Mzee Erick Kafuruma, Uganda
Mzee Erick Kafuruma is 74 years old, a retired soldier and agriculturalist from Uganda.
Erick first became aware of The Hunger Project nine years ago, through workshops and training in his village, near to where the Mbarara Epicentre is active. Passionate about positive change, he has always looked for ways to inspire people to improve their communities.
After retirement from the army, he moved into organic farming, and tried to mobilise others to be part of his projects. Unfortunately, most community members were unwilling to participate.
“When The Hunger Project started training in 2005 in my village, from the first workshop, I was in attendance, and fell in love with the five steps of ending hunger and poverty,” he says. At last Erick had found a group of people who thought as he did.
As well as attending training he also encouraged his wife, Ida, to join the microfinance group, and they have since used the money from this programme to improve their fruit garden, and with it has grown their knowledge and passion for food farming.
They have become botanical innovators, grafting mango plants with a new variety, which leads to mangoes three times the weight of those from a regular variety tree. And although they occasionally face challenges — gravel soil and very little rainfall — Erick and Ida work to invent solutions to combat them: building pits for in-house composting and digging a well to capture rainfall.
Erick’s mission and passion to mobilise others also remains. He is keen to spread The Hunger Project message, in order to bring about sustainability, and encourage other people to adopt cost-effective, high-yielding agricultural practices.
Recently when The Hunger Project in Uganda announced a call for partners for programs, Erick was selected as an animator, and given the responsibility of influencing people through the epicentre strategy. He says The Hunger Project have looked beyond his age, and believed in him enough to give him the opportunity to work on projects that he is passionate about.
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