A Milestone to Celebrate ~ DIG Reaches 50% of all Batwa in Uganda

Building trust, confidence, and hope is key to our program’s success; and no where is that more important than with the culturally displaced Batwa of southwest Uganda.

DIG has made a long-term commitment to this uniquely marginalized community. The Batwa have experienced terrible poverty and poor health since their eviction from their ancestral lands in the early 1990s. (Read more about DIG’s work with the Batwa here.)

After four years of engagement, DIG is celebrating having reached half the Batwa population of Uganda. Almost 3000 people are now using our regenerative agriculture model to solve their food security needs.

Mory, a Batwa mother of seven, is one of DIG’s 2020 program graduates. Before DIG, she worked as a day laborer. “It was very hard work and I was often paid in potatoes,” says Mory. For other produce she would have to beg.

For the first time ever, Mory is growing her own vegetable garden. She’s eating and sometimes selling diverse produce such as beets, swiss chard, onions and other crops. Mory’s land is very small, so much of her garden is contained in old rice sacks positioned around her home. “I never considered farming,” says Mory. “I was surprised to see how much I could grow on the little land I have.”

On average, DIG’s Batwa graduates are growing six or more types of vegetables in their small farms, which is a big change since many weren’t growing anything at all before the program.

In addition to the health benefits of eating nutritious produce, a diverse farm means the Batwa can better withstand weather disruptions, and pest and disease damage, making them more resilient farmers overall. It also opens up new market opportunities for improved livelihoods.

Many DIG graduated have started small businesses with the income generated from their farms. They include:

  • Vegetable Sales
  • Sheep, Pig, and Rabbit Rearing and
  • Basket Weaving

For the Batwa, gardens are an invaluable starting point. In most cases, available land is very limited, so that growing a reliable surplus for income is challenging,” says Sarah Koch, DIG’s Executive Director. “The gardens go a long way towards solving household food insecurity while diversifying diets, and they unlock a mindset for creative growth. It’s the community collaborations that I find most exciting.”

Time and again, DIG graduates are teaching their neighbors, thus elevating the whole community. As a group, they are having a big impact on the local food system.

DIG is celebrating our third year in Southwestern Uganda. In that time, we’ve adapted our model to work with almost half the Ugandan population of displaced Batwa and 314 People Living with Disabilities. We’ve built critical trust in both communities which has helped seed the measurable impact we’ve had in this time.

DIG’s work in Uganda represents some of our most creative and unique, it’s also arguably serving our most vulnerable populations.

The challenges facing the Batwa and People Living with Disabilities are complex and systemic. Added to this, the rocky soils, steep landscape, isolation, and extreme- poverty make success here difficult.

We are proud to report that close to 5000 people living with physical disabilities and Batwa community members have benefitted from DIG’s growth in Southwestern Uganda since 2017. And, as our studies show, for every one farmer DIG trains, they go on to train roughly 3 more people in their communities. With that level of organic growth, we are beginning to see what a self-scaling program can mean for the broader community.

2020 Highlights

60,000 seedlings were grown in 16 demonstration gardens.

The seedlings were transplanted into individual homes and community gardens bolstering resilience and farmer capacity during Covid19

17 different varieties of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables were introduced to our farmers through their demonstration gardens.

The wide varieties encourages both dietary diversity and helps farmer explore market potential.

Program Graduates are now growing 6+ more types of vegetables in their home gardens.

Meaning farmers can better withstand climate disruptions and pests and disease damage. Equally, they are able to improve their family’s nutrition and meet new market opportunities.

Registered 9 groups with the government.

Registered groups are able to access government funding to invest in their own development projects.

Looking forward to 2021


In 2021, DIG will be working closely with 20+ groups in the region, prioritizing the displaced Batwa, People Living with Disabilities and People Living with HIV/AIDS.


We will undertake an extensive Impact Evaluation measuring the short and long-term impact DIG’s program has had on six cohorts of farmers.

Connecting Culture and Food

We are also seeking to deepen our work with the Batwa by documenting and promoting traditional agro-ecological cultivation of indigenous forest foods. Having solved their immediate food challenges, we believe now is the time to create a program that celebrates their culture through food.