Grace head shot

Nabuduwa Grace Olive Musingo

Ed. Notes- "Privilege" is defined as a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. As you read this interview Grace views education as a right, not a privilege.
I have read Grace's story three times and with each reading I am in wonderment for what devotion to education really means. The steps and challenges she went through to educate herself and then her students forced me to realize how fortunate I was to be born (White) in this country. In retrospect, my eyes weren't opened until I was 55 years old. I took education not only for granted, but as a necessary element in succeeding in my life after school.

I won't bore you with the first 55 years, but concentrate on what has taken place since I joined Jane in founding KIDS.


MEET: Nabuduwa Grace Olive Musingo



I am Nabuduwa Grace Olive Musingo from Uganda, an educator at Ngora Girls Secondary School a rural school where I am also the principal/head teacher.

I have taught for 31 years in various schools mixed schools, single-sex schools, boarding and day schools. I have held various positions over the years in each of the schools. I hold a Master of Education degree, a Bachelor of Education with Arts degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management.

I am a member of iEARN since 2014 and it has reshaped my thinking as an educator to prepare students to solve societal challenges. iEARN has taught me to engage in global collaborative projects and I am grateful to all the iEARN educators

In Teso region, Girl child education is not taken seriously as girls are married off young unable to sustain themselves as they suffer from hunger and poverty.

I am interested in education and hunger issues because of what my mother taught us when we were young as well as the presently prevailing statistics on hunger. I want to be one of the advocates to make the world a better place especially ensuring food security by training young people to develop the interest.

My childhood life was not easy as I experienced domestic violence where my father would beat my mum and we would all run away to sleep outside for fear of our lives. Eventually my mum left the abusive marriage and we went to live with her in her birthplace. Living with a single parent of 5 girls and one boy was not an easy life. In all this suffering, my mother would recall the opportunity of education she missed when her father insisted that she looked after cattle instead of going to school in any case education was not for girls.

Actually, mum told us that she attended school for only 3 days and recalls how good she felt when she was given sweets, sugar and clothing by school administrators as motivation for her to continue going to school. After only three days of being at school, my mum returned home to care for the cattle and do house chores and by this decision to please her father, she lost all opportunities education would have offered her.

Her peers who continued with school eventually graduated as teachers and nurses and were living admirable lives with rich responsible white collar husbands and stable families.

Those stories cast deep thoughts in my heart about the value of education. I made a commitment to myself that given an opportunity, I would study as far as possible to acquire an education for a better life and avoid the quagmire my mother and us were in because of her lack of education. Thank God and despite the challenges, my persistence in education has paid off.

My love for ending hunger is coined in the struggle my mother went through to raise the six of us single-handedly.
In our family, the philosophy was, “No digging. No eating food that day.” Mum would often say a family without enough food is no home. A woman who cannot provide enough food for the family is no woman. She would say gardening feeds and nourishes us who do not have money to buy groceries in the shops.

Through my education, I worked with my mother to raise funds for my education, not only digging at home but for other people get paid to support my education.
I remember one time in primary four, after being given a portion to dig in the morning before going to school, I decided not to dig. On returning from school, I was welcomed with canes and I ran to my aunt, thinking the situation was a bit fairer that side. To my dismay, the digging was even harder that side and I decided to come back home. East West. Home best.

With such mentoring I grew up loving education and gardening to end hunger with all my heart.


Education is a key element in eliminating poverty in Uganda. In my country, with the introduction of UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION (UPE) in 1997, school enrolment increased from 2.5 million in 1996 to 5.3 million 1997 because of the free education, but there was no feeding program for the pupils.

In 2006 it was reported in the news that most of Uganda’s children were and are going to school hungry and 29 percent of those aged under five are stunted due to poor feeding.

Undernourished children are more likely to drop out of school or repeat academic years. An estimated 133,000 Ugandan children per year have to repeat grades. Uganda’s government released a report in 2013 that said, “When the child is undernourished, that child’s brain is less likely to develop at healthy rates, and that child is more likely to have cognitive delays.” Children in poverty have even less of a chance of getting out of poverty if they cannot get an education.

With such statistics and through my experience of digging to get an education, to overcome insurmountable family challenges and to live a decent life, I wanted to make a contribution to the community by sharing my story with my students. I have been encouraging my students to try agriculture in whatever form to help solve their financial obstacles to education and end hunger during their free time.

Most importantly I want to let the students know that they can avoid being part of the above statistics by becoming part of the solution.

Approximately 84 percent of Ugandans live in rural communities and rely on agriculture for food and their livelihoods. It is important to teach students the need to tap into this resource to help them and their parents to farm in order to ensure food security. Just as Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchy of Needs states, you cannot aspire for higher needs if you cannot achieve the basic ones first, which is where food falls. A Hungry person can be an angry person.

