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Thoughts from author: jojo oldham

one family and their cow

edith and her cow

Today, after driving about an hour and a half north of Kampala on a journey which was like being on an incredibly slow, incredibly bumpy rollercoaster, I had the privilege of meeting Edith (above), her family, and her two lovely cows.

Edith and her husband Edward live in Mwererwe with their ten children, and they joined the Send A Cow programme back in 2010 after Edith was approached by the women's group there. 

It's a very special time for Edith and her family, as tomorrow they're getting a visit from the Prime Minister of Buganda. They're one of ten families in the area who've been selected to have Biogas systems installed by Heifer International, something which wouldn't have been possible if they didn't have a cow. edith and the biogas

In a place where electricity is in very short supply, but cow dung is plentiful, Biogas is a fantastic solution. Here Edith is mixing cow dung and urine in this chamber, which then gets sucked down into another compartment underground and gives off gas which powers their kitchen stove and a light in the living room, and also produces slurry which they can use to fertilise their plants. So nothing at all is wasted, and as well as giving them milk to drink and sell to pay school fees, their cow also powers their home and helps their plants grow. I reckon there's quite a bit we could learn from them.

the light

the stove
Edward said of working with Send A Cow: "Before Send A Cow people didn't see us. Noone would help us. Noone would come anywhere near us. They were too scared. Send A Cow were the only ones brave enough to help. Now things are so much different. Now everyone sees us. Now everyone wants to help." So because families can only graduate from the Send A Cow programme once they've proved they can be truly sustainable, other organisations know that these are families who will be able to put in the hard work needed to get new projects off the ground.

Edith says her dream is to have a new house in five years time, and she's invited me back to come and see it. I really hope I can.

my new desk

jojo's desk in uganda

This is a photo of my new desk at the national office of Send A Cow in Uganda, where I'm lucky enough to be spending the next couple of weeks. It took five and a half minutes to upload, so I'll be picking my photos more wisely in future. I'm thinking more cows, fewer desks.

 Send A Cow are one of the innocent foundation's partner organisations, and our funding helps them to help people out of poverty and hunger by teaching them a combination of essential life skills and sustainable farming techniques. I'm here on behalf of the innocent foundation to meet some of the families that have been helped by Send A Cow, and to help tell their stories.

It's day one of a two week trip, and as I write this I'm sitting at my new desk, drinking a cup of very milky tea, listening to the rain hammer down and occasional blasts of Wannabe by The Spice Girls through an open window. So far, not so different from home, but I have a feeling tomorrow will be a completely different story.