Rural Women Striding Forward in Uganda

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WOMEN LABOURING IN PROFITABLE AGRICLUTRE IN GOMBA DISTRICT- KABULASOKE SUB-COUNTY

Skilling Rural Women Farmers Food Security Project is aimed at first and foremost, to produce women who act consciously and holistically within their families and communities. In Gomba District, there is a training project – Ntulume Village women Development Association (NVIWODA) Food Security Project, has directly benefited 45 rural women farmer households located in Kabulasoke sub-county. The idea is to equip women in the district with skills in integrated and sustainable agriculture enterprise development. The project is funded by United Methodist Women – U.S.A.
Ms.Nyarwa Cissy, the Programme Coordinator of NVIWODA says, “Women need to share their issues and knowledge in order to change from the status they are in to another level. Empowering women especially in the rural areas is vital because, they are the core producers of food in this nation, not only for the nation, but also for a National Gross Profit (NGP) and families.
Prosy Nakazibwe, one of the beneficiaries, is a very active lady in the field. She believes in profitable farming, and proper land use is first and foremost her concern. She believes in protecting the soil, avoiding soil erosion is important to her, so that her crops do not get washed away.
Prosy Nakazibwe, practices mixed farming, during monitoring visit, Prossy says, she has plans to cultivate more land, and planned to plant Maize the next season, “by the end of the month the garden will be ready for sowing” with a smile, she said.
After training, Prosy, learnt to grow all types of vegetables, cabbages, amaranthus, “I eat some and feel proud because I sell vegetables to get money, I now have enough sauce, she explained.
She also runs fish farming and on a rope she owns piggery on her compound, when asked about how she came up with the idea of fish farming, she said “earlier on I had dug a fish pond, there was no fish in it, but because NVIWODA took me for training, I learnt how to manage aquaculture. When I returned, I bought fish fries worth Ug. Shs.7, 000/- (equiv. to $2.3), when they grow I will fish and improve on the family diet and even sell off some fish to earn money.
Prosy, opted to join other women in Gomba for training on how to deepen her knowledge, as a woman and as a person interested in improving her economy and life of her family.
The Programme Coordinator of NVIWODA says, besides training women in sustainable and integrated agriculture skills, we also realized that some of the women were lagging behind, due to issues associated to domestic violence, the organization therefore had to create awareness about women’s human rights; a component that could address gender based violence. We made sure; we introduced them to the Uganda Police in Kabulasoke, so that they could be able to access assistance, even after training.
The training was aimed at making women understand issues of Food Security and the important roles that they play in providing food for the families. So first the women’s rights and responsibility, this aspect of training conducted in partnership with Uganda Police, was to enable them access to specific information that advance their human rights and equip them with the capacity to handle domestic violence.
What are human rights in context of women?
Right to life, right as a human being, right to family economy, right to family capital, concerns the gender based violence. The women must have education on how to end gender based violence in homes; and they need to get to the causes, presence of domestic violence and how to end them.
Today there is food insecurity in many Ugandan homes, because the land cannot produce enough family food, the change in weather is destroying livelihood prolonging poverty. Therefore learning it from the partnership with Uganda Land Alliance (ULA), the women received training on their rights to owning family land on which they feed the family through agriculture.
Culturally in Uganda, women do not own land, man does and sometimes plus what is grown on it, the male mind must change. These Gomba women want to effectively till the land and produce family food and make surplus to generate household income.
Cissy, explained that women feared to access the unutilized family land or confidently seek permission to utilize it. It was important to educate the women about land rights because women do not own the land where they grow food. In the field, NVIWODA food security project is focused on training these women in practical hands on learning for profitable agriculture through proper land use.
The skilling project, which begun in Mpigi District is now expanding to Gomba District to cover a total of 112 women farmers, receiving correct agriculture knowledge and best farming practices.
The women in Kabulasoke Sub-county, use small pieces of land, they need skills on how to work on limited space of land for intensive crop and animal husbandry. The training organized in phases, gives these women the different farming practices. In the first phase, the women were at St.Jude Integrated and Sustainable Agriculture Training Centre, Masaka, where they learnt making manures that help them to improve soil. The women had to understand science around the soil, and educate them of soil infertility and that’s why their yields were poor. In addition they learnt how to improve their soils, by making compost manure, and plant teas, in addition they were taught to practice animal husbandry, which is a core component of improving farming and food production today.
Farmers learnt techniques of planting and spacing e.g. digging a pit of 3×2 and spacing 10 ft to plant bananas, intercropping and all this knowledge women needed it, in order to achieve better crop yields. Because most women did not know how to grow vegetables, they were taught growing a variety of vegetables as an important food to improve family’s diet.

