Food for Thought- Feed Schoolchildren in Uganda

Jun 24, 2014

A Milestone!

Helen and her grandmother
Helen and her grandmother



Today we mark an important milestone!

It is exactly 6 years since the first cup of porridge was served in our pilot school-feeding school- Kengoma Primary School in Kabale Municipality, Uganda. What started as a dream to meet children in their impoverished school compounds and help them where they are has become a model school-feeding program that is fully scalable.

Helen had her first cup of porridge in Primary 1 (Grade 1) and she is now a proud candidate in Primary 7 (Grade 7) about to take her national primary leaving exams in November and will be on her way to secondary school (Uganda's middle school) next year. A cup of porridge has meant the world to her. She was born in her grandmother's house and her mother left her after just a few months to look for work (and life) and never returned. Although her whereabouts are vaguely known, Helen's mother has never returned to meet the daughter she had 12 years ago.

Says grandma with a hearty laugh, "she always talks about the porridge with sugar and milk...she enjoys going to school". Helen's mother dropped out of school at age 9 so we know that Helen has already gone further at age 12 thus reducing her chances of getting trapped by the ills of poverty such as early pregnancy cause we know that for each additional year of education, a girl reduces all the risks that come with poverty and we also know that her own children will go to school.  

Helen is a success story! She has recently registered for her primary leaving exam. She attends school regularly, she concentrates and works hard. She has good grades and came second in her class last term. 

Thanks to you, children like Helen have remained in school and are working hard one day at a time to escape poverty. Your donations help us keep children in school today. Tomorrow is too late!  Please donate today to make a difference today.  

Thank you. 

Team MCF

Helen was among the first porridge kids in 2008
Helen was among the first porridge kids in 2008
Helen's P1 classroom block back in 2008 collapsed
Children having porridge at 10:30am
Children having porridge at 10:30am


May 30, 2013


A meal keeps them coming to school
A meal keeps them coming to school

                            TODAY IS WORLD HUNGER DAY!


Please help us restore porridge to over 350 school- children at Rushakyi Primary School 

Dear Supporters,

My name is Akampurira Alex and I am the headmaster at Rushakyi Primary School which has been supported by the Mpambara Cox Foundation since 2009 providing scholastic materials, volunteers and most importantly by feeding our school children with a cup of porridge everyday.

Unfortunately, we started 2013 academic year without any porridge due to lack of funds. In the past year our partners at Piney Branch Elementary School in Maryland, USA and GlobalGiving helped raise funds to ensure a cup of porridge was available to all 326 school-children and 13 teachers for 190 school days of the year. We served 67,000 cups to be precise and that was thanks to you.

I can tell you that in the short-term, porridge transformed the school:

1)      Increasing enrollment;

2)      Reducing short-term hunger;

3)      Reducing sick days because of improved health;

4)      Better concentration; and,

5)      Higher attendance numbers as parents sent their children to school.

In the long-term, an entire community is transformed through education. Most rural parents haven’t ever spent a day in a classroom and their children are the first to have the privilege of a free-government aided education. But a hungry child simply cannot learn. 

Volunteers from the US arrived at the school during Spring Break 2013 and met the children and did some wonderful things to help morale.  We have attached photos from the trip.


To help us alleviate HUNGER and make a real difference! The Mpambara-Cox Foundation is  experienced in delivering the education message along with a cup of porridge: cooking and serving porridge on the school compound with community buy-in and teacher support.

Most of our donations come from individuals like you that are driven to make a change in small ways that add up to big things.

Please make a donation today in honor of world hunger day and help us reach our goal of raising $5000 to feed the school for an entire year: May 2013 – April 2014

Thank you!


Akampurira Alex

US Volunteers at Rushakyi Primary - Spring 2013
US Volunteers at Rushakyi Primary - Spring 2013
The first day we served porridge in 2010!
The first day we served porridge in 2010!
Nov 14, 2012

67,000 Cups of Porridge!

Akankunda Leticia - one year of school at Rushakyi
Akankunda Leticia - one year of school at Rushakyi

As the children at Rushakyi Primary School end their school year (the school year in Uganda extends from February to November), we would like you to know that your contribution helped the Mpambara-Cox Foundation provide 67,000 cups of porridge in 2012!

It all started with you! Your contribution helped us continue an efficiently run program in which we buy food items - firewood, maize porridge flour, milk, and sugar; provide training to and pay our parent cooks; transport food items; buy cleaning supplies to clean cooking and feeding utensils; procure utensils to replace broken ones; monitor and evaluate program delivery; and in the end, put a smile on the face of a school-child, DAILY!  Now isn't that 'food for thought'? 

Thank you!

Thanks to you, our GlobalGiving supporters, we managed to feed an entire school for an entire school-year! In the large scheme of things, it means we are positively impacting  an under-developed nation by impacting a school-child, a family and a community.

