Cultivating Hope: The SowHope Project Empowers Refugees and host communities in Adjumani District

Refugee, Adjumani District, Uganda – In a significant stride towards food security and self-sufficiency, The Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF) recently conducted a transformative two-day training program under the “SowHope Project: Sustainable Agriculture for Refugee Empowerment and Food Security.” This initiative is support by the UNHCR under Refugee Led Innovation Fund (RLIF), aims to address the critical issues of food scarcity and dependency in Uganda’s refugee settlements.

Addressing Urgent Challenges

The training sessions took place at YEF’s head office in Pagirinya Refugee Settlement and Maaji One Refugee Settlement, bringing together 100 smallholder farmers (SHF), including refugee women, young mothers, and youths from both the refugee and host communities.  This train is facilitated by expert from Taset, these sessions focused on mindset change and equipping participants with sustainable agricultural practices.

Uganda’s refugee settlements of Pagirinya and Maaji have long struggled with food scarcity and an overreliance on external aid. This dependency has led to reduced food rations, undermining the nutrition and overall health of both refugees and their host communities. The reliance on external assistance not only limits the refugees’ autonomy but also perpetuates a cycle of dependency, making it crucial to find sustainable solutions.

Innovative Agricultural Solutions (IAS)

The SowHope Project introduces innovative farming techniques such as vertical farming, backyard gardening, organic farming, and climate-smart practices. These methods are designed to empower refugees to produce their own food sustainably, thereby enhancing their autonomy and resilience.

Vertical Farming: Utilizing limited space efficiently to grow crops in vertically stacked layers.
Backyard Gardening: Encouraging families to cultivate small gardens at home, ensuring a steady supply of fresh vegetables.
Organic Farming: Promoting natural farming practices that protect the environment and improve soil health.
Climate-Smart Practices: Implementing agricultural techniques that are resilient to climate change and promote environmental sustainability.

Transformative Impact

The expected outcomes of the SowHope Project are profound. By empowering forcibly displaced people and host community members with sustainable agriculture skills, the project aims to achieve several key objectives:

Food Security: Ensuring a reliable supply of nutritious food.
Economic Self-Sufficiency: Enabling participants to generate income through agricultural activities.
Harmonious Coexistence: Fostering positive relationships between refugees and host communities through shared agricultural initiatives.
Building a Sustainable Future

This project is more than just an agricultural training program; it’s a comprehensive effort to build a sustainable future for refugees and their host communities. By reducing dependency on external aid, the SowHope Project helps refugees take control of their lives, contributing to social stability and resilience against climate change.

A Call to Action

As we embark on this year-long journey, we invite everyone to follow our progress and support our efforts. Together, we can cultivate hope and resilience in Adjumani District, setting a powerful example of what sustainable agriculture can achieve.

Stay connected with YEF and the SowHope Project as we work towards a brighter, self-sufficient future for all. Visit our website and follow our social media channels for regular updates.

Youth Empowerment Foundation-YEF-Adjumani is a community youth-led Media organization founded at Pagirinya Refugee Settlement in 2017 to support peacebuilding, promote gender equality, ignite creativity and innovation through media advocacy, mentorship, and ICT-based learning.

Our Vision: A transformed, empowered, and skilled refugees and host communities of Adjumani with young people who are self reliant and Resilient.
Our Mission: To mobilise and support young people in refugees and host communities through skills training, cultural transformation, and information sharing through Open source technologies.

The Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF) is dedicated to empowering young people and fostering sustainable development in communities. Through innovative projects like SowHope, YEF strives to create lasting change and improve the lives of the most vulnerable.

For more information, please contact:
Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF)

#SowHopeProject #SustainableAgriculture #FoodSecurity #RefugeeEmpowerment #ClimateSmartFarming #YEF #UNHCRRecognition

Job Vacancy

Are you passionate about serving your community, especially in supporting refugee? if so, The Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF) Looking for individuals like you to volunteer with us in Sow Hope project: Sustainable Agriculture for Refugee Empowerment and Food Security in Adjumani District, Uganda. If this opportunity resonates with you, please send your CV and motivation letter to

Admin Assistant

Field Officer

Project Coordinator



What the Youth Calendar 2023 should look like!

By Bazio Doreen

Whether you started this year on a good note or a bad one, the year will roll and you will be expected to live life as it comes. Whether you started this year in a church or a holy ground OR in the bar celebrating your milestones as you watch fireworks; the days of the year will remain the same. On the 365th day later this year, what will matter is how you faced the challenges that you encountered. But be sure not to be the one that will have no achievement to celebrate! So how then can you ensure that you won’t be among those grumbling?

