A few months ago we invited some of the women in the slum closest to us to come to our office and help us to build a ‘keyhole garden’ (a special type of kitchen garden). This week we were able to repay the favour, as we headed out to Mama Joshua’s house to help her to build one for herself along with a group of local women. As a result, she can now grow her own vegetables to help feed her family throughout the year. During the dry seasons, people can really struggle to afford food as prices for even the most common of vegetable rise considerably. However, thanks to some simple teaching and locally sourced materials Mama Joshua can not only provide food for her family, but she can also teach other mama’s to do the same on their tiny plots of land.
A keyhole garden works by utilising a compost pit in the centre of a circular raised-vegetable bed. This provides a good way to dispose of left over food waste such as vegetable peelings, keeping her compound clean and also feeding the vegetables with valuable compost. Waste water can be added to the compost basket, which then helps to ‘lock in’ moisture. It is easy to build and maintain and the materials needed are really cheap or free. With all the compost used in the soil, the garden retains moisture very well, enabling it to grow vegetables even when there is very little rain.
Check out our great time-lapse video of us all making the garden together:
Mama Joshua was one of the first mama’s we ever had relationship with in Uganda and so it is really great to see her business and family flourishing and it was an honour to help her become even more self sustaining in the future. Now she is going to work with the other local mamas to create their own versions of the keyhole garden – helping a large number of families get extra nutritious vegetables when their children would normally be eating starchy staples.
To help us train even more groups in vegetable growing to keep children healthy, please go to our donate page.