Kira Farm Development Centre One year course at Kira Farm Kira Farm Development Centre Every January 40 disadvantaged young people enter the gates of Kira Farm, a 22 acre innovative, residential, training centre. All have grown up in extreme poverty, many have been affected by HIV and war. Over the course of one year these enterprising young people acquire the practical, emotional and life skills to lift their families out of poverty and become catalysts for change in their communities. Conservation Farming Although many young people in Uganda have access to fertile land, they often live off just one meal a day because farming skills were lost after their parents’ generation was wiped out by conflict and HIV. Ironically vast areas of Uganda which lie barren could yield abundant crops. Conservation farming (also known as ‘Farming God’s Way’) is the bedrock of what we do at Kira Farm. Applying eco-friendly techniques enables subsistence farmers to multiply crop yields – ensuring everyone in their household has enough to eat, as well as a surplus to sell. With the extra income made from surplus crops they can set up small businesses and work their way out of poverty. Instead of using slash and burn methods, conservation farming techniques involve minimal cultivation, mulch to reduce water loss, composted animal manure for fertilisation, and timely planting to catch maximum rainfall to increase yields. Farmers are also trained in harvesting, storing, processing and marketing. Thanks to this training we have doubled our harvest. In the past we used to run out of food, but now we have enough for two meals a day. Doreen, Gulu. Vocational Training Uganda has the youngest population in the world and the highest rates of youth unemployment. When there are no jobs to apply for, the most viable option for young people is to set up small businesses. During the 12 month course at Kira Farm students learn vocational skills alongside farming methods. Students can choose between the following trades: tailoring, hairdressing, carpentry, construction and bike repairs. They also receive training in business, gender equality, conflict resolution and health and hygiene. When they complete the course the students can acquire the tools they need, such as a sewing machine or carpentry kit, to set themselves up in business. As a teenager Justin spent time in prison and felt hopeless about his future. Today, thanks to the construction skills he acquired at Kira Farm he has a successful building business. 'I have extended my parents' house, I've built my own small house and I'm renting out a couple of houses. Thanks to some big construction contracts I've won I can pay for my sister to go to school and I am buying a two acre plot to farm. I have also become a youth pastor in my local church. Without Kira I think I'd be in prison, or maybe dead.' Kira Farm graduate, Jessica, escaped a life of slavery as a house girl to become a successful tailor. Today she is passing on her skills to apprentices! Jessica tells her story here... Life Skills Training Young people in Uganda are full of potential, energy and talent, but they are trapped in a cycle of poverty. At Kira Farm we aim to change the mindset of the trainees, to help them see what they can do for themselves, and change poverty from the inside out. We believe in holistic social transformation and throughout the year the trainees complete courses in character development, conflict resolution, biblical discipleship, health and hygiene, and nutrition. The sheer determination and hard work of previous trainees, often in the face of great obstacles, has seen them work their way out of poverty. This change can be exponential, as every young person passes on what they have learnt to their communities. Sponsor a Kira Trainee here.