Preservation of Mangos
A single mango cannot end malnutrition; however preserving mangos to provide year round vitamin and micronutrient supplementation is a great start. Breaking the cycle of malnutrition requires education and community empowerment. In a region of Uganda that has no fruits or vegetables readily available for the six-month dry season; food preservation and innovative agricultural training is critical.
In 2012, 310 mango trees were planted in rural Northern Uganda. This orchard provides mangos for preservation as well as providing local employment to community members to help maintain, prune, and harvest the 8 acre orchard. The orchard is also used to grow other nutritious produce for the community such as groundnuts, cassava, moringa, kale, and sweet potatoes. The Ugandan Mango Project staff train local farmers in a diversity of best agriculture practices including how to plant hybrid mango trees for survival through dry season. 75 additional mango trees have been planted in local homes, schools, mosques, and churches throughout neighboring villages.
Nutrition and Education Center
Construction of The Mango Project Nutrition and Education Center started in 2015. The Nutrition and Education Center is where women, men, parents, grandparents, and children are given the opportunities to gain life-giving knowledge with the purpose of preventing infection and hospitalization. This center is about building a healthy community. Education programs empower local communities in three areas: (1) how to stop the fatal effects of malnutrition, (2) how to increase cultivation of crops, (3) and how to fight against poverty without requiring migration to urban centers.
For seven years before the Nutrition and Education Center, mango preservation took place in traditional homes and mud huts with very limited space or resources. The final completion of the Nutrition and Education Center will allow for larger-scale preservation of mangos with high quality control and safety standards.
The Mango Project provides nutritional education for families and healthcare providers throughout Yumbe District, and agricultural training for local farmers. It is through these invaluable educational venues that the local people are empowered to help themselves in this very rural part of Uganda.
Every week, the Ugandan Mango Project leaders provide health education for women’s savings groups in seven neighboring villages. Every month cooking demonstrations and nutrition education is provided in local hospitals for families and caretakers of children who are hospitalized due to malnutrition. Additional monthly education programs include: best agriculture practices, breastfeeding programs, and home safety and sanitization.
Scholarships and Education
Access to all levels of education (elementary through university) is a major challenge in Uganda. Only 24% of children in Uganda complete 4thgrade, and 33% of women in Uganda give birth before the age of 18 (UNICEF, 2016). From 2004 to 2016, The Mango Project raised funds for secondary school and university scholarships for a few rising community leaders. Since 2016, The Mango Project now provides scholarships to young ladies that are HIV positive. This scholarship program is much more than just paying tuition. The Mango Project scholarship includes mentorship from Ugandan leaders in best practices of healthy living while positive, providing links to support for tutoring, and community networks and gatherings for the scholars and their families at The Mango Project Nutrition and Education Center. The scholarship program begins in elementary school and is a commitment to empower these ladies through university.