At least 9 million Ugandans are food insecure, and 5.8 million people living in Uganda are malnourished. In the slums where we work, hunger is a big problem.
Our Feeding Project provides hot, nutritious meals every day to children who need them. We also distribute food parcels to families in vital need from our community food banks.
Why nutrition matters
Many families often survive on just one meal per day, and children often go hungry because of poverty. With high unemployment and often nowhere to grow food in an urban slum, individuals must look for additional sources of informal income to afford food. In the daily struggle to find food to eat, several children have been forced into child labour, encountered abuse, neglect or may have been abandoned. Poor nutrition and a lack of food leads to poor health, lower learning outcomes and reduced life expectancy.
Through working in Kampala’s slum communities for over a decade, we identified a significant number of children who were undernourished, underdeveloped and regularly unwell due to a lack of food. We found that many children were unable to join in with our lessons, games and other activities due to fatigue from a lack of food.
Our Feeding Programme is meeting the immediate need through providing hot, nutritious meals every day to vulnerable children, helping them to survive. Our community kitchens serve hot meals daily for free to children in need of food, every weekday in 3 of Kampala's poorest slums. Without this food, most of these children would survive on just one meal per day.
Proper nutrition means that children’s general health improves, their ability to fight off disease and illness rises and concentration, behavioural skills and progress in learning increases. Since beginning our feeding programme, we have seen a huge increase in the health, appearance, behaviour and learning outcomes of the children we support.
This project is also about much more than just food. It’s a safe space and community that children can come to and be referred to our Ewafe or School Sponsorship projects if needed. Children learn how to wash their hands and how to share, gain confidence and make friends.
The COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 caused families in Kampala’s slums to lose their incomes overnight, and many faced starvation as a result. In response, we launched community food banks in four slum communities to enable the most vulnerable families in Kampala's slums to be fed.
These food banks have not only saved thousands of people from starvation, but have also reduced pressure for families, provided social connection during a crisis and helped to build a sustained sense of community. Although the lockdowns have now ended, the current cost of living crisis means families continue to struggle to know where their next meal is coming from. Our food banks are still running and will continue to do so until they are no longer needed.
Free food parcels for vulnerable families are also distributed weekly from our community food banks. These food parcels contain enough nutritious local produce to make roughly 100 meals, feeding a family of five for a week.
Our staff work with community leaders to find the most vulnerable families in need of free food parcels, so that their children can concentrate on education and parents can focus on finding employment and caring for their kids. For those who need food parcels delivered directly to their door due to disability or other needs, our volunteers go door-to-door to deliver the food weekly and check on the welfare of these households.