The stats

More importantly, we are a beacon of hope in a place where hope is hard to come by. For those living in abject poverty, education is in crisis and the opportunity to go to school continues to be a gift. Consider the facts:

  • 72 million children are not enrolled in school (over two-thirds are girls); the vast majority of that number live in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • 771 million adults worldwide are illiterate (64 per cent are women); the vast majority of that number live in Sub-Sharan Africa
  • Two million new teachers are needed today to provide kids with a decent education

                                                 Source: United Nations Millennium Development Goals

The ‘ifs’

In Africa, it is a celebration to end the school year because unlike the American education system where every child automatically goes from one grade to the next, the Ugandan child ends the school year and walks home on the last day knowing he or she might never see the inside of a classroom again. They only hope that they can re-enroll and join school the next year. The end of the school year is therefore a time riddled with ‘ifs’.....if parents decide to send them back for another year, if crops don’t fail and there is some extra income to pay the $10 school fees, if they can buy a uniform, book and pencil, if they can efficiently juggle daily labor activities, if there isn’t a sick family member, if, if, if....

Our goal this holiday season is to remove the provision of a daily cup of porridge from the list of 'ifs’ - if there is porridge next year.

Our program is helping children attend school and to date, Rushakyi Primary School has the steadiest attendance of area schools and the least sick days for the student population. We are making a big difference because every incremental year in primary school makes a huge difference.

The difference   

  • An individual’s potential income can increase as much as 10% with each additional year of primary schooling and 15% for girls.
  • A farmer’s productivity increases nearly 9% with 4 years of primary schooling.
  • Annual GDP increases by 1% with each year of additional schooling.
  • If all students in low income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. This is equal to a 12% cut in global poverty.
  • Every additional year of schooling reduces the number of children a woman will have by 10%.
  • Investing in girls’ education could boost sub-Saharan Africa agricultural output by 25%.

                                                         Source: United Nations Millennium Development Goals

The hope

By working in remote and poor schools, MCF is changing lives and giving impoverished children hope for a better future through education. The goal is to give every child in our partner schools the opportunity to gain the critical life skills of numeracy and literacy. No matter how difficult the conditions are for the children at Rushakyi Primary School (and they are very difficult), MCF strives to create a conducive environment for them to learn in a step-by-step program plan. Alleviating short-term hunger is the first step to helping them achieve regular attendance and increased concentration. 

For the 326 school children that have gone through an entire year, MCF together with you would like to remove the provision of porridge next year from their long list of ‘ifs’. Will you support MCF again this holiday season as we continue to put a smile on the face and hope in the heart of a school-child through a cup of porridge?

We cannot do it alone, we need your support!  

Natukunda Jennifer, 3 years of school at Rushakyi
Natukunda Jennifer, 3 years of school at Rushakyi
Aug 3, 2012

Summer 2012: A cup of porridge is much, much more than a meal, it's a promise for a better future!

Our youngest volunteers dance the Kiga dance
Our youngest volunteers dance the Kiga dance

This summer, my children and I spent 5 weeks in Kabale, Uganda, learning about the impact of our programs, visiting schools, volunteering in classrooms and meeting some of the people that MCF is benefiting. While the poverty landscape remained largely unaltered, the difference in our partner schools was very obvious; the children looked better; they were happy and more astute. Whole schools and communities have been transformed, the impact is hard to imagine unless you see it yourself, but through song, dance and poetry, the children told the porridge story and how MCF has changed their lives.  

At one school, I met a mother that has a lovely daughter with an interesting name - Sincere.  Sincere's school has been part of our porridge program for almost 3 years. We feed the entire school during school days. Her illiterate mother told me how a few years back, the decision to send her then 4 year old daughter to school had been very easy.  She added that she intended to keep her there, the reason: the availability and consistency of a daily cup of porridge!

It is difficult for a person that cannot read and write to comprehend the benefits of completing an education even at a basic level. I encouraged her to leave Sincere in school for the whole 7 years by asking her a challenging question. What would it mean to her to have an educated daughter? She simply stood silent; it was too bold of a dream to imagine. She broke her long silence to say something that impressed me the most: "Of all of my 5 (older children), little Sincere is the most driven to succeed, she is also the healthiest, she doesn't get sick as often, and she loves school." "If you stay with us", she added "Sincere will finish school".  She is the only child this woman has that has known a guaranteed meal 5 days a week for almost 3 years!  

Sincere’s family lives in absolute poverty. Her only chance to escape the cycle of poverty is simple yet complicated. She needs to remain in school to avoid being a mother at 14 like her own mother was, or end up working in the fields for the occasional 25 cents a day like her mother currently does. NOTHING CHANGES THE FORTUNES OF THE POOR LIKE EDUCATION.

Our strategy at MCF is to ensure that the poor children in the free but very under-resourced government-aided schools will have a shot at a better future by remaining in school through programs that enrich their environment - we feed them, provide text books, volunteer to give them hope and skills, equip them with shoes and uniforms, provide microfinance to their mothers and most of all, give them a lot of love!  

The children in the schools we are partnered with now know that we have their backs as we have been consistent in our delivery THANKS TO YOU, OUR DONORS.

