"The programme model that Send a Cow delivers is empowerment that is sustainable. It hinges on the backbone of the country Uganda - which is agriculture - and Send a Cow endeavours to reach out to the active poor"
Esther Ssempebwa, Executive Director, Send a Cow Uganda
Uganda is rich in natural resources – yet has been badly hit by HIV/AIDS, conflict, floods and droughts.
We began working here in 1988, making this our longest standing programme. Some of the farmers we worked with in the early years are now successful businesspeople with adult children at university – proving that our approach really does make a lasting difference. Many of those farmers have found that one good quality cow – and associated training and support – is all the input they need to leave poverty behind for good. For others, we have adapted our programmes, focusing more on smaller livestock and sustainable organic agriculture.
Nowadays, many older community groups are still flourishing, despite no longer receiving funding from us. And Send a Cow Uganda has also developed into an autonomous organisation, with its own trustees: it remains largely funded by us, and is an important part of the Send a Cow charity family.
“Before I joined Send a Cow Uganda, I was very poor and my land was so barren and dry it barely grew anything. I had always dreamt that one day I would have the knowledge I needed to make use of what I had, so when I saw what Send a Cow was achieving I wanted to try it all.
“In 2003, a farmer in my group passed on a cow to me, and together with Send a Cow’s farm training, I learnt how to mix organic fertilisers from the manure and urine and rejuvenate my soils. Now I really treasure my manure! I can grow yams, ginger, bananas and all types of vegetables that I never ate before. I have also been able to sell surplus crops to buy chickens and fish, which have in turn paid for school fees, more land and improvements to our house. I have also passed on a cow to another member of the group and they have passed on too.
“Send a Cow has shown me so much. I now know how to control soil erosion by planting legumes, coffee and comfrey so that the ground is held in place. And I mulch with dried leaves to prevent wind erosion and evaporation.
“Because people saw what a difference the Send a Cow training has made to my land and life, I was chosen to be a peer farmer and I am now able to share my knowledge with others. This has given me confidence in myself and I have gained popularity and respect in the community. Even things have changed at home, and now all the decisions are shared between me, my husband and my children.”