the best solutions for their communities and creating new models for a sustainable food system.

To read more about Edward Mukiibi, Reema Nanavaty, and Davinder Lamba see Mazingira Institute and NEFSALF: Training a New Breed of Farmers, Looking Inside the Gates to Feed the City from Within: An Interview with Diana Lee-Smith, Nourishing the Planet Spends a Day with SEWA, Women farmers key to end food insecurity, Youth Deserve Gold Medals for Sustainability, How to Keep Kids “Down on the Farm”, Conversations With Farmers: Discussing the School Garden with a DISC Project Student, and Cultivating a Passion for Agriculture.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


The First Lady Welcomes Worldwatch 2011 Symposium Speakers to Washington DC

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Michelle Obama welcomes Sithembile Ndema to the White House. (Photo credit: WH gov)

Last week after the Worldwatch Institute’s 15th Annual State of the World 2011 Symposium at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC on January 19, 2011, two visiting panelists took a tour of the White House. It was the first time that Edward Mukiibi, co-founder and project coordinator of Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC) project, from Uganda and Sithembile Ndema, Project Manager for the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), from Zimbabwe had been to the United States. There, in the Blue Room, in honor of the two year anniversary of the inauguration, Michelle Obama waited to greet them.  After shaking the First Lady’s hand, both Ndema and Mukiibi told her about the work they are doing with theater and school gardens to educate their communities about sustainable agriculture.

Michelle Obama welcomes Edward Mukiibi to the White House. (Photo credit: WH gov)

To learn more about Mukiibi and Ndema’s work, check out the Nourishing the Planet blog and read: How to Keep Kids ‘Down on the Farm,’Cultivating a Passion for Agriculture, Acting it Out for Advocacy and But Who Can Listen?: FANRPAN Launches Theater for Policy Advocacy Campaign in Rural Malawi.


Developing Local Solutions for Self-Reliance

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By Mara Schechter

Easy-to-implement and well-planned programs can help alleviate hunger while preserving the planet’s natural resources. This was the hopeful position taken by three panelists at the State of the World 2011 Symposium on Wednesday.

(From left to right) Edward Mukiibi and Danielle Nierenberg listen as Sithembile Ndema speaks about her work with FANRPAN. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Edward Mukiibi is the co-founder of Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC), a project that educates Ugandan children about how to grow, store, and cook traditional foods. He explained how the project started at just one school and has grown to include 17 schools, with the support of Slow Food International.

“There is a great relationship between food production and natural resources in Africa,” says Mukiibi, who also notes that the food grown at the schools is used to supplement school lunches. DISC also holds events to educate communities and bring people from different areas together to “think about food, a future of food production, as we are sharing a meal which is part of the produce from our school gardens.”

Sithembile Ndema is a Project Manager for the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), which is an independent network linking  Southern African countries. Bringing together “different stakeholders,” FANRPAN provides “policy research and analysis… to advise the regional economic borders,” explained Ndema. (more…)


Video Spotlight of the Week

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Each week Nourishing the Planet features a video to give you the inside scoop on the different projects we see on the ground that are working to alleviate hunger and poverty. We showcase past favorites and some brand new videos you’ve never seen.  Check out Nourishing the Planet’s Youtube channel to see more.

This video features Edward Mukiibi of Project DISC (Developing Innovations in School Cultivation) who will be joining us this Wednesday for the State of the World Symposium all the way from Uganda.


Cultivating a Passion for Agriculture

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(photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

(photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

This is the third in a three-part series of blogs about my visit with DISC project schools in Mukono District, Uganda. You can read the first two by clicking here and here.

One thing you immediately notice upon meeting Edward Mukiibi and Roger Sserunjogi is their passion for kids and agriculture. Their eyes both lit up whenever they talked about the students who are part of DISC, Developing Innovations in School Cultivation, a project they founded after graduating from Makere University in Kampala. When we met Edward, he had just gotten back from the World Food Summit in Rome, where he was representing Slow Food International’s Youth Delegation. He works during the week at the Ugandan Organic Certification Company. Roger is a school teacher and administrator at Sunrise School, where DISC launched its pilot project in 2006.

Edward says that after fulfilling their goals of being able to go to university, he and Roger wanted to “help other people realize their dreams.” And they wanted to spread their “passion for producing local foods to the next generation.” By focusing on school gardens, Edward and Roger are helping not only feed children, but are also revitalizing an interest in—and cultivation of—African indigenous vegetables. The schools don’t use any hybrid seeds, but rely on what is locally available. Students and teachers at DISC project schools are taught how to save seed from local varieties of amaranth, sumiwiki, maize, African eggplant, and other local crops to grow in school gardens. They learn how to both dry the seeds and how to store them for the next season. With support from Slow Food International, DISC is establishing a seed bank to, according to Edward, “preserve the world’s best vegetables.”

Improving nutrition is especially important for boarding school students, who eat all of their meals at school. These children come from all over Uganda and DISC tries to make them feel at home by growing varieties of crops that are familiar to them from both the lowlands and highlands. According to Edward, “a child needs to see what she’s used to” in order to appreciate its importance.

At both day and boarding schools, students work with school chefs to learn how to cook foods—giving them the opportunity to understand food production literally from farm to table. And unlike most other schools in Uganda, DISC project schools get local fruits with their breakfast and can harvest their own desert at lunchtime. DISC is planning the “Year of Fruits” for the next school year, which begins in January or February depending on the school—each school will be planting its own fruit trees on campus.

Roger explained that in addition to the monkeys who live around Sunrise School and who like to eat some of the crops from their garden, the biggest challenges for DISC involve transportation and equipment for the schools. Because DISC doesn’t have its own vehicle, the coordinators, who need to evaluate gardens and make sure that the children are actually getting the food they help grow, often have to scramble to find transportation. And they lack good ways for the schools to communicate with one another about disease outbreaks and other problems.

But as the project receives more interest—from teachers, students, parents, and policy-makers (the local extension officer for the National Agricultural Advisory Services is a member of the local Slow Food convivium)—and more funding, they’re likely to overcome these challenges and make farming a more viable option for youth in Mikuni and other parts of Uganda.