Food security involves access to a wide variety and types of food that are meant to help individuals and families (children, youth, men, and women) develop properly and remain nutritionally healthy. It also incorporates resilient behaviors in the event of fuel shortages, drought conditions, conflict and war, the displacement and migration of groups of people, and socio-economic instability.
Salama SHIELD Foundation provides education in permaculture techniques (specifically in our Malawi-based programs) – an indigenous agricultural philosophy that works with, rather than against nature. Permaculture practices develop sustainable architecture, regenerative and self-maintained habitats, and agricultural systems modelled from the natural ecosystem. Women and youth are trained in modern and conservation farming methods, irrigation, nutrient diversity, herb and vegetable diversity, compost preservation, proper food storage facilities, crop savings, and record and budget keeping. Model and community farms and gardens allow trainees to practice these methods in situ, and witness the practices and techniques of permaculture before implementing these methods in their own gardens, allowing for further educational opportunities and agricultural ouputs. These complementary permaculture methods are particularly poignant during the dry seasons and periods of drought, when reliance on maize alone is not sufficient.
In Uganda, Salama SHIELD Foundation staff identify families that are experiencing nutritional risk. We give them chickens (kroilers) that produce eggs which can be eaten or sold in order to purchase milk. In addition, we encourage the building of kitchen gardens where vulnerable families can grow avocado, mango, oranges, and even cassava gardens and sweet potatoes which provide a more durable nutrition source. Training in the building of energy-saving stoves is also a part of our nutrition program, protecting the environment and saving monies in food preparation.
Finally, our goat program is one of our most successful nutritional programs to date. Community members work with SSF team members to identify vulnerable persons or families who require support and who would likely be effective livestock care-takers. These individuals may be single parents or youth/child-headed households. Goats (male and female) create a host of benefits for caretakers, including nutritional support, income generation, and the development of animal husbandry and entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, goats can be bred to double the impact and benefit: their milk can provide nourishment or they can become a business venture, where individual goats and their offspring can be sold. Profits that result from caring for goats can help strengthen food security in the home, payment of school fees, purchase of household items, the payment of medical bills, or clothing and foot-ware purchases.