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Home Featured Happy Days: Growing Potatoes Boosts Pupil Retention At Namalu Mixed School

Happy Days: Growing Potatoes Boosts Pupil Retention At Namalu Mixed School

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Of recent, many stories have been told of how Karamoja has been affected by hunger.

As a result of hunger, many children were shying away from schools while others were dropping out of schools because they lacked what to eat at school.

However, to change this situation, at Namalu Mixed Primary School in Nakapiripirit district, pupils with the help of their teachers decided to start growing sweet potatoes as a way of fighting hunger.

According to Innocent Masanja who heads the Farmers Club, some schools were growing food to feed the pupils, something that improved learner retention in school.

A pupil happily heads for his lunch of orange-fleshed potatoes at Namalu. Story and photos by Andrew Masinde

Since Namalu had 30 acres of free land, he decided to look for NGOs that could support the school to grow food. He was lucky that one of his proposals was welcomed by Andre’s Food International.

Today, the school has seven acres of orange-fleshed potatoes the pupils now feed on every lunchtime.

“It was like a joke but now feeding has brought back children to school. They no longer dodge school because of hunger. Issues of pupils going home for lunch but never returning have stopped,” Masanja says.

He adds that they also have five acres of potato vines that they have reserved for the next planting seasons. They are also supplying potato vines to the community to ensure all-round food security.

Geoffrey Awiny Arims, the deputy head teacher of the school, says the potatoes have helped bring pupils back to school.

He says absenteeism has stopped and also the number of pupils has increased from 800 to over 1,000 pupils.

“We now have vines and next year we want to increase our acreage to 20 such that we produce a lot and the excess will be preserved for future eating,” he says.

The school has seven acres of orange-fleshed potatoes

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