Poverty and hunger are intertwined and therefore education should help to solve both. In my teaching I relate classroom instruction to practical activities for students to see the benefits of practical work like the iEARN project of Finding Solutions to Hunger, Poverty and Inequality by teaching the root causes of hunger poverty and inequality
Some of the challenges of hunger and education are universal in nature, but require unique solutions. We can be part of the solution in our small unique ways and make a contribution in our communities.

I teach students to engage in agriculture at school by growing vegetables, to achieve the following:

1. ensure food security - combat hunger and improve nutritional needs.
2. get income from sale of vegetables to acquire basic scholastic materials
3. sale to get money for school fees so that students can learn that agriculture is profitable even at their small level

I also engage girls in clubs like Girls Voices to teach life skills such as digital story telling, communication, teamwork, care for the environment, etc.
I also promote implementation of SDG’s ,especially Goal 2,3, 4 and 12 by the teachers through the curriculum through since joining iEARN’s Finding Solutions to Hunger project.

In my previous school, after listening to one of my student’s challenge of school fees as he was about to have to leave school, I shared with him my experience of raising fees for education through digging personally. The boy quickly took to the idea and I provided some school land for his cow-peas project. The boy was able to pay fees from selling the produce, completing secondary school. He is now training to become a reverend father at a seminary.

Even the girl who won the GreaterGood award, when she joined Ngora Girls Secondary School, I advised her to engage in an activity to raise her school requirements after listening to her story. She began to grow vegetables and sell to teachers; she was able to raise funds for school requirements as I volunteered to pay her fees.

In my previous school, Rubongi Secondary School, with the help of Mary, Brownell, I had gone ahead to provide seeds for students to engage in projects at home to ensure food security and also sale for school requirements. We had also started a school farm to grow maize to provide porridge for the students since the students were studying on an empty stomach from morning to evening.By the time I left, the project had gone for one year and students were growing maize to provide porridge and a snack at school. No sooner had I seen the fruits of that project than I was transferred to the current station.

Why I am passionate about school gardens is because I want to make a positive impact on the students, especially girls. If they don’t acquire the necessary skills for survival, they will find life very difficult as mothers.

Hunger is a real challenge, especially to children. Children do not know about the reasons for the lack of food. They know that they should eat and we need to find means to teach the young ones to end hunger.

This year we had again prepared a large garden for vegetable growing and we had made nursery beds for tomatoes, Sukuma wiki, green paper and planted amaranthus. Incidentally due to Civid 19 lock-down, the schools where closed before we could transplant.
However I have tried to ensure


The biggest challenges for the issues I care most are:

On Ending hunger –
-Weather challenges especially when my students have put in effort and later the dry spell chocks all the crops. Harsh weather has hindered food security, especially in the Teso region where I am working.
- Limited land for gardening, especially at school. Many students wish to grow vegetables, but the school land is small. However we have tried growing using waste bags as pots.
- Another challenge is the animals from the community destroy the crops, especially when the students are on holidays. The few workers at school are not able to keep watch over the students’ vegetable gardens.

On education;
- The challenge of girl child education is poverty of the homesteads. Many girls wish to continue with education, but many parents cannot afford the fees to keep them at school even provide midday meals for them. I feel terribly bad seeing a girl drop out of school, for I remember my mother’s lamentations. If she had attained education, she would have prospered and had a stable marriage and a decent life. When I think of myself, I wonder how my life would have been without an education. I feel so terrified to see girls dropping out of school. I try to support some girls by paying their fees but am unable to cater for all that need help.

What drives me is to see an educated, empowered community, especially of women, taking up their full capacity to contribute to their development and of society at large.

My passion is to support girls so that in turn they can support themselves, their families and the wider community at large. We have this slogan:


The 31 years I have worked, my legacy should be a teacher of passion who taught tirelessly to bring hope to hopeless situation and impacted the youth in small unimaginable ways especially girls. For every student who heeded to the call has lived to tell the story of the greatness of education and the power of food security.
We need young people to know that food is necessary for life, not only food but nutritious food. This food can be obtained by young people engaging in Agriculture and they can make a big difference in their life and that of future generations.

My Legacy

After reading your articles in KIDS I am inspired by the stories of young people making a difference across the globe, I wish to share that learning and knowledge with youth in various schools that we can all be part of the solution to end hunger in the world.

I wish to continue being part of wider team working on SDG 2 and 4 on ending hunger and seriously advocating for girls education as quote by Melinda Gates

“Women and girls should be able to determine their future through education no matter where they are born”

This can be done by the empowering voices of girls sharing their stories of resilience and strength overcoming obstacles to education caused by culture, poverty and hunger

I would wish to start a food bag for our girls, including those in the nearby primary school who are studying without a midday meal so that they can enjoy the journey of education. I would be glad to have this project grow with the support of all those who have the heart to make the world a better place for all.

eliminate hunger

About us

Kids Can Make a Difference is a program of iEARN (International Education and Resource Network), the world's largest non-profit global network. iEARN enables teachers and youth to use the Internet and other technologies to collaborate on projects that enhance learning and make a difference in the world.

Finding Solutions to Poverty & Inequality Alliance:

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