Improving Livelihoods of Communities

Within the Food Security, Nutrition and Incomes theme, VAD is implementing the following interventions:

  • Supporting Sustainable Agriculture program;
  • Enhancing Food Security and Rural Income in Vulnerable Communities
  • Enhancing Family Economic Empowerment program
  • Mainstreaming gender in livelihood programmes
  • Mitigating climate change effects

Supporting Sustainable Agriculture

VAD will support vulnerable communities that are affected by severe floods, crop failure and drought during various times of the year to enhance food security through;

  • Providing livelihood support through provision of farming equipment such as: oxen and ox ploughs and yokes to facilitate ploughing of a sizeable acreage by targeted communities.
  • Provision of improved seed planting materials such as: maize and bean seeds, cassava cuttings, sorghum, groundnuts to improve productivity to farmers among the targeted communities.
  • Mobilization of farmers into groups for training in modern agronomic practices and receipt of extension support.
  • Training Community Agricultural Trainers (CATs) to support farmer groups in the communities with appropriate farming technical skills and agricultural extension support.
  • Undertake monitoring and supervision to ensure compliance to modern farming methods.

Enhance Food Security and Rural Income in Vulnerable Communities

Significant empowerment in the beneficiary communities was achieved during the last strategic plan implementation period. There has been increase in rural incomes in the areas where VAD implemented food security and rural income mobilization interventions. The target communities can afford basic household items such as: sugar, salt, paraffin, books and pencils for their children. It has enhanced the livelihood of the beneficiaries and has also promoted financial literacy to some extent. Beneficiaries are also relatively food secure. Given the continued relevancy of this intervention sub-theme in the community, it has been rolled over to the new strategic plan 2013 – 18. The key planned interventions in this respect shall include the following:

  • Conducting participatory needs assessments and baseline surveys and development of a program for enhancing food security and rural incomes.
  • Developing and disseminating IEC materials and rolling out a capacity building program, to build the capacity of the community to address food security and rural income enhancement.
  • Supporting communities to grow fast maturing and high yielding varieties of crops through supply of seed inputs, agricultural implements and related materials;
  • Promoting adoption of productivity enhancing intensive farming systems like use of manure, mulching, pruning, zero grazing and mixed farming.
  • Promotion of house business model enterprise development – through provision of heifers and goats on a revolving basis.
  • Promotion of commercialization of agriculture through adoption of improved breeds of livestock matching with market preferences, the climatic environment and available feed resources; and,
  • Promotion of value addition to agricultural produce using simple approaches like solar drying.

Enhancing Family Economic Empowerment

Family Economic Empowerment is a sub-theme under Livelihood and Economic Empowerment. Within the Family Economic Empowerment program, VAD will mobilize organized women and youth groups in Wakiso and Amuria districts to start or boost their own income generating projects. VAD will provide start up revolving funds (seed capital) to the organized rural women/youth groups to invest in their identified economic projects hence boosting their income generating projects and improving their social and economic well being. Beneficiaries of this intervention will be trained in enterprise development and group dynamics and development, simple book keeping, leadership skills, record keeping, savings mobilization and micro credit management. It is envisaged that beneficiaries of this intervention will be economically empowered and will be able to take care of themselves and their families. It is further envisaged that beneficiaries of this intervention will acquire some financial literacy skills.

Mainstreaming Gender in Livelihood programmes

As agriculture shifts from subsistence to commercial production, the future of small-scale producers in developing countries depends on their being able to diversify into new income generating activities, including off-farm employment.  Rural women’s employment prospects are severely limited. Like women everywhere, they have primary responsibility for raising children, preparing food, and taking care of sick family members, plus extra burdens, such as collecting fuel wood. Gender roles reduce rural women’s participation in labour markets and confine them to lower paid and more precarious employment in agriculture. As farmers, women grow traditional food crops, while men are more likely to grow cash crops and, therefore, are better positioned to capitalize on new market opportunities. Women farmers face systematic discrimination in access to the resources and services needed to improve their productivity, such as credit, secure land title and education. Gender bias in Uganda limits women’s use of machinery such as tractors, which affects the productivity of farms run by women. Women farmers in some countries have established profitable businesses supplying international markets with organic or fair trade produce. But studies show that women can lose income and control as a product moves from the farm to the market – in Uganda, strong urban demand for leafy vegetables led men to take over their cultivation. When off-farm employment is available – for example as farm labourers or in agro-processing – women continue to suffer gender discrimination. As casual or seasonal labourers, they are usually the first to be laid off. Worldwide, the agro-processing of vegetables, flowers, shrimp, pigs and poultry is carried out mainly by women. Low-paid tasks in agro-processing are generally “feminized”, while men are more likely to have jobs that require training and earn higher wages. Limiting women’s range of occupations has high efficiency costs. It also leads to less investment in girls’ education. Because girls receive less schooling, they are more likely to be employed as poorly paid “bonded labour” on large farms and plantations. Rural wage employment can help women escape from poverty by increasing their income and strengthening their household bargaining power. However, there can be significant trade-offs. In Uganda, young women’s employment in the formal and informal sectors has brought them some economic benefits, but reduced the amount of time they have for communal work and child care. While VAD is to support the livelihood program, emphasis needs to be put on gender issues in the districts of operation to ensure that both males and females equally benefit.

Mitigation and response to effects of climate change sustainable agriculture

 VAD is supporting communities in sustainable agriculture although gains registered in the agriculture support intervention are at times eroded or reversed by severe climatic conditions such as: prolonged severe drought or intensive flooding which washes away planted gardens. VAD as a supportive measure shall build the capacity of communities that are implementing agriculture projects to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.  The following are response measures to the effects of climate change

 Promoting Local Irrigation Technologies to Harvest Water for Production

Adverse weather conditions such as drought that was experienced in Wakiso and floods as were experienced in Amuria district. These events reversed the gains attained in the food security component. VAD interventions recommended for the medium term shall incorporate mitigating interventions to lessen the impact of these weather vagaries and afford the communities the capacity to enhance agricultural production all the year round. The planned interventions shall include;

  • Promotion of local irrigation technologies during severe drought periods farmers like construction of shallow wells from which to draw/pump water for production during the dry season.
  • Promotion of small scale irrigation among the communities in areas with accessible water bodies for example adoption of foot pump and drip irrigation methods to grow crops all-round the year by the communities;
  • Rehabilitation of existing silted dis-used dams to reduce flooding and promote agriculture production.