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Global Fund for Women that supports women movement for gender justice, equity and equality worldwide, in a long-term partnership with Ntulume Village Women Development Association (NVIWODA), has enabled the organization to tremendously change the mindset of women in various districts in Uganda.

In Gomba District – Kabulasoke, NVIWODA under the food security project, and applying various empowering  interventions, ranging from entrepreneurship, agricultural education, creating awareness on gender, land rights, awareness on preventing domestic abuse in relationship, ICTs and supporting the farmers with productive farm tools, seeds,to enhance food production in addition new resource-based modern farming practices and low-cost rain water harvesting tanks technologies has been introduced.

This is aimed at holistically enabling poor rural woman farmer to fully gain knowledge insights that could lead them to overcoming poverty, prevent poor health and sustainably curb down food insecurity.

Educating and supporting the rural women farmers, developed a changed mindset, through using the ladder of life to define the wellbeing of women through education, physical support, mentoring, encouraging and increasing awareness on issues of food insecurity and climatic changes, which were identified during the various baseline and impact surveys combined with various focus group discussions with farmers. All these strategies of interventions are improving effectiveness towards changing the mindset of a rural woman and move her to another ladder.

In these pictures women are discussing how their lives has been three years ago and how it has changed now due to applying good farming natural organic practices, and growing varieties of vegetables using multi storied gardens and other backyard basket gardens in addition to food crops.

In order to achieve positive actions from the women farmer beneficiaries, the NVIWODA team traverses the 11 Parishes of Kabulasoke to closely monitor the food security project.

Women testify that in their community, they are quite unique as they lack no food, because they grow varieties i.e. cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas and vegetable, in addition to coffee for income generation.  “We also rear animals to able us acquire manure to fertilize our soils “they said.

NVIWODA team monitoring women farmers
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On 31st August, 2022, women farmers of Nezikokolima Women’s Group from Kabulasoke sub-county – celebrated their achievements and livelihood successes for participating in the food security program, which is funded by Global Fund for Women (GFW) and implemented by Ntulume Village Women Development Association (NVIWODA).

Under the program women testify that, their partnership with NVIWODA has created inspiring stories of empowerment to celebrate over, and over Ninety households have benefited from the food security program.

Kabulasoke Sub County like other sub-counties in Gomba District, used to experience food insecurity, poor livelihoods, lack of safe water, domestic violence in homes and lack of knowledge on land rights.  Women labored in farming and lacked farming knowledge which affected families living in this area.

In 2012, Ntulume Village Women Development Association (NVIWODA) started activities to empower rural women farmers in two districts of Uganda namely Mpigi and Gomba District.  The organization intervened with a food security program to skill women in knowledge on sustainable and integrated agriculture, aiming at improving their livelihoods and enabling them to tackle food insecurity at home and earn from sale of surplus to earn an income.

NVIWODA trained the women in entrepreneurship, financial literacy, domestic violence prevention and land rights awareness as a holistic approach to empower a rural woman farmer.  

NVIWODA working with community women groups (CBOs) like Nezikokolima Women group and other groups, has helped in   mobilizing fellow women whose lives depend on agriculture.

These are the benefits women groups have gained Considering the and they thought it befitting to celebrate their achievements.  Invited guests included NVIWODA, Gomba District Woman Member of Parliament, who was represented by the former speaker Mrs. Natukunda Olivia Mpuga, Kabulasoke Sub County Community Development Officer Mr. Lubega Godfrey and neighboring Maddu Sub County Mrs. Beatrice Namukasa.  Other invited guests included community local leaders, community members and husbands to the women. 

 These women group members are ardent time keepers and arrived at Kabulasoke Sub County Venue where they were excited to see Ms. Cissy Edith Nyarwa attend the celebration; they say Cissy Nyarwa and NVIWODA gave the women of Kabulasoke subcounty a ray of hope to change their lives for the better. “NVIWODA exhibited hard work and monitored us closely until our lives have changed, we are grateful and happy” one of the women at the function commented.

The Master of ceremonies was Mary Nantumbwe who is also a beneficiary of the program. She was an inspirational speaker, quite active and kept the function and fellow women lively till the end.

