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Transforming swampland into a source of food in Uganda

In the spring of 2022, SNDs in the urban center of Mpala, Uganda had a large section of their property was no more than a swampy, mosquito breeding ground. They had long dreamed of making more responsible use of this portion of their property that was deemed unsuitable for either building or gardening. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, which were some of the most severe around the world, the urban poor suffered from food shortages and starvation. Sisters of Notre Dame saw this as an opportune time to revisit ways they could contribute to their local community.

The Hilton Fund for Sisters awarded the SND community a grant of $25,000 in June 2022. Over the past year, the Sisters have built three fish ponds and a protective wall around the area. In just a few short months they were able to turn a mosquito breeding ground into a source of healthy food. The fish will be used to feed the sisters and children at Notre Dame Nursery School. In addition, they will be sold below market value to the poor with the proceeds being used to support the outreach of the Sisters of Notre Dame in the region.

Sr. Christine Marie Mugume served as the lead Sister and project manager. In reflecting on her experience she shared,

“Many people are lacking basic needs like food, they are not able to afford because of the prices which have gone very high for an ordinary person. So having such a project would be very important because we will be able to provide fish for the community at a cheaper price and create employment for some and above all we will be able to support our women groups by uplifting them financially.

The project has helped us to work together as the community through coming together for decision making hence making each member responsible of the project, this has brought joy to the community. Secondly, the project has provided employment to the youths around which has helped them to earn a living. As the community we have learned to be patient, transparent and accountable in what we do.”

Sr. Christine Marie Mugume, SND

Fr. Richard Muwonge, priest of the Archdiocese of Kampala, wrote:

“I have known the Primary Sister Contact Sr. Christine Marie for many years. She is good leader and very resourceful… The religious women in the community are well respected and trusted in all ways. The persons being served were happy for the security of the sisters seeing a perimeter wall built. For the fish ponds, the community felt relieved of the many mosquitoes in the area.  The fish will feed on the mosquito larva, reducing the multiplication of mosquitoes. Without the fish, many more people would become sick due to malaria and this could lead to deaths. The people are also happy for the fish because they will get it at a reduced price and this will greatly improve their diet.”

Fr. Richard Muwonge, Archdiocese of Kampala

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