Sustain for Life Wins 2013 SEED Award

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Sustain for Life Wins 2013 SEED Award
03 Dec 2013

Nairobi, 31 October 2013. Sustain for Life’s Hospital Gardens enterprise is a winner of the 2013 SEED Award – one of 34 winners selected by SEED International Jury from nearly 500 applicants from 85 countries.

Winners were announced this evening at the 2013 SEED International Awards Ceremony held at the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Kenya hosted by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as part of the Global South-South Development Expo an international forum showcasing successful Southern-grown solutions to address the Millennium Development Goals.

The annual international SEED Awards, which is part of the SEED Initiative, recognise inspiring social and environmental entrepreneurs whose grassroots businesses in developing countries can help to meet sustainable development challenges.

The SEED Initiative – hosted at the UN Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) – is a global partnership for action on the Green Economy. By helping entrepreneurs to scale-up their activities, the SEED Initiative aims to boost local economies, tackle poverty and improve livelihoods, while promoting the sustainable use of resources and ecosystems.

The Hospital Gardens – Growing a Sustainable Future enterprise is a partnership between Sustain for Life and two hospitals in Western Uganda, Bwindi Community Hospital and St Francis Hospital Mutolere in Kisoro with the aim of improving health, well-being, and livelihoods through sustainable agriculture.

The enterprise provides sufficient nutritious, fresh food to feed both patients and hospital staff, while teaching marginalised communities important agricultural skills – enabling them to become self-sufficient and self-reliant and to ultimately provide a sustainable solution to combat hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition, poverty, and disease.

Each of the partner hospitals has provided 10 acres of arable land adjacent to their health facilities to be used for the purpose of growing vegetables and training community members in sustainable farming. The trainees, the majority of whom are women, are also educated in income generation, basic nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, and low-cost technologies. Each participant is supported to replicate learnt technologies in their individual communities.

The Results to Date 

  • Over 3000 hospital patients and 274 staff have received vegetables grown through the enterprise
  • Surplus produce (over 20,000kg) has been sold to tourist camps and other outlets
  • The enterprise has improved health and morale of hospital patients, staff and community and has reduced malnutrition in children
  • 190 community members, including six head teachers of local schools, have now been trained in sustainable agriculture
  • One Batwa pygmy settlement of 200 people is now growing vegetables for consumption within their own community
  • 540 community members (majority women) have benefited through receiving wages for causal labour
  • Over 50 hospital staff have set up individual plots near their homes

Sustain for Life plans to build on the successes of the enterprise by scaling up the model across more hospitals, institutions and communities in Uganda. The enterprise was founded on Sustain for Life’s premise that social and health gains are realised through economic security brought to communities by providing the most vulnerable and impoverished people with skills to improve their productivity.

We are absolutely delighted to receive a 2013 SEED Award. Our hospital gardens initiative demonstrates the potential for sustainable development with social, environmental and financial benefits and shows what can be achieved when partner organisations and local communities all pull in the same direction towards a common goal. Where there is a will, there is a way and this award helps to validate the efforts of all concerned while offering encouragement to others to achieve something similar elsewhere.” – Massimo Gini