Community Empowerment in Northern Uganda | Oxfam

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This case study covers the work of Send a Cow in Uganda (SACU). Send a Cow Uganda was established in 1988 to assist groups of subsistence farmers to overcome poverty and malnutrition through training in integrated livestock and agriculture, the provision of high quality seeds and livestock, and by strengthening communities to become self reliant. The aim of this project is to restore livelihoods by increasing household incomes, food production and social support for farmers in northern Uganda.
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  OXFAM NOVIB CASE STUDY www.oxfamnovib.nl   COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT IN NORTHERN UGANDA This case study covers the work of Send a Cow in Uganda (SACU). Send a Cow Uganda was established in 1988 to assist groups of subsistence farmers to overcome poverty and malnutrition through training in integrated livestock and agriculture, the provision of high quality seeds and livestock, and by strengthening communities to become self reliant. The aim of this project is to restore livelihoods by increasing household incomes, food production and social support for farmers in northern Uganda. This Case Study was a background briefing for Oxfam Novib’s 2013 Annual Review, prepared in partnership with SACU, and describes the programme in Uganda. Although it is not a formal evaluation it does consider lessons learned by both Oxfam Novib and its partner organisations. These Case Studies are shared in the form in which they were submitted, often written by partners whose first language is not English, and have not been edited since submission. We believe that the meaning is clear enough, and the authenticity of the reporting and the availability of Southern Voices on development makes their inclusion in the Oxfam iLibrary worthwhile for sharing with external readers. Programme Partner: Send a Cow Uganda (SACU)  2  AIM OF THE PROJECT   The aim is to restore livelihoods by increasing household incomes, food production and social support for farmers in northern Uganda.   This project has been well aligned with government plans and promoted agriculture as a business by supporting the Government of Uganda’s own priorities of establishing agriculture as a key productive sector to drive the economy. The National Development Plan (2010/11  –  2014/15), Agricultural Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP) and the recent Background to the Budget FY2012/13 call for the realisation of growth and development targets through food security, income enhancement and employment. Two further government strategies of note are the Rural Development Strategy (RDS) and the Prosperity for All (PfA), the focus of which is to address the needs of rural households by engaging more households in gainful enterprise production. The work also complemented that of other organizations like AFARD, CARITAS and CEFORD which do offer services in Food & income security, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, good governance,  Agricultural input support, training, Functional Adult Literacy, advocacy and research in the region. The project has also changed the mindset of the local people; both beneficiaries and non beneficiaries positively towards development rather than handouts which used to be the order of the day especially in the 80’s and 90’s. Farmer  s have clear visions and their future plans well documented as compared to the past and they have greatly influenced decision making at local levels since they have been empowered and their self esteem has really been strengthened. Main actors Oxfam Novib Send a cow Uganda Farmer partners (beneficiaries) Lower Local Government Cultural leaders Religious leaders WHY DID OXFAM NOVIB GET INVOLVED?  Send a Cow Uganda approached Oxfam Novib for partnership and funding. Oxfam Novib was convinced that there was convergence of aspirations by the two agencies for the West Nile region. More so, SACU was phasing out its work from the region for lack of funding to continue its programme work. Oxfam Novib came at the right time when the halt had been on for over a year and yet, Oxfam had been impressed by the amount of change SACU had caused in Acholi Sub region. While SACU was phasing out from the region, the need for its services was still enormous. Through a situational analysis carried out by Send a Cow Uganda, it was revealed that a number of people still lived in the bondage of poverty and were not yet fully empowered to come out openly to voice their concerns and yet these had negative impacts on them. Besides, SACU was not covering a wider area. Oxfam Novib coming on board was timely especially with SACU expanding its work to other areas that had not been reached. Oxfam Novib believed in SACU’s style o f delivering development initiatives but there was also a proven record of partnership and achievement between the two organizations.   3 METHODOLOGY  Activities, strategies, theory of change The project started with baseline surveys, sensitization, training needs reassessment and gender analysis carried out by SACU. Training on gender, group dynamics, leadership and conflict resolution resulted in greater equality between men and women and they have become self-reliant and confident and are sharing household chores. Farmers were trained in animal and crop husbandry, simple gardening techniques, animal traction and others such as manure composting, preparation of organic pesticides and kitchen gardens. Families were prepared to receive livestock and other inputs such as drugs like acaricides among others The farmers received local cattle, cross bred cows and improved seeds to enable them farm efficiently. Surplus production has been sold for income, while savings & credit and marketing trainings were conducted to support establishment of small businesses. Legal support was encouraged through mediation of the local authorities and community approaches by the Uganda Law Society.   