Emmanuel Ssempiira

Emmanuel Ssempiira 2012ARI Name:           Emma
at ARI:                   2012
Country:               Uganda
Home:                   Masaka
Organizations:  St. Patrick Centre for Integral Development (SPACID)
Position:              Farm Manager and Trainer
Work area:          Kyangwali Refugee Settlement

“Now I’m back and I’m working. I’m happy because I’m trying to teach people – my people.”


Emma is the farm manager and trainer at the St. Patrick’s Centre for Integral Development. As he describes it, he is in charge of everything – from taking care of the animals and gardens to getting people to the hospital to heating up the tea water for guests. The center keeps abundant livestock, including cows, goats, donkeys, rabbits, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, chickens, ducks, and fish. Emma’s real pride, though, is the gardens where he raises cassava, beans, groundnuts, cabbage, tomatoes, and many more. Practices he brought from ARI include crop rotation, intercropping, compost making, fermented plant juice, water soluble calcium/phosphorus (WCaP).


The center is located on the Kyangwali refugee settlement site and its sole purpose is to serve the refugees. Unlike a camp or transit center, the refugees in this location are provided small pieces of land by the government on which they can build a house and raise their own food. Emma’s first step after returning home from ARI was to build a kindergarten for orphans using mud bricks. Before that the children gathered for school under a big tree. Saturdays he works with a women’s group of 14 members teaching about sanitation and how to improve their kitchen gardens. He loves making organic fertilizers such as bokashi, leaf compost, and indigenous micro-organisms and teaching the refugees about these. “They say, ‘Eh you man, how do you know these things? Is it to work?’ and I say ‘Yah, it’s work.’ ‘How do you take the leaf and make it good soil compost?’ ‘You try and see.’ Then they do try and say, ‘Eh, you man, this is nice.’ They think I’m very clever, and me, I laugh. They say, ‘How do you make that kind of grass mixed with sugar to make WCaP? Emma, maybe you are witch doctor.’ I say, ‘No, it’s not a witch doctor. We can make together.’”