James Wilkinson (99-10) and Jonny Rowland (03-10) recently appealed to the Pocklington School community for unwanted sports kit and equipment to take out to Uganda where they are working on an agricultural project. They have now arrived and handed out some kit to the local children, so thank you to everyone who donated.
James said “We’ve been handing some kit out and the kids love the balls. The balls they were using are made up of lots and lots of plastic bags tied together in an attempt to make a round shape. They are just over the moon when we hand them a couple over! I would just like to thank everyone again for the support and donations received”.
As for the project, they are working for a charity called Friends of Kagando. The charity’s main focus is around Kagando Hospital for which they use fundraising to keep it running. There are other aspects to the project such as the School of Nursing and Midwifery, a primary school, a farm, a hostel for mothers around the time of birth, a micro-finance project and several other community-based initiatives.
Before Jonny originally went out to Uganda in July 2014, the farm was making huge losses and Kagando was going to shut it down, putting ten people out of work. By using his expertise from studying Agriculture at Reading University, Jonny managed to turn the farm into a profit-making enterprise which now contributes towards the running costs of the hospital and is looking much healthier.
James joined Jonny in Uganda in November 2014. Whilst Jonny is still focusing on the farm, James is helping more with the administration side of the operation to improve the organisation and use of good accounting systems.
James said “There is a lot to help with and getting the accounts straightened out is very important to highlight where money is being spent. Some unaccountable for…
“We are also helping to get a farm shop set up as well as an incentive to offer farmers free bee hives on the condition that they sell the honey back to Kagando. We are helping them increase the area they sell the honey to and have just started taking samples to local towns in order to get it onto the shelves of supermarkets.
“Whilst we are working for the charity, we have also established our own organisation which will concentrate on agriculture and working with farmers in this area. The charity is a huge help to the Kagando farm, however their main priority is the hospital, therefore we want to develop this further, working alongside the charity. We spent a lot of time planning and establishing the organisation whilst still in the UK and now we are doing all the research we can whilst we are out here, until we return in summer 2015.
“The organisation is called Agri Evolve which we will be launching on our return to the UK. For now we are building up a vast amount of marketing material, as well as research as to what can be grown, sold, exported and so on. The climate out here is very interesting from an agricultural perspective!”