Grace Sebowa at her vegetable raised garden

Grace Sebowa at her vegetable raised garden

Women learnt on how to make plant tea, as natural herbicides, to spray pests that attack the crops. In the crop husbandry training, the women are taken through the practice of crop agriculture for sustainable livelihoods to be able to produce enough food for home consumption and the surplus for sale, general and intensive practices in sustainable mixed agriculture in climate change situation.
Women are also trained in animal husbandry, and go through methods that could help them raise zero grazing animals for milk by products. Piggery is for those women who are keen on pork as family business, some women are interested in different types of poultry, and many of these women are interested in mixed farming and to produce manure for their gardens.
Back to accountability, the women trained in book keeping, equipping them with knowledge skills and learning to plan, budget and effectively manage their farm finances, through ability to calculate cost inputs and outputs, to be able to practice financial management for sustainable farming.
Gomba is a newly created District and Kabulasoke sub county, has specially been our next target in 2014. We work with Nezikokolima Women’s Group, whose members had already been empowered by NVIWODA before. In order to reach more rural women we considered an already organized group which was Nezikokolima Women’s group, and because Gomba District was badly heat by drought, we thought it as a priority to empower women with skills and knowledge in food production.
The Gomba women learnt to be effective women in their families, Land rights and ending home violence, handling ownership of land issues in the family income and sensible family planning, they have opened up new land for which to practice sustainable agriculture.
Nakamya Annet, who is the Secretary of the group says, “Before intervention of the project we did not have enough food, and we used to cultivate the land, using traditional farming methods and did not yield enough food like now. We never grew vegetables, and if one wanted greens, would only buy from neighboring market. But after training we are empowered to grow enough food, and most women engaged in the project have improved their diet”, she emphasized.
Horticulture has become important in the family. Women have established kitchen gardens and introduced vegetables to the family meal. They have introduced raised stands where they grow vegetables like Sukuma week (Kale), cabbages, carrots, egg plant, which has given leverage on avoiding chicken and goats that eat up vegetables.
Before training I used to plant anyhow but now I plan my gardens and which crops to plant. Kevina testifies that, after training, she has planted 60 banana suckers. However, “I have a challenge of registration of land where I live, as the, the owners are demanding for a lot of money Ugx.350, 000/= for registration and I cannot afford”. On the land Kevina grows cassava, potatoes, beans, bananas and coffee.
A 65 Year’s, Kevina, who lives with grandchildren, became more innovative and did things differently from what she learnt, and she displays a mixture of plant teas, which she uses to fertilize her crops.
Nakamya Annette said, “We learnt to grow food in a sack mound and in dry season I can still grow vegetables which I am able to irrigate using drip irrigation with plastic bottles. I recycle the gunny bags, put in manure and plant vegetables; these are easier to water during dry season.
Because Nakamya was challenged by lack of water to irrigate her vegetables, in her compound, she dug a Ditch for harvesting rain running water, which could help her during season.
She narrated “the borehole is not far away from my home, but the problem is that, it becomes congested because it is the only one in the area and people from neighboring villages get water from the same source, one can even put up at dark and leave the queue after 11.00 p.m.
Margret Lubwama said earlier on, “I did not know that a woman can grow vegetables, I have now planted enough vegetables and food.” During the study tour, I realized that I could start up a poultry project. On return from training, I developed interest and started poultry keeping with a 100 broilers, which I sold during X- mas season at a profit; this helped me to raise money to re-stock more. I have a second batch; I feed them on greens like. This grass substitutes for feeds I mix black jack and yam leaves, she explained.
Jovanice Nakandi, became acquainted with sustainable and integrated agriculture planting methods, after training. “I did not know that even when you have a small space you can grow some food, when I returned I utilized a small piece of land. I now grow beetroot and have also planted 80 bananas suckers; this will fill the gap of food shortage. I use composed manure before planting the crops. i.e. bananas, coffee and maize.
“I prepare manure in a simple way, I collect cow dung and Napier grass, which I feed my cow it gives me wastes which I utilize to prepare compost manure”, Nalubega Margret, explained.
Margret Lubwama, is growing food on a wider acreage, she owns 6 acres of land, where she grows bananas, cabbages, eggplant, beetroot, ground nuts, Irish potatoes, cassava and sweet potatoes. “I love this type of agriculture because one is sure of enough food at home, from which I will also earn money”. However, Margret says, she has a challenge of land, because she is a squatter, usually rents land for growing food.
Najjuma Nalubega, after training planted 12 stems of bananas, cabbages, groundnuts, egg plant, I use manure and have made a sack mound, when it is dry season, I drip irrigate using recycled plastic bottles. She concluded by saying that “I shared the knowledge with my husband and advised him to use compost manure in his passion fruit garden.
When, Mr.Musa, was interviewed he had to say” When my wife returned from the training, she explained what she learnt i.e. planting on raised garden stands and using organic manure, I have adopted her advice. She emphasized cooperation within the family; I accepted to support her in whatever she does. She taught me how to collect types of grass, cow dung materials together that make compost manure, dig contours to retain rain water in the garden, generally after training my wife works harder than before, I feel as a husband and family, we have benefited from the project. With a smile Najjuma says,” the knowledge has opened up my eyes and I no longer have shortage of sauce and food”.
A beneficiary of the food security project and a Woman Councilor of LC 11, -Kabulasoke B, Ms. Mary Nassanga, explains that, “I have opened up half an acre of groundnuts and cassava, half an acre of sweet potatoes and intercropped with maize, and beans. We will have a surplus food for sale; my husband helps me in the garden too.
NVIWODA extended to us a one week residential training; we appreciate the opportunity given to us. The training met our farming specific needs and the hands on training have transformed the women to become modern farmers for sustainable livelihoods”. She concluded by appealing to the government to emulate the same, instead of organizing workshops at Sub –County’s offices.
The Project has a multiplier effect as Nakamya Annet, who coordinated with Science and agriculture teacher of Kabulasoke S.D.A Primary School, was able to transfer the knowledge to primary five pupils, by teaching them how to plant bananas. “I continue to share the knowledge with other women who did not have opportunity to participate in the project”, she remarked.

