I think I’ll be putting at least a quid in the kitty today for the Mothers’ Union Family Life Programme. I’ve must have at least 50 tins and containers of food in our cupboards – a luxury that few Ugandan’s have! And on a day when so many thousands of people have had everything swept away in the Japanese tsunami, it seems all the more poignant that we have so much food in the house, a roof over our heads and friends to cook supper for us.
The Family Life Programme has food security training as a major part of it. I suspect that this has been formalised since we were there in 2006, but even then food security, and sustainable ways of providing security of health and nutrition were core parts of the work. This forms part of the three key areas which the programme focuses on to improve the value and quality of family life:
- Health and Hygiene
- Poverty Alleviation
- Environmental Management
Much of food security in the developing world is about the two-way relationship between plant cultivation techniques and the management of livestock. When I met Ruth, the FLP trainer in Luwero she explained the details of banana cultivation and composting. As pictured above the earth must be mounded round the plant to give it stability, and a maximum of 3 trunks allowed per plant, otherwise the size of the banana crop in each stem is much reduced.
And the goats have their part to play too. As well as being a source of meat (cross-bread so as to provide a good size carcass, milk and twin kids as often as possible), they are a source of fertilizer for the banana’s with composting of what might be termed “misdirected waste” carefully done under sheets of metal so that when the sudden heavy rain squalls come, all the goodness isn’t washed away!
And so, as we watch so many lives and livelihoods washed away in Japan, and remember those seeking food security in rural Uganda, perhaps we will be inspired to thank God and Count our Blessings that we have so much in little tins in the cupboards of our modern homes.
There is a prayer for all those affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami here on the Church of England website.