The Year of Being Small Farmers!

2013 was the year we became small farmers!

We have a number of programs that we worked on, some in partnership with USAID. Take a look at what we’ve started:

Agriculture Development

Starting Seedlings at JUAfThis year we had the privilege to partner with USAID and the Tanzania Agriculture Productivity Program (TAPP) on an agriculture development initiative. Funding was provided by the Clinton Foundation to support small farmers in rural East Africa in need of agriculture education and training.  We worked with USAID on developing a one-acre demonstration garden.  We were taught how to properly cultivate land, boil soil to eliminate disease, plant seeds in plastic containers prior to transferring to the raised beds and we learned about drip-irrigation systems. As part of this partnership, USAID helps us find markets for the sale of our produce.

We’ve also been given a calendar of when to plant specific vegetables in order to have them ready to harvest when market demand exists.  We then leveraged this training as a ‘Train the Trainer’ model to educate the women of JUAf to empower them in their knowledge of agriculture development.

We’ve had some challenges along the way – insects destroyed an entire crop of land, but we continue to learn from USAID on methods to combat this issue.  One such method is to plant specific vegetation to surround our demonstration garden so the insects are more drawn to the vegetation than our crops.   We will continue to learn, to fail and most of all, to succeed. We look forward to more success in the future!

Our plan for 2014 is to raise enough money ($5,000) to cultivate, and plant another 4 acres of land on our property.  We will use the methods learned from USAID when we plant the remaining 4 acres of land we have at JUAf.  Since we are assisted by USAID in finding markets for our crops, our hope is to earn enough money from the sale of our crops to pay for our staff salaries in a sustainable manner.  The revenue generated from the sale of our crops alone would make the running of JUAf sustainable.

Fish Pond

Digging the Fish Farm for JUAfJUAf Fish Farm

A second initiative with our partnership with USAID is Fish Farming.  We had a 180’ long x 6’ deep fish pond created for JUAf.  We hired local labor to dig this pond which took a few weeks to dig.  It’s a big fish pond!  We partnered with USAID in providing us a heavyweight tarp to line our fish pond so water won’t seep thru once it is filled. We are currently talking to various partners in the region who specialize in providing fish and to help us find the market to purchase the fish once they are large enough for consumption. Now that we have the fish pond, we are looking to raise enough money ($2,000) to purchase the initial round of fish and fish food.  This is another project that will allow JUAf to become fully sustainable and help us to pay for additional empowerment programs for the community.

Livestock Farming
Livestock Farming at JUAf
Another way to reach sustainability for JUAf, and provide funds for program support, is through livestock farming.  We received donations this year from HEAL Canada to invest in livestock.  The livestock feeds two purposes; a) food for our children at the JUAf Academy Nursery School and b) to create revenue to support additional programs.  We currently have 20 goats and have built a goat pen – and we have plans to purchase pigs in 2014.  We have a great deal to learn in this area, and we look forward to increasing our knowledge of being small farmers to raise money for JUAf programs.

JUAf Academy (Nursery School)

JUAf AcademyJuaf Academy Building

This is our third year running the JUAf Academy (English Medium School) to nursery school children in the community.  We raised funds last year to build a nice building which consists of two classrooms, and a teacher’s study room.  We accept students from the village and surrounding areas to receive a first rate English Medium curriculum for students aged 3 thru 7.  We hired a new teacher in 2013 named Aggrey Mawerere.  Aggrey earned his teaching degree from a university in Uganda.  He was raised in a rural remote Ugandan village, and so he thoroughly understands the challenges the community faces.  Aggrey brings with him the knowledge of rural village life, and his academic credentials of teaching young students.  We are thrilled to have Aggrey with us!

Kitchen Garden

Making the JUAf Kitchen Gardens The JUAf Kitchen Garden


In partnership with USAID, we learned about the benefits of KitchenGardens.  Kitchen Gardens are built to provide the day to day crops for the family.  We use our Kitchen Garden to provide food to the JUAf Academy school children.  We have built a total of five Kitchen Gardens at JUAf. They are made of brick , and built in a half-circle fashion.  The middle of the kitchen garden is full of hay.  The hay is watered daily, and it permeates into the soil to keep the soil moist.  Our Kitchen Gardens have been a wonderful addition to the agriculture development program, and finding a sustainable way to feed the school children.

Public Health Education – Volunteer Dental Hygienist
Dentistry Program at JUAfWe had the privilege this year of having Kathi Wilkes, an American Dental Hygienist with 22 years of experience, volunteer with JUAf and offer her services.  She provided five days of free dental cleaning, polishing and removing of loose teeth, to our community.  We are fortunate enough to have solar energy to provide our electrical needs and running water from our well, which made it possible for Kathi to do this work.   The majority of the community (if not 100%) have never had the privilege of seeing a dentist in their lifetime.   We had our community members lining up every morning starting at sun-rise to collect a number.  Kathi was able to see 13 patients a day, and those who were lucky enough to get a number were absolutely thrilled to have dental work done.  We also provided education to the community on the proper oral hygiene and its impact to the entire body.  We then provided the patients with free toothbrushes and taught them how to brush their teeth.  If toothpaste was not available in the community, we advised them alternate methods to keep their teeth clean.  Thank you Kathi for your services!!

We are thankful for everything this year provided us, and we look forward to a new year in 2014.

Please visit our donation page if you would like to help fund one of our upcoming projects. Any amount you donate helps get JUAf closer to our goal of complete sustainability and is greatly appreciated by all the members of the community.

Be well, and thanks for your support,

Judi McAlpine & Asha Mruma

Founding Partners – JUAf
Donate Today!

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