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NVIWODA-Food Security Story of change

In 2011-2014, Ntulume Women Village Development Association undertook a food security and water improvement project in 27 households in Buwama Sub County. One of the members shifted to the Islands and NVIWODA stopped monitoring her leaving 26 active members in the project area. Rural women lacking knowledge on improving their farming techniques and an outcry to be trained the number has been increased to sixty-six active farmers.
Buwama Sub County is one of the sub counties in Mpigi district located 69 kilometres south East of Kampala City -Uganda.
The families faced food insecurity with an average family affording one meal a day, poor nutrition for those that could not afford to put food on the table, land scarcity for cultivation, domestic violence and poverty escalated the situation.
Food Security Intervention:
The NVIWODA food security was an intervention funded by  to restore the family to its former glory through training women in food production. The training centered on teaching women modern farming techniques of improving crop productivity and involving them to establishing a kitchen garden, making sack mounds, preparing organic farm manure and improving soil fertility. It was meant to enhance women to produce enough food for the family and a have a surplus for sale. The surplus would give households additional income to meet other family needs like providing scholastic materials for their children in school and buy other household requirements.

Mpigi women farmers during training in making of compost manure

Mpigi women farmers during training in making of compost manure

After a three-year close monitoring, of the food security project, 26 households have improved with a measurable achievement above their counterparts who did not have training in food security. The impact of the farmers has spread out to the communities in which they live.
Food security in Mpigi district has been downplayed by families and leaders that, has prompted NVIWODA to spread out and increase the number of beneficiaries to sixty six families.
A visit to the household located in different parishes, there is evidence of skills training of members who participated in the NVIWODA food security intervention.
In Buwunga Village, Bongole Ssabaddu Parish – Buwama Sub County Nazziwa Clotilda trained in Food Security, income generation and livelihoods. She takes the NVIWODA group to the garden just next to the banana plantation surrounding their house. It is intercropped with Coffee trees, she points to an expanse of maize, potatoes and cassava gardens she has cultivated.
Nazziwa explains that she followed instructions of the trainers in achieving the highest yield from the garden. “When the rains come I dig channels that run through my garden to trap all the rainwater, I later mulch the gardens to avoid moisture losses during drought,” she says.
After learning soil management skills, Nazziwa barely uses chemical fertilizers, she learnt to prepare her own compost manure, organic liquid and plant tea manure, which she explains have helped her improve soil fertility. “We have been cultivating these soils for over thirty years without replenishing the fertility, and I am surprised we never knew how to improve it” Nazziwa explains the importance of the training at St. Jude Family Project in Masaka.

