DIG’s Community Ally Program connects farmers living with physical disabilities to collaborative members of their community. This program supports building empathy within the broader community to break-down stigma and integrate People Living with Physical Disabilities (PLWD) into the social and economic networks they live in.
The program has been able to provide an alternative to intensive, subsistence agriculture for PLWD and creates a safe space for these members of the community to feel socially accepted, economically empowered and physically enabled.
DIG’s pairs PLWD with a caregiver to support the construction of the gardens while also creating a strong support network for these individuals within the wider community.
Not only does each member of DIG’s Nyarushija Disability Group now have a vegetable garden at their home, they have also chosen to continue their group garden for income.
Through their collective sales of carrots, local greens, spinach and cabbages they have raised enough to purchase piglets. Instituting a pass-it-on model, each farmer has now received a piglet that will not only provide manure for their vegetable gardens but will provide some financial security as well.
The group has also started renting land to increase their garden production. They have been able to cover rent through vegetable sales from just two garden beds, leaving the rest of the beds for group profit.
DIG has additionally supported the Nyarushija group to formally register as a community based organization with the Ugandan government. This registration gives them increased opportunities such as applying for select grants from the sub-county which they have successfully done. DIG provided additional training for this group to help members understand basic grant writing and grant management.