Creating a School Garden: Service Learning in Uganda

Type of Travel: 
Global Resource Systems, ABE, NREM
Departure Date: 
Monday, May 28, 2018 to Friday, July 13, 2018
Application Deadline: 
Thursday, November 30, 2017


This service learning program allows Iowa State University (ISU) students to work in Uganda developing school gardens for elementary schools in the Kamuli District.  This project is in partnership with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Program (CSRL) and Makerere University (MAK).  Students will develop school gardens and work with teachers in grades 1-7 to deliver curricula in food and agriculture, integrated science, and nutrition, while using the gardens.  Students will participate in one or more student-team projects that support the overall goals of the school gardening program.  ISU students will work with CSRL staff in Uganda, ISU faculty and with students and faculty from MAK. 

Students will spend the spring semester in GLOBE 495UG, which meets Wednesdays from 5:10-6:30, researching Uganda, school gardens, and development models, as well as creating plans for their team projects.  Students will travel to Uganda to work with the schools and implement their bi-national team projects during the summer.  While in Uganda, students live at an ISU facility and are expected to follow the program’s code of conduct and housing agreements.

During fall semester and when back on ISU campus, students will participate in GLOBE 490Z, which meets Wednesdays from 5:10-6:30; students will reflect on their experience, complete reports on their team projects, and present their final reports to donors, partners, and stakeholders through poster presentations and a university wide seminar. 

See program brochure here

Informational Meeting

Thursday, October 26, 2017
3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Ensminger Room, Kildee Hall

Courses:  GLOBE 495 (1 credit), Spring semester; GLOBE 494A, Section UG (4 credits), Summer session; GLOBE 490Z, Section UG (1 credit) Fall semester.  Once students have been selected, and have committed to the program, they will receive information regarding course registration.

Program Fee
$1,875  (includes all program expenses including airfare, lodging, all in-country transportation, meals, emergency travelers insurance, and instruction)

Out of Pocket Expenses
$135 Passport*
$100-$800  immunizations (varies based on what you already have)
$100 visa (paid upon arrival at the Entebbe airport)
$100/week incidentals (some meals, souvenirs, calling cards, etc.)

Tuition and Fees (4 ISU credits)
$1,208 ISU tuition (estimated)
$235 ISU fees
$105 study abroad administrative fee charged by the university-wide Study Abroad Center

*If you are a first time traveler in CALS and need a passport, click here to find out how you can get the cost of your passport reimbursed

**Program fee, tuition and fees, and the $105 administrative fee will be applied directly to your U-bill in April 2018.

Program Prerequisites
Students are required to have previous experience developing and completing an independent project.
Preference will be given to students who:

  • are majors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,
  • are not graduating seniors since they will be required to summarize and report about their program experiences in the upcoming academic year, especially fall semester, and
  • demonstrate potential for capabilities while in Uganda.


Funds provided by donors to support this program are intended primarily for students majoring in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).  All Iowa State University undergraduate students are welcome to apply, but preference will be given to students majoring in CALS.

Criteria for selection (skills and additional requirements)
Students must be in good academic standing.  Students must be able to tolerate a variety of living conditions including but not limited to limited access to running water and electricity, heat and humidity, physical labor of working in a garden or agricultural field, and working with people of diverse backgrounds to create a productive team.

Due to the nature of the project and the fact that students will be working directly with primary school students, a background check will be required of all applicants and acceptance to the program is conditional upon approval from this background check.

Travel itinerary
The group will fly into Entebbe, spend 2-3 days in the capital Kampala, or elsewhere, meeting their partners from Makerere University and participating in orientation.

On day 4, the students will travel from Kampala to the Kamuli District (about 3 hours north of the capital). The students will spend the next approximately 3 weeks living in rural Kamuli District, spending each day working on their internship projects and working at the schools in the school gardens and teaching agriculture, nutrition or science classes under direction of the local teachers.  Daily activities will vary as each student has different projects. There will be planned group excursions during a weekend(s).

The final 4 days of the program, students will return to Kampala for a debriefing and wrap-up session before leaving Uganda which includes a presentation at Makerere University.

What is the history of the program?
It has been held every year since 2006 and was developed in 2005.  We have a strong relationship with the ISU, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods that has significant programming in Uganda. Faculty and students from Makerere University in Uganda are part of our team, as are members of the Iowa State University - Uganda Program.

When does the course meet?
GLOBE 495 will meet one time per week for a 2-hour session in spring semester.  The 494 course will meet during the summer session in Uganda for about 6 weeks. The Fall 490 course will meet in fall semester for about 1.5 hours/week.

What are some basic details about the course's trip to Uganda?

  • Our bi-national group lives and works in a rural district – the Kamuli District, in Uganda. Typically, we live in a "compound" and the men live in one house and the women in another house.
  • Our activities at local primary schools (elementary grades 1 – 7) include assisting in the teaching of agriculture subjects (and sometimes sanitation and health and science), developing and working in the school garden demonstration and food plots, and the completion of a bi-national team project, with findings that will benefit school children or the school garden program, with your team of ISU and Makerere University students. We usually work with pupils in grades 5 – 7.
  • Possible visit to other regional districts to see improved rural livelihoods and agricultural operations of small- -scale farmers growing tropical crops (bananas, coffee, mangoes, avocado, pineapple, oranges, ornamentals, and vegetables), or producing livestock.
  • A weekend excursion to a local site of interest – volcanic mountain region or a national wildlife park.
  • Tour Makerere University, sites in the capital city of Kampala, cultural events .


For more information, please come to 0018 Curtiss Hall, or contact Shelley Taylor