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.