Learn a skill

The list of skills this life offers is insatiable, you just have to choose which one will be the most relevant to you. But do remember to make the right choice because all skills are indeed very important. Don’t do it for your friends, for competition, to show off, or for status updates. Do it because you have a passion to grow and want your life to have meaning. There are a number of sites and platforms online for all sorts of art and skills – you just have to be curious enough.

Hard work as a priority

Make your academic or career journey more than just a ritual; let it be the reason why you wake up every morning and want to keep safe. Let your graduation be more than an opportunity to take pictures for your ‘haters’. Career people and business gurus have one thing in common, they all love what they do and it fulfills them.

Discover your talent

We are told that we were all made in the image of God. If God is so talented, why then can’t we be? You must aspire to be an inspiration in your life. Sometimes, we think talent is what attracts attention and brings in money and yet talent could simply be defined as what you can do better than others. In an era where specialization is becoming a norm, strive to be among the ‘crème de la crème’. Unless of course, you don’t have ten fingers and ten toes in addition to a brain that works 24 hours like the rest. Whatever happened the phrase disability is not inability. Always remember that we are all equal in the eyes of God and society. The only difference between all human beings is their belief in themselves to grab opportunities. Be the one that tries!


Show me the people around you and I could guess your character. Your network could be your net worth. But only if you make the effort to transition it. If your network can’t make you grow, it is about time you cut it off or it will be the reason you will always be compared to your mates who will appear to be better. Of course, your opinion of self-worth is important, but let it be one that always ends in praise.


There is always a blessing in serving others. It may even be in the simplest form of helping those around you. Don’t be the one that always grumbles about how your leader or the government isn’t doing enough. Do your part in making a contribution to nation-building. Not that positive criticism is a crime, but don’t be like the bad workman who constantly blames his tools. Contribute as much as you criticize.


One of the best lessons I have learned in life is not to exaggerate my self-worth. Always reflect and have an improvement plan. Even the bible guides us that we should slow to anger. Emotional intelligence and maturity are virtues that need to be learned early in life for a long peaceful life. While people underrate peace of mind, it contributes a lot to the outlook people have on life and determines their attitude towards the challenges that come along. All the men of God were quick to make revelations of how this year is going to turn out. But I bet they didn’t show you how your life will turn out this year. The simple reason is that heaven has no seats for lazy people and God would want those that know the stretch of his power not to stretch it in the name of faith.







Enticing Refugee Girls into ICT

By Bazio Doreen

“To create a more diverse and inclusive tech world, we need to inspire and empower the next generation of female role models to pursue and develop their careers in technology and become innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs. It’s a process and it’s not always straightforward. It takes time, action, and support. Join us on a mission! Together we can make a difference. Anna Radulovski, Founder & CEO at WomenTech Network

This year, Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF), will be on a mission to make a difference. And hey, it won’t be one of those ordinary ones that you are used to seeing us do. First, we had to add more females to the team. This year we are going to be deliberate about encouraging girls to embrace Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and we plan to be deliberate about it.

For over five years, we have organized training in and held but none has yielded our dream of having more girls embrace not just ICT but the unstoppable digital transformation. Here are some of the interventions we will be undertaking with our various partners:

Just like many other countries, Uganda has made a deliberate effort to encourage ICT in schools through various ways including making it one of the subjects at the advanced school level. Similarly, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and its various partners have done the same for refugees and the communities that host them. Refugees can use technology to overcome the obstacles that accompany forced displacement. But that is only possible when they have access and the required knowledge.


For this reason, we will be investigating the reasons behind the lower participation rates of girls and women in information and communication technologies (ICT), both academically and professionally. Although gender differences are believed to be one of the main causes, it is difficult to say that all girls face the same challenges. We will be fact-finding the reasons why the refugee girls especially in Adjumani (Uganda)’s refugee settlements have challenges in embracing ICT and trying to break the barriers that exist. Some of these challenges have already been highlighted by UNHCR.

Capacity building

Under the #ICT4Bint campaign, this year, we will allocate more slots to girls in all our capacity-building and empowerment programs. We also plan to extend our #DigitalTechBootCamps to schools targeting mainly girls. Indeed, being deliberate for change would mean that the ‘mountain moves to Muhammed’.