There was a surprise for NVIWODA, where the office of Gomba Woman Member of Parliament Hon. Nayebare Sylvia, gave a beautiful Award of Appreciation to Cissy Nyarwa, for fighting for the rights of women through education in food security, wealth creation, human rights awareness, providing farm tools, rain water harvesting tanks, and introducing vegetable growing technologies. in addition to providing seeds. NVIWODA also trained the women in use of digital technologies.

Gomba District is a food stressed area and had cases of domestic violence, generated by failure of husbands to provide for their families, coupled by poverty that culminated into domestic violence. But NVIWODA intervened in the food security at household level and this is what seems to have prompted the office of the District Member of Woman Member of parliament (M.P) who represents all women in parliament and is responsible for legislating for the wellbeing of women

Gomba District Woman MP Hon. Sylvia Nayebare awarded Cissy Edith Nyarwa for her diligence in changing lives of women in her area. Credit goes to entire the NVIWODA members who have become role models of women in development in country.

Happy women celebrating.

Due to the trainings which NVIWODA conducted in Kabulasoke Subcounty, the women testified before the guests the lessons they had learnt as follows: –

  • Time management – “… each time we were late for trainings, we would be fined, this taught us to keep time in all our activities and this has been a baseline for the development of the group”.
  • Dedication: – “… despite the lengthy days of training’s, whatever we do, we never give up on anything and that’s why we are celebrating our achievements!” With a laughter Mary said “…we can now speak English”. Mary added.
  • Confidence- “… I can now enter any office and table the women issues without fear…!”  The Secretary Nezikokolima Women’s group Annet Nakamya told the guests.
  • Through practicing integrated and sustainable agriculture, we organically grow sufficient food for our families and surplus for sale. This was a common testimony among the women.
  • Healthy feeding – “…practicing multistoried vegetable growing gardens while utilizing natural manures and pesticides and consuming micronutrients has boosted our body immunity”. Nantumbwe testified that she produces fertilizer called Bokash and sells it at Ug. 50,000- 60,000 to earn an income. 
  • Increased food production- “… has changed our incomes, as we sale the surplus food, we grow various food crops, Maize, cassava, Bananas and Potatoes, beans, and Groundnuts.  “…We are income generators and we no longer starve, we are able to send our children to school.” Nakuuya said.
  • Domestic violence in our homes has become a tale, as we are now self-reliant.
  • Women learnt how to save and borrow; this has promoted unity and cooperation among women. Borrowing bails, us from problems and enhances our capacity to work harder.
  • “Food security beneficiaries are models within our communities, because our homes have become tourist sites due to changes brought about by NVIWODA” this is partly what women say although, a lot more testimonies were desired to be heard.

Member husband testimonies

Husbands gave moving testimonies before the guests, showing how their wives changed their homes and they feel proud of them.

Pastor Buyinza said “I am here representing my wife, who is suffering from a stroke, before she fell sick, she was a pillar in the home to the extent that I did not know the sources of food in my home, until I began facing challenges in securing enough food for the children.  I have now learnt to grow vegetables, as sauce and this has solved my problem.”

“With rain water harvesting tank provided by NVIWODA, myself and the children, we will be able to grow vegetables throughout the year, so that we do not lack what to eat. Wherever, I go, I collect seeds”, he testified. He gave the guests two rules of life namely cleanliness of our bodies, homes and feeding well.” Life is wealth “he concluded.

He surprised the guests, when he said that when one visits the home of members empowered by NVIWODA, one can notice a difference. He concluded by telling others to “Be the light and teach others.”

Buganda Kingdom Chief – Sabagabo John Mukunya thanked, NVIWODA for empowering women and having a generous heart to help others. He applauded the women for acquiring knowledge, applying it and being practical.

Male Abdallah requested NVIWODA to promote gender equality and involve men in their programs as men also lack knowledge. While Ms.Namukasa Beatrice CDO Maddu Sub County,appreciated NVIWODA for developing women in Kabulasoke Sub County-Gomba District.  She also thanked the women for being able to learn and practice what they had been taught. She hailed training women in self-sustenance compounding them into good leaders.  She added that if a woman has knowledge, there is happiness in a home and domestic violence is reduced.

She emphasized that husbands are also proud when their homes are developed. She concluded by imploring NVIWODA to extend an olive branch to Maddu Sub- County where women are worse off.

