MADI OKOLLO. Adraa Agriculture College (AAC) on Friday graduated at least 125 students after undergoing 6 weeks practical field training in the four different product enterprises

They include; apiculture, horticulture, piggery and poultry farming as a business.

In a bid to seek God’s guidance and sense of direction as the students exit the college, the ceremony was preceded by a lively liturgical celebration presided over by Rev. Fr. Michael Citia, the Curate of Parombo Catholic parish who urged the excited students to create positive impacts and be agents of change in their various communities.

“I urge you to create positive impacts in your communities and not to make your superiors regret why they sent you for the training,” he stressed.

The training made possible with funding from the Hilton Foundation in partnership with the Association of the Religious in Uganda (ARU) to the tune of Ugx 187, 500,000 sought to provide the beneficiaries that comprised of about 50% nuns and 50% young lay men and women with practical skills for Sustainable Agriculture for Rural Development (SARD).

Br Charles Lagu, the principal of AAC underscored the indicators of human development indicators which the government of Uganda and other development partners all seek to address.

According Br. Lagu, millions of our rural communities who derive their livelihoods from the environment are still captives to poverty.

“We need to be free from ignorance which obstructs us from achieving mental freedom. Lack of knowledge of something impairs the human ability to do better and if you are empowered with appropriate skills and knowledge, you will change your own lives and be able to change many other lives, we need that knowledge”, he said.

Br. Charles tasked the students to use the skills they have acquired to cause positive change and attain freedom from ignorance, servitude and social evils.

The principal also made a passionate appeal to the local government to support the college in its efforts and proposal to introduce aqua-culture to provide alternative sources to protein in families and make money.

“As Adraa Agriculture College, we are well stationed because we have a permanent flowing river which we could use to establish fish farming but we lack the resources to acquire the necessary equipment and we do this without compromising the water quality and the riparian zones at large,” he appealed.

He further revealed the institution’s plan to introduce longer courses come 2022 as discussions with the relevant ministries of government are already in advanced stages.

Mr Martin Orochi, the Madi Okollo Resident District Commissioner (RDC) who presided over the pass out applauded and congratulated the students upon the successful completion of their studies and urged them to be humble and productive with the knowledge they have acquired.

He cautioned the students against greed which he said causes people to keep their skills for themselves and that, according to him, robs our society of the expected multiplier effects.

Mr. MartinOMr. Martin Orochi hands over a certificate to one for the students

“If you use your education to go and exploit the community out there, then your education is going to be wasted because we need to promote one another so that the skills you have acquired are translated into a better community”, he warned.

Sr Angela Limiyo, 62, course leader and a poultry farming student said during the side-line of the event that it has been a great moment at Adraa and expressed optimism that the imparted skills will go a long way to improve the living conditions of the graduates since they have been practically trained.

“We are so grateful to AAC for changing our lives because we are going back to do what we were unable to do before the training”, she said.

According to Sr. Angela, she came to understand the soil better in the course of the training and learnt how best the mother earth can be protected from degradation.

Established in 2012, AAC seeks to prioritize the marginalized in their struggles to liberate themselves and care for the mother earth with specific focus on promotion of effective sustainable agriculture for rural development and visible multiplier effects.

Students Adraa 2A section of the students pose for a photo with their certificates. ALL PHOTOS BY BRUNO MANANO.