Families were trained to have practical and simple hygiene structures like built pit latrines, tip-taps for hand washing and drying racks, clay made sofa sets, cupboards which are made at no financial cost. Specialized training and awareness creation on HIV/AIDS were successfully carried out in addition to counseling, prevention and care this was done through Music Dance and Drama . What was needed to achieve the changes? Training in mindset change and retraining  Agri-inputs Community involvement RESULTS Outputs Food production and income generation SACU helped the beneficiaries grow crops and vegetables by training them in simple techniques including manure composting and kitchen gardens. Families attended animal management trainings with emphasis on improved animal welfare and received both local cattle and dairy cows and seeds. Because water is a challenge, dairy cows were only placed with those farmers that have a reliable water source nearby. Farmers were trained in water and soil conservation too. Beneficiaries who received inputs agreed to pass on the equivalent gift plus t raining to others so that the benefits multiply. Twenty women were trained as “Peer Farmer Trainers” and are providing ongoing advice and support to fellow members on organic farming. Farmers were also trained on village savings and loans associations to support establishment of small businesses. The farmers were also trained to become effective entrepreneurs in sustainable crop value chains. Strengthening groups The 11 farmer groups were trained in group dynamics, leadership, gender issues and conflict resolution. Group members elected leaders, set by-laws, identified training needs and managed group funds, gaining in confidence so they can manage the project themselves. At  4 the end of the project, SACU will continue to monitor and support groups until there is evidence that they are self sustaining and self- reliant. SACU developed a “Group Capacity  Assessment Tool” to help them do this. This should be in a period of 3 -5 years of direct interface. Capacity of 435 Farmers and their communities were built in gender relations for the women to optimize benefits from their projects. Strengthening community disaster preparedness The beneficiaries were trained to identify and analyze different types of hazards and examine community managed approaches to reduce disaster risks, assessed the impact of major hazards affecting the communities and developed community action plans to support community managed DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) in consideration to the major hazards in the region. The project also promoted the adoption of climate smart technologies by encouraging innovation in sustainable technologies, diversification, training and adoption of early warning systems, growing climate change adaptive crop varieties and by training in environmental protection practices (tree planting, contour bands, water harvesting and conservation, waste recycling, composting and fuel-efficient stoves among others). Health and hygiene Farmers also learnt how to build pit latrines, tip-taps for hand washing and drying racks - basic hygiene practices that help reduce disease. Farmers were also sensitized on family planning, malarial disease control and HIV/AIDS awareness; prevention, counseling and care. Outcomes Farmer groups equipped with skills and confidence to manage their own development initiatives. 11 strong women-led groups in West Nile and 10 women led groups were equipped with skills and confidence and can manage their own development initiatives. Increased soil fertility and land productivity that has resulted in a 2-5 fold increase in crop production (measured against Organisational Self Review conducted at the end of 2011), resulting in improved food and nutrition for 435 families (2610 people) in west Nile and 509 in  Acholi (3054 people) evidenced by 3 meals per day. Improved hygiene and health for 435 families (2610) people) in west Nile and 509 (3054 people), as compared to baseline survey of 2012. Increased income from increased productivity compared to baseline survey of 2012. Incomes have doubled with more than 900 households having access to incomes and have acquired and bought productive assets such as bicycles, which are often referred to iron horses of West Nile. Parents are able to take their children to better school. Improved health: There have been reduced cases of illness and related to lack of income, some farmers are able to access and pay for health care in private facilities. Trained and equipped farmer groups to become effective entrepreneurs in sustainable valuae chains. 21 groups have been trained and equipped to become effective entrepreneurs   in sustainable value chains (growing marketable crops, value Chain governance and bulking of produce for collective marketing). Farmers have formed producer association in which they now collectively sell their produce, for example Pulka Women group which bulked over 20 tonnes of coffee and Gum Peloke and Ribe Aye Teko has bulked soya and yellow beans respectively close to 10 tonnes. Increased resilience to disaster.   There is increased resilience to disasters such as floods, droughts, cattle and crop diseases. This is remarkable in 21 communities   against The 2007-2012 strategic plan midterm review. Enhanced self esteem for project participants with disabilities, Persons Living with Hiv/Aids (PLWHA’s), child mothers, and widows (ea).These groups of participants have been widely accepted by the communities they live in through extensive sensitization and counseling services conducted through Music dance and drama. Improved family and community cohesion. There is remarkably better sharing of household tasks, reduced domestic violence, and greater appreciation for women/girl child rights
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