 The Community Development officer Kabulasoke Sub County Mr. Godfrey Lubega appreciated Nezikokolima women group for being united and working together.

He also pledged to support women initiatives in Kabulasoke Sub -County by linking them to opportunities in Government programs, so that their families become role models in the whole District, in growth and development.

Voices of women farmers of Kabulasoke Sub- County.

One of the members, Janat testified that “…I am a woman who never bothered about anything but after the training, I envied other women and learnt to practice modern agriculture, which has changed my life “I am going to be rich in near future”.

 Janat’s impact is great, she owns three fish ponds; has a high breed cow, rears chicken and sells chicken products like eggs.   Her grandchildren enjoy a rich breakfast every day. “I have planted over 100 trees of coffee which generate income for me.” Janat said “I do not buy food anymore, because I grow enough for my family and for sale.” She added, “With rain water harvesting tank technology, I will not lack.” She concluded.

 Janat also took us through her stages of development; “…at first, I used to ride a bicycle” she said that later on she bought a motorcycle and hopes to buy a car in future. She also thanked NVIWODA for the ICT trainings because she can now utilize her phone to do business effectively

The Secretary of Nezikokolima women group Annet Nakamya has been instrumental in the success of women in her community.   Nakamya began her journey life in development with NVIWODA in 2006 when she met Ms. Nyarwa who visited Lubaale/ Mpigi Development Project, to train women in juice processing and baking skills.

She testified that she continued to work with NVIWODA after she had been trained, mentored and skilled, despite her low educational level, I am quite a better woman. “I now have no difficulty in speaking English and have continued to attend more workshop’s that have improved my confidence. Annet Nakamya in partnership with Solar Sisters, was a pioneer in marketing solar lamps in Kabulasoke and today every home has a solar system for lighting.

Nakamya also said that training in Integrated and sustainable agriculture and other related programmes conducted by NVIWODA has added to the wellbeing of her family.  “I am self-reliant and run a food catering service as my business in addition to making liquid soap and mushroom growing.” Nakamya added that she is a woman activist in her community and a mobiliser of other women.

She appreciated the CDO’s support and thanked all women who entrusted her to lead them.

Nakamya confidently giving her speech.

Mr. Kawooya Siraj is a husband to NambiJustine who benefitted from training infood security.  During the interview she said that her life has changed. “I rear cows, rabbits, goats, hens, I get manure from all my projects, which has sustained my Banana Plantation.”  She added that she feeds the land for the land to feed her. “I no longer buy food instead I sale to earn income” she said the wheel barrow provided by NVIWODA has helped her in transporting manure to the banana plantation, which is away from home.

At her home, Nambi, had planted carrots in the   multi storied garden. it was well fenced and protected from cows, goats, and ducks.

We also spoke to one of Nambi’s grandchildren- Mutebi Mathew 14yrs who helps her grandmother to feed the goats, hens, rabbits and ducks, whenever she is not around.

Teaching children is another achievement NVIWODA is proud of for sustainability of the program.

Multi-storeyed garden under protection from animals
First on the left Mutebi Mathew 14yrs who helps her grandmother to feed goats ,rabbits, hens when she’s not around.

Mary appreciated NVIWODA, for organizing leadership training for girls together with the women. “This leadership training has given my daughter a wonderful opportunity to learn from senior mothers and she now counsels her fellow students to avoid early marriages and encourages them to study first.” Mary said.

Speech by District Speaker Mrs. Mpuga Olivia Nankunda

Mrs.Mpuga Olivia Nankunda, is one of the thirteen executives of National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), she represented Gomba District Woman Member of Parliament Hon. Sylvia Nayebare.

She thanked NVIWODA and leaders for the good work they are doing for the families in Kabulasoke Subcounty, especially the women who have confidence to support the family.  She presented to Nyarwa Cissy Edith an Award of Appreciation bestowed by the office of the Parliament of Uganda of the Woman MP -Gomba District. 

Nankunda urged women to ensure they wipe out of poverty from their homes and benefit from the new Government Parish Development Model program (P.D.M.). She advised the women to approach the office of the Parish Chief, who is responsible for the P.D.M program at every parish. She also urged NVIWODA to extend services to other sub counties, like Maddu.