Mindset change

In a world where technology is viewed as ‘male’; it is about time parents, teachers and the girls themselves change their attitude towards the digital transformation. While it is evident that there are few role models that girls can look up to; it is also true that many girls are generally discouraged from sciences right from their infant stage. It is time to share success stories to influence and role models to mentor. For refugee girls, the mindset biases are not only in their schools and homes but also in their culture dictating that at a certain age, they are ripe for marriage. The discussion on child marriages is not just about the greed of parents for dowry but also that no parent would be interested to invest in someone that they look forward to ‘exchanging for cows’. Maybe it is time refugee women leaders took on this noble role as well.


This April as we look forward to celebrating Girls in ICT Day, we hope that through our #ICT4Bint campaign, with partners we will make this year one for celebrating all the girls who go against all barriers, who challenge gender stereotypes, and who are actively championing for their equality. And also, because in the 21st century, we need more girls to find innovative solutions to the world´s problems, we will be waiting for you to join us on this mission.



The First Refugee Architecture Library In Uganda

By Bazio Doreen

We receive visitors from Berlin every year. But the 2022 February visit of one of the co-founders of, the organization that has been partnering with us for over 5 years to improve the livelihood of refugee youth, was not just one of interacting and sharing chocolates. Not that we didn’t do that. But there was something more that we received; about 100 books to start the #PAGarchLib.

It is one thing to be an Architect; it is another thing to donate books to people you barely know but connects with. Indeed, Steven Kovats, a Canadian Architect, and Digital Media Specialist, always make sure to make new friends during every visit. With this donation, it would be fair to say that r0g Agency for Open Culture and Transformation has enabled Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF) to make such a great impression on the refugee youth in Pagirinya Refugee Settlement and this will go on for a very long time.


Pagirinya Architecture Library now serves a population of about ……with …..visits every month. Many of the visitors are students and teachers from the nearby Pagirinya Secondary School who may years to come use the knowledge acquired in the books to change the face of architecture not just in Uganda but South Sudan for those that will return to their home country.

According to Opira Jonathan, a student at the school and an upcoming fine artist, the school lacks a well-furbished school library and barely has any books about architecture.

“I feel this is a great place for us, we’ve been looking for books like this that can broaden our scope of work. I will use this opportunity to integrate this knowledge into our classroom activities by involving learners to do imaginative sketching of structures. This can just be done with simple tools like pencils, tracing papers, and rulers.” Opira Jonathan reveals.


However, this vision has now not only crossed the borders of Pagirinya but attracted partnerships. Among the notable ones are the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), and the Local Government.

Mr. Vitali Musloushi, the Senior Protection Associate, says that UNHCR will lobby for funds to sustain and improve the Library with the belief that it will help support refugees to become creative and develop knowledge and skills that can contribute to alleviating the biting youth unemployment.

On the other hand, Mr. Ondoga James has also pledged support to the innovation and requested YEF to encourage the host communities around the settlement also benefit from the project.

About the Library.

Launched in February 2022, Pagirinya Architecture Library (#PAGarchLib) is located at Pagirinya Satellite which is a youth space that was constructed by Youth Empowerment Foundation with financial support from r0g. The main objective of the library is to provide young people with resource access, get inspiration, and ideas on architecture, art, photography, and media documentation to create responsive building prototypes to solve local challenges of the communities and build houses in which they can happily live in and making these prototypes open-sourced for easy collaboration via media platform- GitHub.

Below is a gallery for the Launch event: 


Fighting Online Fraud Against Refugees In Adjumani.

By Bazio Doreen

A wise man once said that ‘Curiosity pulls people into scams’. When Frank Stallone coined the phrase, he didn’t know that in many years to come, advances in technology would indeed drive curiosity while making many online users vulnerable to scams because of the enticing false promises that come along. One such vulnerable group because of the nature of the life they find themselves in; are the refugees living in Uganda’s various camps and settlements.

In efforts to save many youths from such scams due to widespread unemployment, Youth Empowerment Foundation, Adjumani (YEF) will be conducting a series of training not only about fraud but how to use the internet safely in a constructive way. To complement the seasonal Digital Boot Camps where we teach young people basic ICT skills, YEF conducted 5 days of training on how to stay safe from online fraud.

Here are some of the testimonies from participants who attended the first session that ran from 28th November 2022 to 2nd December 2022:


Pagirinya Architecture Library (PAGarchLib), Adjumani-Uganda

The Pagirinya Architecture Library (PAGarchLib) in Pagirinya refugee settlement, AdjumaniUganda was launched on Feb, 19th 2022 at the YEF satellite community space attended by over fifty (50) people, present at the launch were the UNHCR local representative, the community leaders, politicians, refugee youth, and students from Pagirinya secondary school.

