Needy Ugandans to get free cooked food

Aug 07, 2017

The food bank model started in Egypt where they are feeding about 12m people

A local organization Haba Na Haba Food Bank, has partnered with Egyptian Food Bank to distribute free ready to eat food, to vulnerable people especially the homeless.

The initiative which has been kick started in districts of Mukono and Wakiso, aims at strengthening local communities through reducing food wastage, to feed the most vulnerable Ugandans.

"We are going to be working with different hotels, restaurants and community members, who will be availing us with  surplus food  which they may not be able to consume so that we can give this food to the needy people who don't have what to eat," Jessica Bagenda, one of the directors Haba Na Haba said.

Working with various local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Bagenda noted that Haba Na Haba had asked 50 districts which include Wakiso and Mukono, to identify 50 schools each, which are in dire need for food to feed the children.

Besides the schools, Haba also intends to supply food to hospitals, street children, prisoners, the homeless and the abandoned, who don't have what to eat.

"For one to qualify for our food aid, they must be very vulnerable. We shall have a thorough background check with our partners in those respective areas, we want only the vulnerable people to benefit," Rashid Kisekka, a co-director Haba Na Haba explained.

According to statistics by Haba Na Haba, approximately 15-30% of cooked food in emerging economies is wasted while one in four people are malnourished due to hunger.

"In situations like these, food banking systems like us, capture surplus food and deliver it to the people who need it most, engaging all sectors of society such as governments, business and civil society in the process," Raymond Sseguya another director Haba Na Haba said.

Explaining the model, Dr. Moez El Shohdi from Egyptian Food Bank noted that the food bank model started in Egypt where they are feeding about 12m people.

He noted that the model has since been embraced by countries like Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia among other countries experiencing hunger.

"We don't take left overs, but surplus of what has been served by hotels or homes for the day. A lot of food is wasted in hotels and restaurants. It is this surplus food that we want to take to the needy people," El Shohdi told journalists at Hotel Africana on Sunday during the 5th annual Hotels and Restaurants Expo.

He noted if embraced, the food bank will enable Uganda fight hunger since the would be wasted food, will be delivered to the hungry Ugandans.

In February this year, the country experienced food crisis leaving many homesteads especially in Karamoja region among other parts of the country with no food to eat.

Asked how the y plan to preserve the food collected from hotels and restaurants, El Shohdi noted that the food will be preserved by partner hotels and only be collected on delivery to the targeted beneficiaries.

Being a charity cause, El Shohdi assured that resources to sustain the initiative will be raised from well-wishers and partner civil society organizations, to feed to needy.

The organization targets 1,000 schools in one year, and plans to feed 8,000 pupils in the first year of the project.

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