old jerrycans used to store manures

old jerrycans used to store manures

She however has challenges – the crop yield has increased from a single acre to two acres of tilled land under crop. She is experiencing a drop in demand for potatoes on the market. She can only keep the crop in the garden because she lacks storage facilities and value addition techniques like slicing the potatoes and storing them. This practice is not available in this part of the country!
“The marketing processes are more painful,” Nazziwa explains referring to the exploitative character of buyers. She says businesspersons are willing to pay shillings 1400 per Kilogram of coffee instead of shillings 2000 market price. However for Maize, the work involved in preparing it for the market is tasking. “At least we sell off the maize immediately to raise money for paying school fees for the children”, Nazziwa explains. “I harvested 600 kilograms last season and 800 kilograms this season which I sold off at shillings 300 per kilogram to raise shillings 1,800,000 and 2,400,000/- respectively.” She says “I paid shillings 600,000 for my senior two son, 40,000/- for the primary three child, we spent 140,000/- for home use and treatment, bought iron sheets to complete the house and I saved 500,000/- for the last season alone.” She adds.
“Our nutrition has improved because we have vegetable gardens, which provide us vegetables like spinach, carrots, green pepper, Amaranthus. These have added value to our meal.” Nazziwa explains.???????????????????????????????
She appreciates the 1,400-liter water storage tank which stores rainwater thereby reducing the amount of time she used to spend at the water point about one kilometer away from their home.
Nazziwa says she keeps records of all activities ranging from tilling the land, planting to application of manure, crop sale, as she explains have helped her keep track of history of crops.
NVIWODA trained women in sustainable integrated agriculture to improve their livelihoods. The trainings included integrated agriculture: soil management, crop spacing, and animal husbandry, making organic pesticides, soil conservation methods, post-harvest management, value addition, marketing, land rights and domestic violence prevention. To enable a rural woman be productive and gain from her sweat, she needed this holistic and empowering knowledge and skills. ???????????????????????????????
Under the food security for family arrangement, the women planted bananas, cassava, potatoes, maize, yams, coffee, beans, groundnuts and cowpeas. They also rear cows, pigs, goats and poultry. These had a multipurpose benefit to the families as a source of income, nutrition and their waste acted as manure to the gardens.
NVIWODA built 21 water tanks for its members, to store rainwater during the rainy season. The water tanks helped women reduce on the time spent at the well to do other productive work. Buwama Sub-County has a shortage of water with water points located about half a kilometer to three kilometres away from homes. Women carry water on the head, except for a few young girls who would use bicycles.
According to the Coordinator of Ntulume Village Women Development Association- Cissy Edith Nyarwa, the needs assessment survey revealed that on average the daily family meals were limited to a single meal; the women worked more hours in the gardens but got less yield of their effort. She says the women in rural areas would have produced enough food for the family if they received support and skill in food production, she adds. “From the single set up in the city of Kampala NVIWODA was setting out to have impact on rural women.” Nyarwa says.
In the same area of Buwunga Village, Bongole Ssabaddu Parish, another beneficiary Maureen Babirye Nakiganda works on 50 feet by 200 feet piece of land. She grows potatoes intercropped with maize. She also has Bananas around her home, a well-established kitchen garden of tomatoes, cabbage, amaranthus, and salads. She also grows passion fruit, oranges and two jack fruit trees.
Babirye remembers the training at St Jude in Masaka, to have changed her life both socially and economically. They are six members in a family including four children. She sometimes works on a family land where she has grown coffee. She also hires one acre of land at 200,000/- per year.
“I have mastered soil management skills,” Babirye explains, how she uses maize stems to mulch the soil, applies compost manure, plant tea, uses cow dung and pig waste immersed in water to produce manure tea for use in her seedbeds. “For vegetables, I prepare the garden and since I don’t have a measuring tape I measure the spacing using hand gaps to determine spacing according to how we were trained,” she further explains.
Within the home, the family owns two pigs with six piglets, a cow and four hens provide income for the family. Babirye explains that the cow provides milk and waste for making manure. The hens lay eggs, which have enabled family members, eat at least three eggs each within a week.
Babirye and her family grow, potatoes, maize, Bananas, Cassava, beans, cabbage and onions and groundnuts. “We have enough food for the home; we also sell of the surplus to raise money to meet our needs like paying school fees for our children in lower classes.” She explains. “We can also have meat three times a month which never used to be before.” She says. The new farming practice has helped the family to enjoy improved nutrition for both the adults and children. She also remembers that disease has generally reduced among family members she added that, “when my child was sick of pneumonia I fed her on vegetables and when I took her to hospital for check up, she had healed”.Vegetable Growing
Babirye appreciates the impact of NVIWODA training on her life. “NVIWODA trained us in food security, we learnt farming methods, and we now know how to produce food sustainably for the home. She says. “I have made an effort to train my neighbors around the village who didn’t get a chance to attend NVIWODA classes” she says, “My neighbors have already learnt to make manure.”
“From sale of crops, I earned shillings 400,000/=, which I have paid for a plot of land to expand land area for cultivation. I paid for treatment for children,” she says.
Babirye has aspirations; she lives in a single room with her husband and their three children. “I want to upgrade from a single room to a big house of about three rooms” she anticipates. She hopes to send her children to better schools from earnings raised from sale of her produce. “I am planning to join women groups because now I have a sustainable income from sale of produce. I can pay my subscription fee.” She explains.
NVIWODA Program Coordinator, Cissy Edith Nyarwa explains that the training was meant to empower women produce food for the family. After training 27 women, NVIWODA further secured support from Global Fund for Women to train more 40 women making a total of 67 farmers.
Nalongo Nandago Agnes of Buyaya Village, Mbizzinnya Parish is one of the forty women trained in food security. At her home, she is busy beating beans harvested from her last harvest. The rain is approaching and she struggles to collect pieces of Iron sheets to cover the harvest and save the beans from the approaching rain. She has an abundant harvest this season and lacks storage facilities.
She cuts a banana sheath from a banana stem to tap rainwater as she uses a hoe to dig a channel so that she can divert the rainwater to the nearby banana plantation and cassava garden. “I need this water in my garden,” she says, “This water I am trapping will help me when the dry season begins”.
Nandago is one of the second group of 39 achieved beneficiaries who underwent training in sustainable integrated agriculture provided by NVIWODA in 2014, she has learnt new skills on crop management, use of organic fertilizers to grow vegetables use i.e. compost manure and plant tea. She and her family live on the hill slope on which they shifted two years ago.
”I grow many crops, Bananas, cassava, coffee, potatoes on the six piece acre of land, which we partly use for grazing our cattle, I also grow beans and groundnuts,” Nandago explains. She says that she also owns a kitchen garden that has eggplants, carrots and amaranthus which she has sustained with trapped rainwater.
