Send a Cow

Organisation:

Send a Cow

Organisation Type:

International development charity

Project Overview:

I spent six weeks travelling to remote parts of rural Uganda interviewing beneficiaries, using the content to write case studies which the UK office used in various publications and on the website.

 

Topics included rebel abductions, agriculture, domestic violence, gender inequality, poverty, war, livestock, leadership, training and microfinance.

Read:

See below for an example case study.

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Photo credit: Ben Langdon

The Lord’s Resistance Army (The LRA) has been waging war in the north of Uganda for over 23 years. The rebel force is known for it’s abductions, amputations, rape and killings. Many of the people they capture are forced to kill members of their own family. Send a Cow have been working in the unstable area since September 2001, including through the peak of the insurgency.

 

Towards the start of insurgency, Lucy and her family slept in the bush for many months to avoid abduction as LRA rebels raided houses at night time. Despite this precaution, Lucy’s husband and two of her sons were abducted. Abduction is the LRA’s recruitment method. Her husband and one son managed to escape after several months with the LRA. Her other son is still missing.

 

At the peak of the insurgency the government decreed that all villagers in the area had to move to camps for internally displaced people, in an effort to halt the night-time abductions. Her family spent nearly 20 years in the camp.

SDC11844 Lucy Ojok.JPG

“It was a very difficult life”, it was overcrowded, “we were squished”, and even simple things such as getting to the toilets were difficult.  Lucy told me that the supposed safety in the camps was a false safety. She said the rebels were hard to predict, they’d even come to the camps – it was safer in the camps that outside, but still not secure. The camps were guarded, but they were not fenced in, so it was relatively easy for rebels to reach at least the extremities of the camp: “When we were in the camp we had defence, the rebels could only abduct a few people, or no one, before soldiers started firing and the rebels left.”

 

Lucy’s family returned home, from the camps, in March this year. The political situation is much improved now. It’s very difficult to monitor exactly where the rebels are. Some are thought to be hiding in an area of forest in Uganda, while the majority of the forces are now in southern Sudan and DR Congo. The LRA are still active, though they no longer seem to operate on the day-to-day basis they used to.

Send a Cow has helped Lucy to rebuild her life now she is out of the camp. Lucy’s home was destroyed in the war. Send a Cow helped her to contrast a new home. Lucy now has a house, a bathing shelter, two pit latrines and an immaculate kitchen. She also has an energy saving stove which Send a Cow taught her to make.

 

Lucy is a member of an all-female Send a Cow group. As a community the group has been trained by Send a Cow in organic agriculture and livestock keeping, as well as receiving support from Send a Cow social support workers who are working with her to process the trauma she has experienced.

 

Lucy received a cross bred cow a few months ago, that she named Edith. Edith is a “pass-on” cow: every group member who receives a cow is obliged to offer the first born female calf to the group, for Send a Cow and the group committee to allocate to another needy family.

 

Lucy explains that the cow’s manure is invaluable for all the crops and vegetables she is growing.  Thanks to the training she received on sustainable organic agriculture, her crop yields have increased, and she is able to sell excess for income.

 

“We used to have difficulty, and little resources before sustainable organic agriculture. Thanks to Send a Cow we now we have food, and we can get some little money at any moment we need by selling vegetables”. She does not yet get milk from the cow – it is not old enough to calf yet.

 

Lucy’s life has been greatly improved by the training she received on sustainable organic agriculture. In fact, she is now a peer farmer – who is supported by Send a Cow to give agricultural training to other group members. Signs of her ability are dotted around her farm. Pots of plant tea and liquid manure are brewing. There is a worn wheelbarrow behind the cow shelter – one of the pieces of equipment peer farmers receive in their starter kit. Lucy has a kitchen garden and some raised beds.

 

Lucy’s life has transformed since she started learning and training with Send a Cow. “All thanks to Send a Cow”, she smiles. ““Please send our greetings to all in the UK. I pray that God helps them in their venture to help us.”