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Teaching rural women farmers techniques to improve food security, Uganda

Requested by

Mitukula Womens Development Association (MWODA)

Who are you trying to help? What issue are you trying to address?

In the Rakai District of Southern Uganda, over 90% of the total population are dependent on subsistence agriculture. Most farming is done on sloping land between hilltops and valley swamps with an average farm size of between 2 and 3 acres. Population pressure results in encroachment on the watersheds, and as the two rainy seasons have become less predictable and weaker over the past decade, subsistence farmers face problems of water availability and depleted soils in addition to other problems caused by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and food shortages. We want to help women farmers, in particular, make better use of resources through adopting strategies for water conservation, storage and other techniques which will assist in promoting food security and thus securing their livelihoods.

We have been promoting organic farming for the past eight years in this part of the country in order to increase food security, diet diversity and combat climate change. We conduct residential training on farms and do follow up work, using an integrated programme which has been successful in assisting participants to improve their food production.

What is your project and how will it help?

The project’s primary aim is food security using an integrated approach, which has water management, appropriate technology and organic farming as key elements. It builds cohesive, self managing rural women’s groups practicing organic farming with a wide variety of food crops, many of which will contribute addition nutrition, and others which will ensure food security in the driest seasons.

The techniques used will include contour cultivation and contour ditches for soil and water conservation, water storage, mulching, inter cropping as well as composting and manuring. In addition, we use a hand tractor to increase acreage with hybrid seedlings.

The approach ensures that the groups will continue long after the project and its training have been completed and will continue to be a source of information and technology in the communities. Group committees will receive additional leadership training, and groups will be informed about procedures conducive to building harmonious groups. The methodology will empowers participants to make specific changes on their farms, but also to gain confidence to make their own changes. Readiness to innovative further is a key goal of this project.

Residential training of 4-5 days fulfills many needs including:

- Exposure to farm management techniques.
- Practical training for people with limited education and language.
- Opportunities to visit farmers who have made changes.

Follow up training in the village involves sending experienced trainers out to work intensively with individual farmers on their land. This will ensure that mistakes and the project are kept on track.

The project will start with an initial baseline survey followed by residential training for the first 4 groups on a demonstration farm where basic techniques will be observed, including compost making and the construction of simple vegetable beds. Water storage tanks will commence with digging a pit. Hybrid seeds will be distributed with a hand walking tractor.

Regular follow up visits will be conducted on farms. Exposure visits to prosperous farmers and farms will introduce participants to other technologies such as the construction of fuel stoves and animal management.

The key focus is on women as they are the main food, water and wood providers in the home. The approach is family oriented in that care is taken to include husbands. Husbands will be welcome to attend all training.

How can other people partner with you on your project?

Partners will be local farmers and their communities, most especially those organized in groups which will also involve orphans and child -headed households.

Local government personnel will be involved from the start and be aware of the goals of the project and of the support that may be needed from them. They will be kept informed of progress and invited to the concluding ceremony for the project.

Some women will be trained as community trainers to continue promoting technologies learned to others in the area, and those in the group that were slower to progress.

The entire project is intended to have a positive impact on the lives of the poor rural farmers. Improved food security leads will lead to improved health and better family cohesion and well being.

Please detail the resources that you need.

Personnel – 7,241 US$
Project monitoring travel – 3,103 US$
Residential trainings – 9,500 US$
Group leaders training – 3,259 US$
Follow up trainings on farm – 8,500 US$
Materials for water storage tanks – 6,721 US$
Plant nursery set up – 1,293 US$
Hybrid seeds – 1,500 US$
Hand walking tractor – 5,000 US$
Monitoring and Evaluation – 2,200 US$
Stationery – 1,200 US$

Total – 41,117 US$

Contact details

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Partnership types

Project funding

Regions / countries / territories

Africa: Uganda

Global issues

Agriculture, aquaculture and forestry; Job creation and enterprise development; all (3)


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