Nandago boasts of owning three cows which provide milk and they generate money from the sale of milk. “We also have three sows which are about to give piglets. Each one of them will produce between ten to fifteen piglets of which we shall sell each piglet at shillings 40,000 multiplied by at least 30 piglets, we expect to earn shillings 1,200,000 million.” She explains. She says that the animals provide waste, which she uses as manure in her garden.
She says that she has experienced better crop and vegetable yield due to use of manure and attributes the progress from the training she received from NVIWODA. “I have a chance among my neighbors around the village because I use herbicides which I have made myself to spray the vegetables.” She says.
Nandago explains that she harvests a surplus 54 kilograms of beans that she sells at 2000/- per kilogram. She however regrets that she has no command of the market prices, which sometimes discourage her from selling her produce. She says that market is available for all crops.
She relates her status to the previous one before she got training from NVIWODA as a great step in her life. “I have won the confidence of my husband and domestic violence is no more in our home,” she explains. NVIWODA training has improved my status in the home’ “My husband now recognizes my contribution and appreciates me.” Nandago narrates.
“Before training, I would just sow my seed anyhow, the harvest was poor and I always thought there was somebody bewitching me.”
Prossy Mirembe living at Buyaya village, Mbizzinnya parish explains while responding to the changes she has experienced since she underwent NVIWODA food security training.
Prossy Mirembe had a chance to train in food security; I was among the priority offered to be trained from Buwama Sub County by NVIWODA. “When I returned I wanted to act immediately before ‘steam’ reduced from me.” She was reacting to the mindset change she was feeling after the training. “I own Chicken- layers, cultivate potatoes, maize, cassava and bananas.
“I have improved the laterite soils to grow every type of crop I want,” Mirembe explained the knowledge she had attained in soil management. She uses pig waste and chicken droppings as fertilizers in the garden. She has improvised plant tea manure that she applies as a pesticide to spray pests on the vegetables. Prossy Mirembe works on an acre piece of land.
NVIWODA Program Coordinator explains that the training the women underwent was to help women improve on crop yield per unit of land employed. “They were training in crop preservation methods, post-harvest handling and storage of crop harvests.’ Cissy explains.
However, Prossy Mirembe says when she harvests the beans she uses red pepper and cedar commonly known as “Xmas tree” as a pesticide to stop bean weevils from attacking the beans. “I can store the harvest for three months until the next planting time. This guarantees enough food available for the family.” Mirembe explains. She has helped neighbors within her village to adopt sustainable integrated agriculture.
In the whole of Buwama Sub County, the grass is green. “It is a rainy season and work is a good story, there is no drought.” Joyce Namugumya living at Busebwe village, Ssango Parish tells her experience as she proposed we converse in the field as she does some work in her garden. Namugumya has a family of seven with three students in boarding school.
She admits working in ignorance before undergoing NVIWODA training that she says has changed her life forever. “I have skills in agriculture and animal husbandry. I have cultivated two acres of cassava, half an acre of potatoes, one acre of maize, beans, groundnuts and vegetables this season.” She says. Namugumya explains that they are working on eight acres of land that bring out favorable incomes.
She has transformed the barren land located on the slopes of Busebwe. “I use organic manure generated from animal waste, partition the land and dig channels allover to trap rain water.’ She says. When the dry season starts I have no worry but continue managing my crops until harvest time.” Namugumya explains how the training has enabled her manage her gardens. “I have 14 sows which provide waste and urine for the fertilizer. I only face the hurdle of carrying the manure uphill.” Namugumya says. She has to pay workers to carry the manure uphill.
In the last season ending August, she harvested 3,500 kilograms of maize, 500 kilograms of shelled groundnuts and cassava, which she sold to earn money. The buyers pay for the cassava in the garden. “I have fully paid third term school fees for all the four students in secondary school,” she narrates.
About the market for her crop, Namugumya explains that buyers depend on the season. But she does not regret the market for her produce. “What is not bought reverts to feeding the pigs, this is why it becomes necessary to keep animals,” She says. “I also maintain slow yielding crops to ensure there is enough for sale the next season”.
Namugumya remembers NVIWODA training which transformed her life. She does not regret the time she spent on the training’ “People envy my work and most of my neighbors come for lessons on how I maintain high yielding crops.” Namugumya narrates. She has steady improved incomes for the last two years. “In July I sold cassava and potatoes for shillings 1,200,000 and paid school fees for my daughter at Kyambogo University.” She says. “I managed to save shillings 280,000”.
Best farming practices have changed Namugumya’s life as she expanded from cultivating 1.5 acres of land to Seven acres from which she expects to become a food supplier to boarding schools in Mpigi district.
She has one challenge, “I have a problem of thieves so I cannot put up a granary.” She laments.
NVIWODA has encouraged women to start serious agriculture with a vision to economic returns from their effort. At first 27 women with South Mawokota Development Association were mobilized. Provided seeds, Farm tools, and water tanks for harvesting rainwater and thereby reduce on time spent fetching water. The women started growing food to feed the family. Nutrition of family members improved.
Peninah Kamoga lives on five acres of land in Busebwe village, Ssango Parish, with only three other family members. She says that she was incited into hard work after training. It gave her a vision after she had failed to work the five acres of land because the soils were infertile. “NVIWODA gave us training and seeds, farm tools; it also constructed for us a water tank for harvesting rain water.” Kamoga narrates, “This was my starting point,” she says.
Kamoga owns two cows and five pigs, which, she says, have helped her, improve soil fertility on the five acres of land. “I grow maize, potatoes, bananas and cassava together with green vegetables which I pick from the kitchen garden.” She explains. She uses farm and organic manure to improve the quality of soil. “This season I harvested 700 kilograms of maize grain which I sold at 400/- per kilogram to earn shillings 280,000. The money helped me to pay school fees for my children.” Kamoga explains. She complains the low prices businesspersons offer for their produce but was happy she has what to sell! “My husband supported me during the training and has become part of me and we can work together.” Kamoga narrates that she used to be an isolated woman before NVIWODA gave her the skills that transformed her life. “I can sell and save money, I have joined women Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO), where I save 15,000.” She says.
Kamoga narrates that she has trained in market research, she can struggle to find market for her produce and she can’t fail to sell what she has.
This is an intervention for women to contribute sustainably for the well being of families. Women living in rural areas still face problems of land on which to grow food. This is a challenge to food security and sustainable land management.
The NVIWODA intervention has helped husbands appreciate the role of their wives as partners within the family system. The training opens up women opportunities to participate in sustainable development.
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Rural Women Striding Forward in Uganda

