BY NYAKAYIA RONALD
Capacity and capability building in sustainable agriculture has opened the mind sets of South Sudanese refugees in Rhino camp settlement towards attaining sustainable livelihoods and self-reliance. AAC adopted this approach in delivering her livelihood projects in the refugee settlement of West Nile. Samuel Lomoro a 45-year-old refugee from Tika village, Rhino camp resettlement is one of the beneficiaries of AAC interventions to refugee camps since 2017. Samuel continues to develop more skills and practices in sustainable agriculture. His effort and zeal to teach community members around him on best practices of sustainable agriculture especially in vegetable production has earned him a lot of opportunities and recognition in Rhino camp refugee settlement. Samuel does not miss any season be it dry or wet, this first season of 2023, he has already planted vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, cabbages and onions are on nursery bed ready for transplanting. This year, he is working with 30 farmers in his demo site and alongside this, he has a group of 90 members whom he is leading under tree nursery establishment project under DRDIP from the Office of the Prime Minister. “In my community, we mobilized and won a project from Office of the Prime Minister under DRDIP, this project is to raise tree seedlings and members of the group come together to work and save, these seedlings will be sold to other groups who will plant them. Because of my skills in tree nursery, I learned from AAC, I was elected by the members of my zone to lead the group, guide and offer trainings in tree nursery management to the members. Currently we have constructed a green house, a store, a water tank in place and raised so far 10,000 seedlings of different categories and varieties”. Samuel has a big plan of turning his vegetable demo site as a training centre in Tika village, Rhino camp refugee settlement. “I have already secured 0.5 acres of land for vegetable production within the settlement and my next plan is to develop this land further to become a modern training centre for farmers in my village. What I needed at this site is to fence the place, install water harvesting facility to promote farming during dry season, some tools and equipment to use at the demo site. People already know my place, they come for advice on vegetable production, others come to buy seedlings from me while others come to work with me so that they get the knowledge and skills in vegetable production”.
Florence is a mother of 3 children who live in Tika 2 village , Rhino camp refugee settlement, Madi-Okollo district. Florence got opportunity to train at AAC in 2019 on poultry production course and was given start-up of 50 birds. She raised these birds and took that opportunity to train her fellow mothers in the village. Since then, they formed group of young mothers in Tika 2 and they are producing vegetables to help in issues of nutrition among children in their household. Currently the group has ventured in mushroom production and this initiative is helping these mothers to get income in the household and at the same time provide food for the breast-feeding mothers and their babies. Florence’s dream is to ensure that breastfeeding mothers in her village have adequate knowledge and skills in kitchen garden so as to address malnutrition cases among the children and the mothers. She can only do this by establishing demonstration gardens for learning and at the same time expand production to generate household income and attain food security.