Sunday, 21 April 2024
Sunday, 21 April 2024

A new project supporting women smallholder farmers in Uganda

Francesca Mensah, Programme Support Officer, Feed the Minds writes

Feed the Minds and our local partner, Health Child Uganda, are implementing a one-year project to support women smallholder farmers in the Kyegonza sub-county of Gomba, Uganda. Targeted women will be organised in groups of commercial smallholder farmers who grow coffee and maize to increase their incomes. The project will provide financial literacy skills and improved agricultural practices while tackling challenges of gender-based violence to increase their earnings and family well-being.

Understanding rural Buganda South: Present challenges

A rural district in Buganda South is characterised by high rates of poverty, low infrastructural development, and poor socio-economic indicators that maintain a vicious cycle of poverty. According to the Uganda National Population Census of 2014 and 2018 Uganda Annual Agricultural Survey report, 80.4% of households in the Kyegonza sub-county depend on subsistence agriculture as a source of livelihood, and only 12.7% of households receive agriculture extension services. The findings also reveal low literacy rates with a significant percentage of children below 12 years out of school and a considerable number of youths between ages 18 and 30 not in school and not working. In Kyegonza sub-county, 89% of the households do not have access to financial services and are financially excluded.

Key findings from the consultative meetings conducted by the health child in the district suggest that most women suffer from gender discrimination, violence, and abuse, with only 31% of women being owners of agricultural land compared to 48.7% of men.

Feed the Minds’ interventions with Health Child

The idea of the project has been developed based on Health Child’s experiences and engagement with the communities. Key findings suggest that many women in the Kyegonza sub-county, Gomba, suffer from gender discrimination, violence, and abuse due to factors such as a lack of financial inclusion and lower literacy levels. These limitations hinder their participation in key activities, including access to markets, price fluctuations, calculating profits and losses, and understanding basic guidelines of pesticides and weather forecasts.

The new project aims to target 300 farmers, including 240 female smallholder farmers, in the district. Through dialogues combining practical training and knowledge application, the project seeks to achieve three outcomes: 1) gender equality through reducing violence against women, 2) increasing smallholder farmer yields through access and application of information, and 3) financial literacy by applying financial knowledge in areas of budgeting, savings, expenditure, and investment.

Addressing challenges and promoting equality in rural Buganda South

The project aims to increase maize and coffee yields through the implementation of good agricultural practices and proper harvest and post-harvest handling methods, ultimately improving income generation. It also seeks to promote good financial practices such as saving, borrowing, and investment among smallholder farmers.

Furthermore, the project intends to foster an environment where smallholder farmers appreciate the importance of protecting and respecting the rights of women, girls, and children. By recognising women and girls as vital stakeholders in the development of homes and families, the project aims to increase the number of children attending school and reduce reported cases of violence within the community. These outcomes will be monitored through reports from children, parents/ caregivers, and local authorities. In addition, this project will have a positive impact on environmental protection practices at the farm level. These practices include mulching, the application of organic fertilisers, the protection of water bodies, and land management practices.

We are honoured to be working on this new project with Health Child, a non-government organisation operating in Uganda to improve the health and well-being of children through interventions that empower parents and/or caregivers, service providers, and local governments.

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