The over 80+ Architecture, arts, and photography books were donated by Stephen Kovats and friends from Germany to help improve the architectural knowledge of the young people in the Pagirinya refugee settlement and beyond. The Library serves as a resource center for young people to access knowledge, get inspiration, ideas, and resources on architecture, art, photography, and media documentation.

Beneficiaries of this library include art teachers and students from Pagirinya secondary school and other out-of-school community members who are grasping concepts and incorporating their skills into architecture through free-hand sketching of prototypes using simple tools such as pencils, rulers, tracing papers, and cutter.

Ira and Kovats taking inventory count for the books

The main objective of the Pagirinya Architecture Library (PAGarchLib) is to provide young people with resource access, get inspiration, and ideas on architecture, art, photography, and media documentation to create responsive building prototypes to solve local challenges of the communities, and build houses in which they can happily live in and making these prototypes open-sourced for easy collaboration via media platform- GitHub.

Vitali Musloushi, UNHCR-Pakele representative at the Library launch

On behalf of UNHCR-Uganda, Mr. Vitali applauded YEF and r0g agency for open culture and critical transformation for such an innovative approach to eradicating community challenges, he says the library will support the young refugees to be creative and develop their skills through reading works of other successful people in the industry. He added that the project will help fill the knowledge gap since the young people can come together and develop ideas the world so desperately needs and contribute to the development of the community and that UNHCR will try to lobby support for this kind of initiative. He appealed to the refugee Youth and the host community to take advantage of the Architecture library and the training space to enhance their skills for employment and entrepreneurship.

Hon. Ondoga, the Youthful Local council chairman of the Dzaipi sub-county in which Pagirinya refugee settlement is situated was one of the guests who graced the PAGarchLib launch. He too was amazed at the idea of creating such a unique library to inspire young people to be proactive in the community. He stated that for a community or a country to develop, it needs to have creative and impact-oriented young people. He rallied youth to make the best use of the library to gain the extra knowledge and inspiration that they would never get within the area. He appealed for the services to be open to the youth from the host community so that their talents are tapped for positive community impact and peaceful coexistence. He promised to cooperate with YEF for the necessary support to ensure the success of the project.

Hon. Ondoga James

“I feel this is a great place for us, we’ve been looking for books like this that can broaden our scope of work. I will use this opportunity to integrate this knowledge into our classroom activities by involving learners to do imaginative sketching of structures. This can just be done with simple tools like pencils, tracing papers, and rulers. The school currently has no established library to find good books like this. The architecture library is a perfect place for me and the students to meet probably on weekends to extend our learning. We appreciate
YEF for this kind of initiative”.

“I give my sincere thanks to YEF for inviting us here, it’s an amazing opportunity for me. I didn’t know such things existed here, now with the concepts, I’m getting from the books, I can do many things with my art skills. I currently use it only for branding Tshirts and signposts, but I now have the idea to use it for architecture as well. The books are full of pictorial illustrations and easy to understand. I will invite my friends I work with to also come here and gain some knowledge”. Opira Jonathan, a design artist in Pagirinya refugee settlement.

YEF podcasting

Training workshop for audio story telling

Training workshop for audio story telling at our sattelite hub in Pagirinya Refugee Settlement. This program is equipping Refugees Youth with media skills to produce and publish stories. The podcasts will help raise unheard voices about issues affecting refugeesThe training is being conducted by #RomeoUnder #ASKnet Project supported by _r0g / agency for open culture and critical transformation with funding from German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)#Storytelling#Refugeevoices

capacity development

Leadership capacity Development

Four days in-person Hub development/capacity building workshop conducted by _r0g / agency for open culture and critical transformation to help grow the organization and manage it’s affairs better to realise the strategic vision.We were also checked on by the settlement LEADERSHIP led by the commandant representing office of the Prime Minister. BUILDING A TRANSFORMED AND SKILLED REFUGEES AND HOST COMMUNITIES IN ADJUMANI WITH SELF-RELIANT AND RESILIENT YOUNG PEOPLE.

May be an image of 1 pirate an' indoor
Digital Tech Bootcamp

Digital Tech Boot camp

Today we had a training session conducted by a top web developer in Uganda KasiryeLabs a consultant with Publicity House Uganda.The three-days training will further equip the participants of the Digital Tech Boot camp to have employable skills and develop a platform to accelerate access to information among/about refugees community. Project: #ASKnet Access to skills and knowledge network Supported by: _r0g / agency for open culture and critical transformation Funded by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

KasiryeLabs web development expert, a consultant at Publicity House continues to help the trainees build a website to create and publish contents about the refugees aimed at accelerating access to information.