Projects and Technologies

Kira Farm Innovations

The long-term goal of Kira Farm Development Centre is to become self-supporting so it no longer has to rely on outside support. We have a number of innovative, creative projects that help fund Kira Farm and provide students with valuable skills for the future.

GRADUATION GOWNS

This is a picture of 3 Kira students wearing graduation gowns from North Devon College

Amigos has secured a contract with a North Devon college to supply gowns for their annual ceremonies, each time the gowns are worn Amigos receives a percentage of the hire fee, thus bringing an income into Kira Farm. The label inside each gown reads: Fulfilling our potential, tailoring our futures.
The impact: A project like this helps Kira Farm cover some of it's ongoing costs, along with other methods such as the trainees growing a large proportion of the food required at the Farm. In this manner the staff and trainees at Kira Farm can contribute in a significant way to the project they are involved with.

SANITARY TOWELS

This is a picture of a pink reusable sanitary towel made by Kira students

Sanitary towels in Uganda cost the equivalent of a whole day's wage. Subsequently, girls are forced to opt for more traditional methods including bark-cloth (a rough plant fibre), toilet paper, and old newspapers. All three methods are unhygienic and expose girls to regular infections, as well as causing odour and discomfort. Above all, they leak and deter many girls from attending school. Kira's Tailoring department is producing reusable sanitary towels that have a lifespan of three years. They are hygienic, comfortable and made from recycled materials.
The impact: Girls live free of infection and can attend school month-round so that they can reach their full potential. Kira saves £300 annually on student supplies. This is an inspirational project and a number of graduates have set up small businesses making and selling sanitary towels.

SOLAR LAMPS

This is a picture of an environmentally friendly solar light

On arrival at Kira every student is given a solar light. Throughout their year at the Farm the trainees learn to appreciate this form of safe, environmentally friendly lighting. On graduation many students set up small businesses selling solar technology which is also a huge benefit to their communities.
The impact: Homes are free from the fire-risk of kerosene lamps, families avoid inhaling toxic fumes, and a significant amount is saved on fuel. Business and homework can carry on in the evenings, after dark, meaning families have more money and children progress faster.

MILKING GOATS

This is a picture of 4 young dairy goats at Kira farm

Our breeding herd of Saanen/Toggenburg dairy goats are great for milk production and provide Kira trainees with a nutritious and cheaper alternative to cow’s milk. On the Farm we are working to break the cultural stigma against this hugely beneficial milk.
The impact: Goats’ milk helps alleviate symptoms associated with stomach ulcers, eczema, respiratory problems and is great for all-round nutrition. As graduates return to their villages they are able to educate their communities on the virtues of this milk.

NATURAL MEDICINE

This is a picture of Artemisia plants growing at Kira farm

In Uganda there is around one doctor for every 20,000 people.  Many of the trainees on Kira Farm come from isolated rural areas, where medicine is either unaffordable or unavailable. At the Farm we grow Artemisia which treats malaria very effectively, and Roselle which reduces blood pressure and hypertension and is a great source of Vitamin C. Comfrey leaves are grown to treat strains and sprains (as well as feed the chickens and goats), and aloe vera plants are used to treat small cuts and minor burns. In classes, students learn how to treat intestinal worms using the seeds of the Paw-Paw, a common fruit.
The impact: Through promoting well-known, verified forms of herbal medicine students can make a difference to the health and well-being of their rural communities. Anyone can grow these plants.

BEEKEEPING

This is a picture of 2 men in beekeeper suits in Uganda

As part of the syllabus at Kira Farm we have an apiary for beekeeping. Hive products provide beekeepers with a source of income, honey, beeswax and a variety of products such as smokeless candles, polish, lip balm and hair gloss. Once set-up costs have been paid off, a beekeeper can expect to earn up to £750 per annum from a ten hive apiary.
The impact: With an increased income beekeepers can feed their family sufficiently, pay school fees, buy medicine and much more. Honey provides nutrition and medicinal benefits such as boosting immune systems and fighting bacteria.

Kira Technologies

At Amigos we’re always looking for simple and creative ways to improve life. The environmentally friendly technologies below are just some of the practical devices the trainees learn about at Kira Farm. When they graduate and return to their villages these young people pass on the knowledge and skills they have acquired.

Water Jars

This is a picture of 10 children collecting clean water from a water jar in Uganda

Water shortage and drought are common in Uganda, so at Kira Farm we use water jars to capture rain water. The jars not only bring extra water to Kira, but the students are trained in building them so they can construct jars in their local communities. Click here for more info.
FACT: Ugandan children often spend a whole day at school without a drink because they don't have access to water. Dehydration affects brainpower - a loss of 2% body fluids causes a 20% reduction in physical and mental performance.

Energy Efficient Stoves

This is a picture of an energy efficient stove used to cook food in Uganda

Uganda is expected to have no trees left by 2050. As the population grows and the rate of deforestation accelerates, the walk for firewood grows further as surrounding village trees are chopped down. At Kira, students are educated about energy-efficient stoves that use far less wood. As they graduate they take their stove-building expertise back to their villages and improve lives.
FACT: Energy efficient stoves use 60 per cent less wood than a traditional three stone fire.

Bio-sand Water Filters

This is a picture of 7 young children stood beside a bio-sand water filter in Uganda

Amigos builds, and provides training in, innovative bio-sand water filters at Kira Farm. Water filters prevent the boiling of drinking water via wood and charcoal, which is adding to the demise of Uganda’s dwindling tree population as well as being a costly way of purifying water. Click here for more info.
FACT: Every day people risk their lives and health by drinking from contaminated sources. Filters result in a nearly 50% reduction in diarrhoea risk.

Tippy Taps

This is a picture of a man washing hands using a hand made tippy tap in Uganda

These taps are a simple, clever, way of raising hygiene levels. The container is tipped to drain water like a tap and by eliminating the need to touch the opening of the container it’s possible to control the spread of bacteria and other nasty bugs. Students at Kira are trained to build tippy taps and develop the essential habit of hand washing. Click here for more on tippy taps.
FACT: Diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation kill more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

Solar Technology

This is a picture of 3 students stood beside a solar panel at Kira farm

Solar technology has been implemented throughout Kira Farm Development Centre. We have a solar water pump/borehole and portable solar lights because of the many power cuts that occur. Each student is given a solar light on arrival at Kira. We are also working on a project to develop solar lamps in rural areas.
FACT: Kerosene lamps often result in fires which burn down houses. They also produce toxic fumes which can lead to cataracts and lung cancer.
 

PICS Bags

This is a pitcure of Ugandan men and women collecting PICS bags to store their harvests safelyPurdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags are a low-cost way of storing harvests and protecting them from infestations such as weevils. A PICS bag consists of two layers of polyethylene bags, which are sealed and therefore airtight. These double bags are then surrounded by a third woven nylon bag to provide strength.
FACT: PICS bags are hugely beneficial to smallholder farmers as they can be easily stored in family homes and used to protect harvests until they reach a high market value, allowing farmers to gain greater profits. Storage also provides communities with food reserves during the post-harvest season.
 

Maize Cob Charcoal

This is a picture of charcoal made from Maize cobs Cob charcoal is easy to make and helps prevent deforestation. With a simple mini kiln and a few hours it's very easy to load the cobs into the kiln, seal it and let it cool for a few hours. Maize cob charcoal burns hot and cleanly.
FACT:
Cob charcoal is free! Most rural households simply throw their maize cobs away, this is a great way to make use of a waste product and save time and money.

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