Organic Perspectives

Engaging smallholder farmers in protecting forests, adopting organic gardening techniques and the use of modern household energy for sustainable livelihoods. . Our Vision is to transform rural communities through biodiversity conservation, alternative energy and sustainable agriculture. We do this through agroforestry, sustainable household energy (biogas and improved woodstoves) and organic gardening projects with smallholder farmers.
Jun 16, 2014

Building Seed Capital - Uganda Community Farm

We are delighted to share with you that our concept for the Uganda Community Farm--conceived only half a year back--has already started resonating strongly with the local community in Uganda, as well as the international support community.

This month of June 2014, an individual donor has strengthened our vision even the most, with the offer of two computers sets and a digital camera.

Work is already in progress at our initial 5 acres, and that all will make it easy for us to regularly bring you photos and updates!

The Uganda Community Farm is a nonprofit agriculture initiative being developed in Kamuli/Buyende—in Eastern Uganda. It is a project of the local nonprofit ‘Organic Perspectives’. We started out with 5 acres in 2013, and our strategic goal is 40Ha.

The Uganda Community Farm aims to equip Uganda’s Rural Smallholder Farmers with hands-on skills on organic horticulture systems that could emancipate their livelihoods above the poverty line, in a self sustaining manner. It is intended to be both a ‘practical organic farming learning/demo center’ and a ‘high-value collective market’ for agrarian produce from the rural farmers that our nonprofit works with.

Organic Perspectives is a Ugandan environmental nonprofit that works with rural smallholder farmers. Since 2007, our work has taken a ‘three-pronged’ approach integrating community forestry, alternative household energy and organic gardening. Our goal is to protect the environment, promote food security and enhance rural smallholder farmers’ incomes through sustainable & economically-viable agriculture.

The Uganda Community Farm shall concurrently work as our extension center for training rural communities on all our ‘3 focus activity areas’ above. And, combining both our previous organic farming expertise and the farm’s main goal of “collective marketing” for our target farmers’ produce, the project shall be sure to capture the highest-value organic market in Uganda—such as International Hotels. This will not only give the rural poor farmers a hand out of extreme poverty, but will also enable us scale our overall community work self sustainably—using internal income.

That's the good news we wanted to share with all of you for now! Thank you for supporting the Uganda Community Farm.

May 14, 2014

New Partnerships + a Case for Sustainability

Robert
Robert's Tree Nursery in Kidera - 2 years later.
  1. Overview
  2. From the Field: more tree planting, new biogas digesters and an organic farming venture
  3. Impact Investor for our Community Organic Farm

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Dear Friends of Organic Perspectives,

We are again delighted to bring you the latest updates from our work with rural smallholder farmers in Uganda.

Over the last few months—stretching from January 2014—our team has made some really good strides in developing strategic project partnerships, as you will learn below, and we have also moved a step closer to a goal we have held closely from early 2013: creating a means of self-sustainability for our interventions (on community forestry, alternative household energy and organic gardening).

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1. Overview:

For exactly 12 months going back from now, you realize that the frequency with which we have shared with you news updates and photos from Organic Perspectives’ community activities has been typically sporadic.

In retrospect, what might appear to be a minor setback to a social change-maker on the other side of the world may prove to be the toughest challenge for a small African nonprofit like ours. In one instance—during our early days (2008 – 2011), we had a good digital camera of our own, and that’s the only time we were able to take the best photos from our community training activities ever—as you can see on this page (under “Photos”).

Then, somewhere in early 2013, the sole computer we had ceased working, and a second digital camera that had been donated to us by our colleague—Uganda’s Program Coordinator for “Trees for the Future”—also malfunctioned shortly thereafter. We have since then been without any means of documenting our work, in a part of Uganda where accessibility is really constrained.

Well, all the above is NOT the central point of this news update, but in many ways has a lot to do with our current resolve to pursue a means of self-sustainability for our work—as highlighted below.

2. From the Field: more tree planting, new biogas digesters and an organic farming venture

TREES: this season, we provided a lot of fodder tree seed to two of the community tree nurseries that we have worked with since 2013, and also to more than 10 individual farmers who intend to set up their own woodlots.

