Today we drove three hours from Kampala to Kiboga in central Uganda where we completed our month long marathon to visit our projects. I feel like I really short-changed our Women’s Vegetable Cooperative, because I have a terrible cold and was not feeling well enough to engage as fully as I normally like to do. However, we were happy to hear from several farmers about how this cooperative has impacted their families and their incomes in a very significant way.
Kotilda is a maize farmer who is the caretaker of 7 children of her own and 4 grandchildren. Since becoming a member of the cooperative three years ago and through trainings in agriculture and micro loans, she was able to increase her income from $3.00 per month to $114.00 per month! She has two acres of land and plans to use her profits to rent two additional acres and to begin growing beans, as well.
Mariam told us that her relationship with her husband has improved now that she can share in the responsibilities. The ability to earn and/or to increase income has many other ways of impacting families.
Several women spoke of seriously significant income increases, but the most dramatic is Lovina. She is a widow that inherited 10 acres of land from her husband. She used a loan to buy seeds and planted beans, cassava, maize and bananas. Her farm is used as a demonstration farm for other farmers. She grows new varieties of colorful beans and sells some of them as seed to other farmers. Her income has increased from $86.00 per year to $1050.00 per year! She used her profits to buy three acres of land at the trading center in town where she plans to build a small shop.
The variety of produce grown is quite impressive. One group of women set up baskets of multi-colored beans, mangoes, maize, avocadoes, eggplant, greens and bananas. The cooperative has much work to do, but they are off to a spectacular start with the help of our partners at Action For Rural Women’s Empowerment. We are grateful to have so many incredible partners across our 12 projects!