Agriculture is an important sector in Uganda, but despite this there is a big problem with when it comes to food security. One of the main causes of food insecurity is the low ability to access and use productive resources, such as land and water for food production. This problem affects many people in Uganda, especially those who are already more vulnerable, such as people with a disability. Hence the We are Able! programme, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wants to strengthen food security for people with disabilities by creating an enabling environment for right-to-food action at grassroots level.
Godwin (37) lives on his farm in Uganda together with his wife and five children. The oldest of the children, Maria, has a physical disability but still does many chores around the house. “Previously I worked for a bus company, but surviving with what I was being paid was difficult,” Godwin says. “So, I decided to go into farming.”
We are Able!
A meeting was held in the community center of Godwin’s village to create awareness about the We are Able! programme. Friends of Godwin encouraged him to join and as a result he entered the programme himself. He took part in a training for ‘Farmer Innovators’ and learned a lot, like how the get the most out of your field, how to plan for the future and, most importantly, that persons with disabilities can do a lot! He has become able to create work for himself, such as starting a shop to sell his cash crops, and bring hope to his loved ones. Now the whole family works all together.
“At the same time, there are also some challenges I have to deal with,” Godwin says. This involves changing weather patterns, remote water points, a limited market for maize and the onset of pests and diseases affecting plantations. Although these challenges can’t be tackled that easily, Godwin is optimistic that with what he is learning in this project, he is able to develop his farm in a resilient way, making positive changes where possible. “People from the community come to visit me in order to learn,” he says. Godwin now mentors many farmers. The visitors also bring along customers with them, so it has become a win-win situation.
It is not only Godwin’s farming techniques that inspire people. The We are Able! programme has specific attention for people with disabilities, such as Maria. This has enabled Maria to experience training herself and to further contribute to the homestead, thereby becoming more able to manage her own life. This in turn, has inspired community members to involve people with disabilities more in the daily running of farms, seeing that they can manage very well.
Godwin is very appreciative of everything he has learned and gained so far as he has seen his life change for the better!