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Women Farmers in Rural Areas need Farming education

Ntulume Village Women Development Association (NVIWODA) is a grass root NGO model, which has really worked hard in empowering women both in rural and semi-urban areas. NVIWODA has women entrepreneur models out there that emulate the change among women and their families.

To help families grow food to ease the woman’s burden at home, NVIWODA has a partnered with CBO’S members and in Mpigi District – Buwama, 37 women farmers, trained in sustainable and integrated agriculture, a knowledge which can Change women’s farming activities, to sustainably improve their farming practices and lively hoods, donated reproductive resources like farm implements and water harvesting jars.

NVIWODA carried out a survey that established the needs of women “you look at social economic human rights and we train women in entrepreneurship, so that they can be able to practice agriculture in a business manner like, so when the women have some coin in their pockets they are able to take care of their basic needs and this reduces domestic violence. In addition the organization creates awareness about land use and land rights, so the women are able to understand their rights and effectively utilize family land, gainfully concentrate on food production.

As a result of the food security intervention programme, the women later turned to produce food to feed their families, they have developed kitchen garden which provides a nutritious meal with vegetables, like carrots, cabbages, green pepper. After training women in food and nutrition for healthy living the women have turned to provide fruits as additional food. Paw paws, passion fruits, mangoes, ovacado’s and sweet bananas. Before some fruits were not enjoyed by the family, and left in garden to decay.

Wealth and well being- What do the farmers have to say?

Sylvia speaks “I am Namatovu Sylvia after the training in sustainable and integrated agriculture/entrepreneurship, there’s a great change in our livelihoods. Our home is now free of hunger, what surprises me is that before the training, my husband never used to provide food at home if asked for food, he would not return home till in the night, and a quarrel begins, domestic violence was rampant. But today we have enough food and no more quarrel we are peaceful and working together”

Joyce says “the training I have received on food security, has helped me, store enough food and sale the surplus, in fact the whole sub county I and the farmers who were trained have enough food and indigenous poultry rearing which add to our income. “I can’t count myself among the poor, because I am an empowered farmer.

Margret says I have what to sell to earn an income”   “I have planted 100 banana stems and I also have three cows, on a sad note Margret testified that during training she never concentrated on animal husbandry as important to me, because I knew I will not have enough money to buy a cow, but here I am with three cows brought in by my daughters. We formed a savings and credit group namely Savings and Internal Loaning Community Assistance (SILCA), our group, after a year of savings we share w share our proceeds. In the last savings I was able to save UGX. 230,000/= and the returns were promising, it multiplied well. I keep some of the money to help me in case of any emergency. When you keep animals one needs money to pay services of veterinary doctors.” She narrated.

“I use organic manure and cow dung to grow vegetables. I received a wheelbarrow and a watering can from NVIWODA, which has helped me in maintaining the kitchen garden. In addition I received one kg of bean seeds from which I reaped 36kgs. We have drought which destroy the entire crop causing us a loss.” Rose told her story of food production set back.

“I am Josephine, Katebo Women’s Group; I use cow dung as a fertilizer, which has helped to improve the yield in bananas.”   I planted bananas and cassava, but the problem of drought disrupts our efforts in food production.

Peninah, also a beneficiary of food security project, says “People come asking how I have improved my banana plantation. I tell them that, NVIWODA has trained us in sustainable and integrated agriculture through St. Jude Family Projects.   Recently in one lot, I sold vegetables and I earned UGX. 20,000/=, my garden looks nice though it was hit by drought. This has   attracted many buyers. I have expanded in vegetable growing so that I get enough food for my and will sale the surplus.

When she was asked about how much money she has saved in SILCA for investing in agriculture, she smiled and said; “I have saved 480,000 shillings and I hope to invest more… I have managed to achieve all this after the food security intervention programme.

NVIWODA has traversed Mawokota County Buwama Sub County in the 6 parishes of Bulunda, Katebo Sango, Bongole, Mbizzinya and Nabiteete, to start up household to growing food that provides a balanced diet to the families. After feeding the family, the members would then venture into storing food to last the family into the next harvesting season and later sell the surplus. Most of the farmers interviewed besides meeting other family needs, say they use the incomes gained from sale of food harvest, to send children to school.

The Programme Coordinator Ms. Nyarwa Cissy’s says, “We have worked with 27 households, which have increased in food production. In 2011, there was decline in household banana production, to-date, due to project achievement 2201 bananas have been recorded, more land for cultivation has been opened women engaged in indigenous poultry keeping, 532 chicken have been recorded compared to 94 during the survey 2012. Most beneficiaries testify they have benefited from the project as their life has greatly changed.

Before the food security intervention, women said they had given up on cultivating the land; this was because the bananas and cassava was being attacked by, disease and pests, or crops dried up due to drought, yields were minimal only for household consumption. But today they are even growing surplus for sell, this is because their methods of farming have changed by adopting and applying best farming practices.

Water and energy sources

Like many other Districts in Uganda, Buwama Sub-county in Mpigi District, faces a problem of water shortage, family members would have to move long distances to secure water for domestic use. Although Buwama is near Lake Victoria, the place is generally dry with limited water lands due to the high altitude. Government has tried with little success to provide water for households

Mr. Frank Kasule buwama Sub County LC3 Chairman; when interviewed about the communities accessing safe water and food security, in his County, this is what he had to say “on the side of food security we have NAADS program which is delivering services in Buwama Sub County. The programme has benefitted some households, because the funds are not enough many of our people have not been catered for by the program. Ntulume Development Association (NVIWODA) has helped us), it has helped our people to be catered for in food security programme by working with South Mawokota Development Activist (SAMADA).

On the issue f the situation of water in Buwama Sub County the Chairman admitted “it is very bad, though Buwama was considered to have a Town Board, there is a program of accessing the town with piped water, but the arrangement is still ongoing. Because we operate with a narrow budget, we can’t access our people with water sources.”