This poem below was recited by students at Kasinde Primary School when I visited their community on Friday, July 20th. It captures the true essence of our program and demonstrates that the children now get the reason we are providing porridge. It is a lot more powerful when the entire school recites it, but watching and listening to this footage shot from my iPhone will give you a better understanding of the impact of your gift to MCF and the fact that we have to remain committed to changing lives through this simple yet very powerful porridge program.

Please continue to support us; donate today or become a recurring donor to help us maintain our programs and to meet our goal of adding one more school to our program by December 2012.  It costs $40 to feed one children in school for one academic year. There are 380 students in the school that awaits porridge - Bugomora Primary School.

                          TOGETHER WE ARE CHANGING LIVES!

PORRIDGE APPRECIATION POEM - recited by students at Kasinde Primary School (July 20, 2012)

Ohhh Mpambara Mpambara Mpambara

How happy we are!

Both pupils and teachers whom you save from hunger

By providing breakfast

How thankful we are!


Ohhh Mpambara Mpambara Mpambara

The bell goes

We pray to thank God

Running quickly follows

A cup I get

Drinking follows

I dance and I play

Oh what a smile!

Long live Mpambara!


For long we have been  surviving on what you have provide to us

How grateful we are!

Oh Mpambara what can I talk about you?

We are always bright and active because of what you provide to us

Now academics we have improved; no hunger, no thirst!

Oh Long Live Mpambara!


God reward Mpambara for what they have done for us

For God and My Country.

MCF President encourages a reluctant learner
MCF President encourages a reluctant learner
Writing with an almost non-existant pencil!
Writing with an almost non-existant pencil!
MCF President serves porridge at Nyamiyaga Primary
MCF President serves porridge at Nyamiyaga Primary


May 1, 2012

Pushing Against Poverty- Enrollment Grows at Rushakyi Primary School!

I Smile Because I Have Breakfast- A Luxury for Me!
I Smile Because I Have Breakfast- A Luxury for Me!

Alex Akampurira, the headmaster at Rushakyi Primary School, was beaming with happiness when I called him to learn about the first month of the new school year.  He relayed, “We are the only school in the municipality to have an increase in enrollment! I feel so proud of the porridge program. It is wonderful. I wish you could have been here to see the children on the first day of school.”  My response: “I wish the donors could have been there to see the children on the first day of school” because it is you that enabled such jubilation, providing hope to the children at Rushakyi through a cup of porridge.

The increase he is proud of: 32 children (enrollment increased at Rushakyi from 332 pupils to 364). The significance of that number is not easy to grasp until you consider what happens in rural African schools that don’t have powerful programs that enable impoverished children to remain in school to learn.

Imagine the real alternative: The story in the neighboring schools is that enrollment dropped by 50 to 80 children, mostly in the higher grades. You may wonder what happens to those children that drop out of school? They disappear into the hilly Kabale terrain as boys herding cattle, street boys begging, underage mothers, livestock thieves, family field workers, stone crushers in quarries or simply staying at home to take care of family. They won’t ever know how to read or write. Living in such impoverished conditions with illiterate parents means these children oftentimes will find it hard to return to school, and, if they do, they are unable to assimilate.

School conditions are tough too - walking miles to school on an empty stomach without the guarantee of one meal a day, parents who cannot afford scholastic materials, under-funded government schools, unpaid teachers, leaking roofs and no running water at school.  All of this means many children are often sick or cannot perform well due to reduced brain function.  

However, we are changing that! Alex managed not only retain his numbers but to increase the enrollment due to the powerful programs that the Mpambara-Cox Foundation has provided in the school since March, 2010. To provide an enabling and encouraging education environment for the children, we have installed clean drinking water, planted fruit trees, hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. day of writing pen-pal letters to U.S. children, provided backpacks with scholastic materials and started a women’s microfinance program to increase household incomes for mothers who pledge to keep their children in school.

Our signature school feeding program provides the only guaranteed meal the children can count on. Breakfast in Africa is a luxury that the children do not take for granted! Serving it at school has led to the increase in enrollment that Alex is so proud of.

Your contribution is significant because for every day children remain in school, they gain knowledge that will help them escape poverty – they learn about how to remain healthy,  they open their minds to ideas, they learn to read and write and more importantly they are able to reach for a better tomorrow.

The Mpambara-Cox Foundation is working to ensure that children remain in school for 7 years of primary schooling.  According to the Millennium Development Goals aimed at ending poverty, finishing a primary education is the first step on the ladder out of absolute poverty. We are aware that there is a dignity that comes through education that no one can take away. We are putting their future in their hands and you are a partner in helping us shape that future for a better tomorrow.   

Please help us spread this program to more area schools. A one-time $40 payment feeds one child for an entire year! We can bring dignity to more children with your help. Thank you!

The Cook at Rushakyi Prepares Porridge
The Cook at Rushakyi Prepares Porridge
Children at Rushakyi Thank MCF
Children at Rushakyi Thank MCF
Alex (center) dances in Celebration at School
Alex (center) dances in Celebration at School

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Project Leader

Anita Mpambara Cox

Rockville, MD United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Food for Thought- Feed Schoolchildren in Uganda