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.
Women farmers learning to develop kitchen garden
Eng. Daniel Alideki of St. Jude Sustainable and Integrated Agriculture Centre, training women in apiculture after fish farm tour.
Women training in use of simple and appropriate irrigation techniques