There are many places in Africa where cows are currency and having a cow named after you is a very high honour. That’s just what’s happened for Alison Hall, founder and driving force behind Seeds for Development. Alison is currently seconded from IBM to StartUK based just up the road. Each trip she makes to Uganda she funds herself, and to make things work practically yours truly house sits looking after Gypsy the Russell terrier, Jelly and Boss the cats and Edwina the chicken (RIP chicken Nugget recently lost to a hungry fox).
Inspired by Josephine Okot‘s work back in 2007, Alison decided to sponsor a Ugandan farmer. Fast forward to 2011 and Alison now runs Seeds for Development supporting over 700 farmers by providing small loans for seeds. When the crop is successful, the loans are repaid and promptly recycled creating a constant cycle of support. Alison has just posted an update on the work done during 2011, and one heck of a read it is including details of Alison’s meeting with 40 teenage mothers and plans by the farmers to set up the brand new ‘Excellent Coffee Company’.
100% of donations to Seeds for Development go to the farmers. Seeds are not expensive, so funds go a long way. For example, £35 pays for bean seeds to cover one acre – the farmer can make over £300 from that acre of beans.
This Christmas, if you are looking for a cause to support, one with local links that makes a solid practical difference to people’s lives then visit the Seeds for Development website and make a donation. And don’t forget to say Hi to Alison from me (the woman that is… not the cow!).