Documentary On Iowa State's Impact On Uganda To Be Premiered

This story was written by Whitney Sager, Iowa State Daily


A documentary film showcasing the work Iowa State University faculty members and students have done in Uganda will be shown at 5 p.m. on Wednesday night in Curtiss Hall Auditorium.

During the last four years, the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has been sending faculty members and students to Uganda to help improve living conditions in the country.

The ultimate goal is to create a better overall lifestyle, said James Reecy, associate professor of animal science.

Most of the work done in Uganda has dealt with improving education. Three different levels of education have been provided for people working and living in the area.

The first level has been educating small farmers.

We suggest different management practices to help [farmers] better produce livestock, Reecy said.

The second level educates Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns staff members who are working to improve the livelihood of Ugandans. According to the groups Web site, VEDCOs mission is to empower small and medium holder farmers for food and nutrition security, agricultural trade and institutional development.

[The goal is to] give better appreciation for VEDCO members, Reecy said, explaining how important it is for VEDCO staff members to understand the importance of the efforts being made in Uganda.

The third level educates students and staff at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Makerere University is working in partnership with Iowa State and VEDCO in the improvement processes, Reecy said.

Though students have not been involved in the work Reecy has been doing, the goal is to eventually incorporate students into the efforts of improving education and livestock production practices.

Our intention is to first get graduate students involved in the outreach for less developed countries, Reecy said. Then we will eventually get undergraduate students involved.

Another area of work that has been done in Uganda is the development of school gardens.

Kids work in the gardens and learn agricultural practices, said Clark Richardson, senior in agricultural business.

The gardens serve the purpose of teaching schoolchildren how to raise crops. They can then take what they learned at school back to their homes and apply it to their own family gardens.

I am 100 percent behind this project, Richardson said, referring to the efforts being made in Uganda. [Ugandans] really want to improve their lives.

Richardson also mentioned how much he had benefited from his experience in Uganda and what impacts the trip had made on his life.

I gained an appreciation for the things I have [here in the U.S.] that I had taken for granted in the past, Richardson said.
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