Mrs Nankunda handing over the award to Ms. Nyarwa Cissy Edith

Ms. Nyarwa appreciated the Award offered by Hon. Member of Parliament Sylvia Nayebare   and thanked the women for effectively utilizing the grant investment from Global Fund for Women (GFW)

She gave highlights of NVIWODA’s history and said “what you see is what is in it”. She emphasized that her life focus is centered on results. “I sacrifice my time and life to ensure impact is created on women.” Cissy said that she has the drive to see results from her passion irrespective of whether there is funding or not.

NVIWODA is a model for developing the grassroots where many women who have passed through NVIWODA team are unique in development work. “We live as a family and we are proud of our organization which we value handsomely.” Cissy told the guests.

The one-day celebration on the theme “Me to You” ended at 5.00p.m

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sufficient food growth

To Access safe, nutritious and sufficient food for a family is a basic need and is treated as a human right, with a priority given to most vulnerable women who put a meal on table daily. Food security project initiative implemented in Kabulasoke -Gomba, by Ntulume Village Women Development Association (NVIWODA), is linked to economic stability, a long-term health issue of families and women empowerment.

In addition to women groups from Mpigi, ninety (90) women from Kabulasoke Gomba District benefited from the Food Security initiative that has been supported by Global Fund for Women and at the start of the project United Methodist Women funded the project both of U.S.A. NVIWODA programs depend on the availability of funds. The women are drawn from Twenty-four (24) Community-Based Women Groups (CBOS). 

NVIWODA on many occasions invited local authorities at the Gombolola, Community Development Officer – Kabulasoke and some of the Local Councils of the areas and husbands where beneficiaries reside, to participate and witness the activities carried out.

Women underwent classroom theoretical and hands on skills training. Close and regular monitoring of individual households is conducted to ensure value for the resources invested in the women.

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Empowered rural women farmers change communities.

NVIWODA with the long-time support from Global Fund for Women is investing in women’s economic empowerment, setting a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. Women make enormous contributions on farms besides providing food for families they are also entrepreneurs.

NVIWODA delivers unique strategies in empowering rural women to move away from ignorance, and out of poverty. Through training programs women become confident they are role models and leaders in their communities.

Women’s economic empowerment is a powerful lever for change and can drive gender equality.

Josephine uncovers the potential of tomatoes to improve her livelihood.

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Developing leadership skills for rural women CBO’S leaders and young girls of Gomba district was held at NVIWODA headquarters on the 29th of June ,knowledge and understanding of leadership is and responsibilities was gained .Among the participants were young and school dropouts who were affected by Covid 19 Pandemic lock down .Mary{name with held} was raped and impregnated ,the caretakers of Mary didn’t report the incident due to fear of repercussions ,NVIWODA intervened by empowering the leaders and girls in leadership and gender rights .After sharing alot of experience with senior mothers ,Mary received hope for the future .Mary is desirous of going back to school if she finds a sponsor.

Participants received certificates of attendance.

The key to successful leadership today is influence not authority.

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NVIWODA equips its target group of women farmers, members and girls in information and communication technologies to bridge the gap caused by the COVID – 19 Pandemic, the aim of the skilling is to improve the capacities of women/girls to enable them effectively utilize mobile phones, improve communication and their livelihoods .As a result of Women of Uganda Network support to NVIWODA , the organisation continues to empower more women.

In empowering the rural women group networks in digital training enhances communication. NVIWODA reaches out to its beneficiaries in a timely manner and effectively improve communication among the stakeholders.  A number of social media tools are introduced to women; however, women adopted most, the use of Whats app.

Women farmers regularly communicate, document their activities and are able to share with others. For example, NVIWODA trained the farmers in mushroom growing, and during implementation they faced the challenge of the seed not germinating and swiftly communicated through the whats app group and sent pictures of the project. Through discussions on the group the problem was easily rectified.  Janat testified that she was able to market children’s clothes through the whats business App. Questions from the women regarding the agriculture are easily answered by NVIWODA through the group and success stories shared for others to learn.  

Farmers say the group platform is useful to them as it is a source of collectiveness and information access. However, Women say they face challenges in accessing and participation in zoom meetings due to network challenges in rural area and data is expensive.

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