From around 2009, we realized that engaging individual farmers on tree planting is even as effective as the community approach—and in some cases even more effective—as there are individual farmers who commit to planting tens of thousands of trees (each single farmer). Willy (NOT the one in the above photo) is one good example. We began with him in mid 2012, but since then planted over 75,000 trees, including more than 30,000 trees in 2014 alone.

BIOGAS: our activity pace on fuel-efficient woodstoves and household biogas digesters has generally slowed, particularly due to decreased subsidy—assistance to beneficiary households—in the case of the latter. In the whole of 2014, we have been able to install only 3 new biogas digesters, and are yet to install the fourth digester at an orphanage in Northern Uganda at the end of May, 2014.

ORGANIC FARMING: Please learn about our newest community venture on organic farming: the Uganda Community Farm.

3. Impact Investor for our Community Organic Farm

From 2013, we have had plans for an organic horticulture social venture: the Uganda Community Farm. The initiative, a project of Organic Perspectives, both aims to build self-sustainability for our nonprofit’s community work with local communities in Uganda, and to equip our target rural farmers with hands-on skills on organic horticulture systems to lift them out of extreme poverty.

We are delighted to share with you that the concept, conceived only in November last year (2013), has now gotten its first US Impact Investor; she visited us in Uganda and was here for 3 weeks last April. If you visit the Uganda Community Farm’s website and find our vision inspiring, we can put you in touch with this young lady (our first Impact Investor) to see how you might work together with her to help. Every little helps.

Thank you and we look forward to sharing with you more updates in the near future.

Feb 6, 2014

Strategizing for the Sustainability of Our Interventions

Brad & Adrienne @Organic - Jan 2014.
Brad & Adrienne @Organic - Jan 2014.

Dear Project Supporter,

Organic Perspectives would like to bring you a few updates from our work with rural farmers in Uganda.

Flashback:

For the biggest time of the year, an almost-continuous part of our work is taking visitors to several local households where we have either installed a household biogas plant or supplied a fuel-efficient woodstove—besides the farmers’ groups that we provide with tree seed and agroforestry training.

With a relatively meager source of funding, our nonprofit is generally not scaling our activities to new communities for much of the year, but the work we have done in the last 7 years is itself often much to keep us in the field most of the time. And we are ultimately sure to build continuity, ideally in a self sufficient manner—if our goal for the “Uganda Community Farm” finally holds. Read on.

We have particularly found our innovations in the area of sustainable household energy to be just as appealing to local farmers and our project visitors—as do our reforestation and organic agriculture part of it.

Our latest 2 visitors from the US (see photo) therefore weren’t held back by the Christmas holiday. They were already having their sleeves rolled up and their hands dirty in the mud—sharing experiences and providing practical training to our farmers in Kamuli—as early as Jan 2, 2014 (after leaving their home country on new year’s eve) . We had no way of sharing more of our field photos via this report, but we shall be sure to upload many of them in the gallery on this page, and on our website.

Strategizing for the Sustainability of our Work:

We would like to focus briefly on the theme for this report.

Towards the end of 2013—as you might have learned about—we pushed ahead an establishment campaign for our newest project: the Uganda Community Farm. This, unfortunately, wasn’t successful.

You will realize from the above link that our purpose for the farm was, and still is, twofold:

  1. Building financial self sufficiency for our nonprofit in scaling our ongoing work with rural farmers on community forestry, alternative household energy and organic gardening
  2. Creating a practical organic farming learning center for the farmers that we work with—providing them with hands-on training on high income-generating organic horticulture systems.

With the failure of the farm’s previous establishment campaign, we haven’t given up on the future. Presently, we have generally scaled down on the farm’s establishment needs, and we are contemplating making the most modest start we can with our own hands—then seek expansion support later.

See our 2014 Business Plan for the Uganda Community Farm here.

How You Can Help:

  1. If you or any of your networks could connect us with an interest free Microcredit Program to get our vision for the Uganda Community Farm off the ground, our envisaged total payback timeframe is the end of Year 1. Please study our Business Plan in detail, to see exactly what and how we plan to do this.
  1. On February 12, 2014, GlobalGiving will be matching all donations to our projects at 30%. As we aggressively pursue a vision for self sufficiency, you could vitally help us sustain our operations by supporting us this way—and by spreading word about our work.

Thank you very much for your continued support!

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