Rowan, Lilly and Yulia, are students at Northwestern University on Global Engage Student Institute global development learning program who participated on FSD Fall II 2020 virtual internship. They were interested in carrying out a project related to global health development. The students were hosted by St Francis Health Care Services, an organization committed to raising awareness of HIV, treatment, care and support to persons living with HIV/AIDs.
Rowan, Lilly and Yulia worked on a project focused on empowering food insecure households of adolescent girls and young women living with HIV&AIDs in Buikwe District. The project goal arose out of expressed concern of food security for women infected with HIV Aids. Food security would ensure women meet the requirement for treatment of HIV medication. Also food nutrition was important to the mothers with young children who have more demanding nutrition needs.
The community along with the St Francis team and the students decided to come with an idea of urban horticulture as means of improving food security. The goal of the project was to help women learn how to create their own vegetable gardens in their communities and homes. The project targeted a group of 20 women who are direct beneficiaries of the St Francis Health care services.
The project featured some key activities in form of demonstrations. The women were able to identify the types of vegetables they wished to start with for the project demonstration. The women were trained on how to plant the vegetables in the nursery bed then transplant them to the main garden. They were also taught how to create a sack mound garden and kitchen garden. The group was subdivided into five sub groups which helped form leadership structures to manage the project progress. Each group was tasked to try out planting these gardens at their compound backyards.
The students also organized training materials with knowledge on nutrition and food security so as to empower the women with all the knowledge they need to sustain the project. The community group was also empowered with basic marketing skills to help the women with marketing their farm surplus output from their gardens. The vegetables they grow in the garden will be sold at markets to gain personal funds and funds to buy more seeds. The rest of the vegetables, like the ones they grow at home, will be used to feed their families.
Finally a cooking demonstration carried out to enable women learn how to prepare different food values for their children. It was also an opportunity for the women to showcase their abilities in preparing and providing food rich in balanced diet for their children.