Due to the time spent by women and children in fetching water from long distances, NVIWODA’s next task is to avail household with water harvesting jars, which will help the women from moving long distances in search of water this also reduce on the time spent, which could be utilized in food production . After a beneficiary food security impact survey conducted in December 2012, it was found that they were also issues surrounding land as rich people have bought the land and fenced it leaving no way through to access water sources and it was also taking one to four hours for women and children in search of water for domestic use. NVIWODA selected 21 families and constructed 21 water harvesting jars at household, to enable women harvest of rain water during the rainy season.

In Katebo Village Juliet is a beneficiary of this 1400 Cubic litre tank. “She said my neighbors in my community people liked the initiative of getting water tanks, which saved us especially women from long distance and the time spent at the well. The come seeking for advice on how to build one, while other ask to be supplied safe drinking water…” She narrated that when her tank was completed she did not have a gutter which costs UGX. 10,000/= She improvised a banana sheath to tap rain water. I never wanted to miss the chance of a drop of free rain water.” Her initial storage water facility was a small broken pot which she had dug in the ground, it was not enough and whenever it rained she would use all the water, and it would not make any difference.

In this food security programme, NVIWODA aspires to reach out to many women if given the opportunity, who lack the agriculture knowledge that could able them improve their livelihoods and also address the challenges of climate change.

The safe water for families was later launched by the LC3 Chairman of Buwama Subcounty.

In his words this is what he had to say “By virtue of the powers entrusted into me, I take this opportunity to commission the 21 water tanks, which has been constructed by NVIWODA with the support of Global Fund for Women (GFW)”

Every woman who received a water harvesting jar is really excited. The tank has made a great impact on my life because I am able to harvest more water than before. I also sell the water to buy other things which I need… in my area, we have a problem of water and a jerry can costs between 300 to 400 shillings. With this tank, irrigate my vegetables and even give the animals to drink, Sarah laughed.

The house has been destroyed by a storm. Had no hope of building another house because had a source of income? Cossy says, during the entrepreneurship training we learnt how to start a business, to save and get small loans, this has helped my family to change our livelihood. I borrow money from SILCA women group, hire laborers to cultivate land. I appreciate SAMADA for linking women to NVIWODA, because with also the support of my husband, I have been able to build a permanent house.

The training opened up our brains, plan and opportunities to joining women groups, saving, and borrowing, to accomplish tasks. She concluded by saying that she borrowed UGX. 250,000 from the group and used to cultivate sweet potatoes of which she realized a good yield, I sold the surplus, bought sand and bricks, and here we are in a habitable house though not fully completed.

NVIWODA continues to support more women in Uganda who are needy and able.

In another development the organization in 2014, is reaching more women farmers skill them in sustainable and integrated agriculture/entrepreneurship financial literacy. On 5th -9th May 2014, a group of 60 women farmers from Kabulasoke District headed for St. Jude Sustainable and Integrated Agriculture Training Centre to be equipped in best farming practices as a strategy to address hunger and unpredictable weather changes. In 2012 Kabulasoke was badly hit by drought living eliminating bananas from the food menu of households, as majority feed on Maize flour and rice and this means that most of the food eaten is bought, failure to have money lives families hungry and children are indirectly affected.

The target included both young mothers and adult women including two youth. Among the topics covered included description of what sustainable, integration, intensive and organic, advantages and disadvantages. The classroom theory covered in detail best methods and best practices of vegetable and crop growing, in addition to animal husbandry.

Among the crops it included how to plant bananas, cassava, and maize in a more scientific way, to achieve good yields. Making of compost manure is important to addressing and improving soil fertility. Women also learnt about animal husbandry and this included dairy farming and piggery.

Selection of equitable breed was key to animal husbandry, diseases and feed formulas was part of the training. At the end of five days training the farmers were happy about the rich farming knowledge and promised to improve from the traditional farming to modern farming. The project is funded by United Methodist Women-U.S.A.

NVIWODA regularly monitors the farmers to ensure that the knowledge acquired and resources are put into productive good use. Surveys to assess the impact of the project follow.

50% of Ugandan population is female, while 80% of agriculture labor force in Uganda producing and putting most of the food on table are women, and yet owning only about 7% of the land. Women need guidance, training and resource support in food production to avoid hunger.

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  Women farmers learning to develop kitchen garden

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Women farmers learning how to make compost manure

during the training

ImageJoyce standing before water harvesting tank constructed by NVIWODA

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Eng. Daniel Alideki  of St. Jude Sustainable and Integrated Agriculture Centre, training women in apiculture after fish farm tour.

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Women training in use of simple and appropriate irrigation techniques

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Feeding the Family in Buwama – Mpigi District

Beneficiaries say it is their first time to have full support and gain from empowering trainings that equips us with agriculture and practical knowledge. “We learn by doing”.

This project benefits twenty seven women farmers of 6 parishes namely Bbongole, Bulunda, Nabitete,Mbizzinya, Jjalamba, Ssango, farmers come from 16 villages of Buwama South Mawokota – Mpigi District. Besides equipping them with knowledge, they are also provided with seeds, supplied with   productive resources i.e. farm implements and water harvesting jars.

The Food security intervention has really changed our lives, most beneficiaries testify and the husbands and children enjoy the benefits.

“Jane, says, I now effectively utilize my time unlike before, when I used to regularly move about and produce less food just for home consumption, I now give first priority attention to my gardens and grow vegetables and food for the family, I  sale the surplus, I feel  my home is food secure.

Apart from accessing women farmers with agriculture knowledge they are also conducted through farm study tours, to enable them learn from real life farming therefore motivated to love agriculture as an enterprise other than a hobby. Increased food production, incomes, and improved dietary habits, reduced domestic violence, increased knowledge sharing and good farm yields are part of the results and impact . Many women boast of their self confidence increased, they feel they have gained some power in their communities and home, “our neighbors, come and seek for advice”.

