AGRICULTURE + RELIEF
New Technology for Farmers
Most families that practice subsistence farming have little or no savings. They are at the mercy of weather patterns, human conflict, and disease. It’s not sustainable. But, when they have to work round the clock just to scrape by, it’s nearly impossible to invest in the education or infrastructure that could lift them out of poverty.
That’s why Pilgrim Africa is investing in technology for agricultural communities. When we help families– and especially women– use machines to reduce their day-to-day workload, it frees them up to spend more time on education and entrepreneurial goals.
In the past, we’ve partnered with Columbia University Engineers with Borders to install and maintain Multifunction Platforms (MFPs) in ten rural villages across the Teso region of northeast Uganda. These platforms are diesel engines fitted with specialized attachments that process a certain crop, such as cassava. Pounding cassava by hand takes 5 or 6 hours a day. With an MFP, it takes just minutes. And the end product fetches a greater price at market because it’s of a higher quality.
Using an MFP can help families build up modest savings, which makes them more resilient. They are better able to wait out the hard times, or pay for medical care when somebody gets sick or injured.
Technology and education are long-term solutions to the problems that subsistence farmers face. But we realize that many families are also in desperate need of short-term solutions, especially in times of war or famine. Pilgrim Africa has a long history of providing aid during conflict. And we’re still doing it. In early 2017 when drought caused crops to fail in Teso, Pilgrim Africa provided rice to ward off starvation. When the rains returned, we provided vegetable starts so that farmers could have a second chance at a harvest.
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
In the Teso region of northeast Uganda, many rural communities already have boreholes built by the government or by other nonprofits. But every few years, when the boreholes stop working, they need repair. Parts and labor can cost about $300. To families that live on less than $2 a day, it’s an impossible sum. Farmers go back to carrying water long distances every day.
Pilgrim Africa repairs boreholes as a matter of course, especially when we go into new communities to work on health initiatives. Access to clean water is a basic human right. And for the rural poor, it can be a game-changer.
Pilgrim Africa is interested in starting new agricultural projects that build paths out of poverty and resilience against disaster. We are currently looking for funding partners. Want to work together? Let’s talk!