By Monique Mededode Sognigbe

For a long time, volunteerism has been something I have engaged in regularly. I like doing things that will result in positive changes in the lives of those I help. My motivation to volunteer is based on the notion, “the more you give, the more you receive,”. This is why I have been involved in a number of community transformation and entrepreneurship initiatives.

Being a Mastercard Foundation sponsored student through the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), has offered me with opportunities to engage in a number of community services. For instance, I participated in a cooking programme for mothers and caregivers while volunteering at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital. The purpose of the initiative was to impart knowledge to mothers on the best, affordable and nutritious foods that they can give to their children to facilitate proper growth.

The attachment programme offered an experiential engagement platform for both students and the community and turned out to be a great chance of giving back. As a final year graduate student in Food Security and Community Nutrition, I am also a volunteer teaching assistant at the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, where I teach a course unit titled “Food Handling and Storage Technologies”. The course introduces the students to the fundamental principles of food and crop handling and storage.

Back to what I have been doing during this prolonged stay at home, I started a small-scale goat farming business in Benin where I come from. The project is being managed by my parents.

I am also currently undertaking a number of online courses, including one on Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness at the African Management Institute and Environmental Assessment of policies and project development at the Institute of the Francophonie for Sustainable Development.

Soon, I plan to launch a Facebook page where I will be sharing tips on health, wellbeing, nutrition and the underutilised benefits of African legumes and vegetables.

I thank RUFORUM, the Mastercard Foundation and Gulu University for giving me the opportunity to be part of the TAGDev project.

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