In January 2008, Project Have Hope (PHH) partnered with the Uganda Rural Development Team to train PHH members in the balcony gardening technique. With capital provided by PHH, the women have completed their training and each manages four gardens. In the balcony gardens, they typically grow spinach, onions, sukumawiki (a green similar to cabbage), and occasionally, carrots, nakati (a cross between a tomato and an eggplant), dodo (also known as amaranth), and okra.
When the gardens are fully planted, each woman earns an income of approximately US$17 per week. Currently, the women only sell the produce within the Acholi Quarter, but they plan to sell in surrounding markets once they have sufficient vegetables.
In 2010, five Project Have Hope (PHH) members traveled to Kagadi, Uganda to visit the Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme. They hoped to learn how rural development projects could be more successfully incorporated into PHH's programming in the Acholi Quarter. Of all the programs there, the women were most inspired by the greenhouse. They saw it as an opportunity to grow a large crop of tomatoes, a widely consumed food, in a small area by growing them vertically in an enclosed greenhouse.
The following June, PHH enlisted the help of agricultural professionals to construct a greenhouse in the Acholi Quarter. Community members were trained in the construction of the greenhouse. They also received instruction, through several training sessions, on planting and transplanting seeds, crop management, nursery maintenance, pruning, disease prevention, and harvesting.
In 2008, Ayaa Grace, In-Country Director, suggested growing and selling mushrooms as a potential business opportunity. Within a year, Project Have Hope (PHH) had arranged for members to receive training from two local teachers. With capital provided by PHH, the women bought 100 packets of seeds. They also constructed a building to house the gardens - a projects costing approximately $650. Today, PHH members own and manage approximately 200 hanging mushroom gardens.
In 2012, the Mushroom House sustained damage due to extreme weather conditions. The members involved in this project used a portion of their profits to partially reconstruct it, but they needed assistance. PHH reached out to its supporters and started a fundraiser on Crowdrise. We were able to raise the remaining $750 and rebuild this vital source of income - thanks to our wonderful donors!