Uganda: Restoring livelihoods and communities through agriculture

Raised bed demonstration

Title Restoring livelihoods and communities in north Uganda through agriculture
Description After years of civil war communities lacked the skills and resources to sustain a livelihood. Through agriculture training programmes, living standards and household income have increased.
Status Completed
Dates Start: February 2012; End: February 2013
Implementing partner Baptist Union of Uganda
Location Gulu District, Acholi sub-region, Uganda
Sector Agriculture

Situation

Years of civil war left an estimated 1.1 million people living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the Acholi region of northern Uganda, unable to return to their villages or work in their fields because of fear of abduction, murder and rape. Without freedom to live normal lives, people became dependent upon relief agencies to survive. Peace in 2009 enabled people to go home but presented new challenges of independent living. The project identified the need to provide training in sustainable agricultural skills, defending land rights, agro-forestry, managing livestock and working together as a community.

Partner

Cyan worked in collaboration with the Baptist Union of Uganda (BUU), a church denomination and NGO with 1,000 churches across Uganda. BUU has experience in delivering agricultural development projects across Uganda, and has access to communities through the network of church-based CBO’s (community based organisations).

Response Agricultural training

Formal training and demonstration was given to 12 community based organisations (CBOs). These groups were accessed through the local baptist church and were all legally registered. Topics covered by the training included: conservation agriculture, agro-forestry, seed selection and storage, crop storage, tree nursery as well as improved animal health and management.

Demonstration and practice areas were offered within the local church’s ground. Training, growing practice and yeilds were regularly monitored. All CBOs were visited to train and facilitate the formation of small group saving schemes. A community consultation exercise indicated the project would impact on some 729 families or around 4,884 individuals.

Outcomes

The different methods introduced to local farmers were widely used in communities. Farm visits through the growing period and meetings at harvest suggest that methods were almost universally adopted with yields increasing.

Improved access to markets and effective local organisational structures enabled links with two larger buyers of produce. This development offers the largest opportunity in the coming years to significantly increase household incomes. These opportunities were only possible because the farmers were organised into groups with a legal standing.

Comparing figures of tithing to churches in 2011 and 2012, there was a peak at harvest time indicating that church giving is linked to household incomes, and that household income has increased during this project.

Market links will look to be extended in the coming year with the possibility of a new large buyer and processor being linked to these farmer groups.

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