To mark the 8th International Women’s Day, NVIWODA organized Food Security Advocacy workshops on 7th March 2014, at Buwama Community Training Centre, which attracted the local leaders, religious NGO stakeholders, Agriculture Advisory Service officers and spouses of the beneficiaries, all attended, making a total of 51 participants. Their participation is a success indicator of the food security Project in this area. The workshop that included the report of activities implemented by NVIWODA since 2011-2014, two video documentaries “Feeding the family” and “Seed of Freedom “were shown, to illustrate the project implementation share outputs , and also make the women aware that “No seed no life”. Creation of awareness on causes and prevention of domestic violence characterized the days sessions.

The participants were also taken through Agriculture Policies in Uganda, to enable women understand issues of gender and agriculture and look at the opportunities that are available, value addition was another component that attracted their attention. Samples of food products illustrating value addition were shown; to able women understand the terminology of “value addition” in real product development.

Food security intervention has reduced domestic violence in our homes. “Before I trained, whenever I would ask my husband for food, he would come back home late at night and this caused us a quarrel, but now we are peaceful and working together to increase food production, “Sylvia explained. The spouses said they help their wives to see that they implement the acquired agriculture knowledge. A live example is Peninah Kamoga, whose husband helped her to clear the land, “because the land I cultivate is a distance away from home he sometime gives me a ride to the garden she explained”.

Cossy said “our house was in bad state and almost falling on us, but with intervention of food security project, I was able to apply the knowledge gained and practice agriculture in a sustainable manner. I borrowed money to open up land and grew sweet potatoes which I sold, and was able to buy building materials, with a smile she commented “we are now living in a habitable house, though not yet completed”. I have also asked my family to allow me use the land, and this season I have grown two acres of maize for sale, with a harvest of 300Kgs.

In the last season many beneficiaries have increased on food production from ¼ acre to 4 acres.

The experience of food security project in Buwama, is very thrilling; women feel very confident and freely share their benefits among their husbands and leaders. They have learnt how to locally preserve seeds using local science. During the presentation, women shared that food like yams (locally known as Kandi,Barugu,Nandigoya, Endagwe- ebiziba,ekikongo, and vegetable like (Ekigaga,Obuyindiyindi, Nakati, Ensuga, Entuula, Katunkuuma,ejobyo,sezira, obuguju), long ago was important, besides one being food secure, it was eaten by women for family planning purposes.

The farmers have been introduced and networked to the Government Programme – National Agriculture and Advisory Services i.e. the Coordinator, Veterinary Department officer, and agriculture extension officer of Buwama sub- county, Local Councils 1, Chairman L.C. 111-Buwama Sub-county, and Women M.P of Buwama Mpigi District. This is a positive move, to project follow up the project. There is promising assistance and some of the women have received seeds from NAADS, and on a happy note the NAADS Coordinator has visited some of the women households and was impressed by the vegetable gardens, he commented.

The L.C. Chairman appealed to the farmers to sustain the project.  “I visited some farmers and found they have enough food” he said. He encouraged the women to develop a saving culture. 

Twice, a team of NVIWODA senior members, move to the food security project area and share their life experience with the rural women, it is quite a motivational experience.

At the Advocacy workshop, the National Agriculture Advisory Development Service Coordinator told a story of “a rich farmer and the hungry men”

“One day three men were very hungry and went to the rich farmer to ask for food. He told them before I give you cassava; you have to harvest a sack of millet. Because they wanted food urgently, instead of laboring to fill the bags with millet, two of them cheated by filling the sack partly with grass and another part with millet, so that they go back quickly to get food from the rich farmer. The third one took his time and harvested a full sack of millet. After, they took the harvest to the rich farmer. He thanked them and said, “It is late to go back to the garden and dig out cassava, but you take all the millet that you have harvested”.  The trustworthy man was able to take a sack full of millet, because the two only filled half the sack with grass, they carried less millet.

He therefore reminded the farmers that “in order to be food secure utilize the knowledge acquired and be trustworthy and value every penny invested in empowering you by applying the skills and produce enough food for your homes”.

NVIWODA has a passion to make the lives of rural women and their families better and better, and pursue the organizations vision by implementing holistic strategies that empower rural women farmers. i.e. training women in sustainable and integrated agriculture, entrepreneurship, human rights, and awareness on  government agriculture policies.  All these strategies contribute and complement other institutions working towards achieving the millennium Development Goal: 1, by 2015, household food insecurity will not be a threat.

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nvw4Christine Nsubuga receiving farming implements and seed donated by NVIWODA

nvw5 Hon. Nakawunde Sarah Tamulanda Woman MP Mpigi district

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Rose Kiyingi young woman farmer receiving watering can

Rose Kiyingi young woman farmer receiving watering can

Women farmers after Food and Nutrition training, receives farm implements and seeds 16.8.2013

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When asked if they achieved their expectation by participation in Food security project they all said yes. Knowledge ranks high avhievement

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Annette Nampiima harvesting water provided by NVIWODA

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After Food Security intervention Joyce planted new vegetables like beetroot and also peas

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Joyce’s garden of peas

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.C.111 Chairman of Buwama Sub county –(Food security Project area) commissioning water harvesting jars provided to 21 women farmers on 18th December 2013

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NVIWODA documenting its work on food security. Harriet a farmer beneficiary being interviewed

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