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The KadAfrica Experience: Building a Girl-Powered Passion Fruit Value Chain for Peace, Prosperity, and Planet in Western Uganda

An end-to-end, market based solution for out of school girls to become economic drivers of their communities through agribusiness.

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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional Beneficiary Feedback in this field

Explain your project idea in two sentences.

The KadAfrica Experience equips girls with knowledge, skills and assets to begin their own passion fruit farms, coupled with a life skills curriculum to develop girls into well-rounded agripreneurs.

What is your organization name? Explain your organization in one sentence.

KadAfrica Estate Ltd is an agribusiness in Western Uganda empowering out of girls through farming.

Is this project idea new for you or your organization? If no, how much have you already executed on?

KadAfrica previously operated our integrated life-skills and agriculture programming with NGO partners. In August 2015 we launched a successful, year-long pilot of our revised KadAfrica Experience program and are now ready to scale to two new districts and more than 5000 girls over the next 5 years.

What is the problem you aim to solve with this idea? How would you define this problem as urgent and a priority in your target community?

In rural Uganda few livelihood options exist for young women; due to cultural bias, they have limited access to resources. Their economic prospects are further affected by high attrition from school, and pressure to marry young and raise children—often leading them to chose risky livelihood options.

What is the timeline for your project idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

1) Conduct HCD focus groups with current and potential beneficiaries to refine level of engagement, most valuable lessons to be taught, and goals they would like to achieve in the program; 2) Recruit a minimum of 3,000 girls and necessary staff for quality assurance; 3) Transition 30% of beneficiaries into Alumni Grower Program with access to loan financing to continue/expand personal farms 4) Acquire an additional mobile pulp processing unit to grow value-add component alongside growers.‬

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of responsibility).

KadAfrica has an "OSG" (out of school girls) team who implements our KadAfrica Experience program. This consists of trained peer facilitators and certified agronomist who teach and monitor each site. The curriculum is managed by our Program Manager and program oversight by our Program Director.

What do you need the most support with in this project idea?

  • Team/Leadership Model

What is your primary goal over the next 6 weeks of Refinement?

  • Learn to measure and grow project results

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) results for this project?

We conduct a Pre-Program Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) survey, establishing a baseline for household indicators, awareness on gender issues, health, financial literacy and agriculture. At the end of the KadAfrica Experience Curriculum, a Post-Program KAP survey is conducted to assess initial impact and continually on a quarterly basis after that. We also track each girls' individual savings, earnings and harvest yields from passion fruit sales monthly.

How has your project proposal changed due to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase?

Beneficiaries note they now have knowledge on issues and would like to see changes in their communities. This has lead us to develop a new lesson on advocacy—what it means, identifying key stakeholders, and developing a plan for change. Further, to address graduates' concerns over access capital, we will create a loan program for girls in our Alumni Grower Network to expand their farms.

(Optional) What are some of your still unanswered questions or concerns about this idea?

How can we ensure girl’s continue to be the creators and visionaries of the program and determine best ways it should be implemented? What is the best way to transition girls from the KadAfrica Experience into being independent growers participating in our Alumni Grower Network? How can we build the greatest loyalty among our girl-powered supply chain so that we can ensure the consistent volumes necessary to move into value addition?

During this Improve Phase, please use the space below to add any additional information to your proposal.

In our proposal we focused on the core element of our business: an innovative way of addressing the lack of resources and economic opportunity facing out of school girls in rural Uganda. However, we did not highlight within the provided format is KadAfrica's background, our greater business operations, and how girls are key players in a whole value chain we have worked for 5+ years establish and grow. KadAfrica did not start as the commercial scale social enterprise it is today; what began as a venture into horticulture farming quickly failed due to poor market linkages and trader price-setting. We learned that 10 crops accounted for 90% of the small holder production in Uganda—this lack of crop diversity combined with the dissolution of farming cooperatives during the political turmoil of the 80’s meant that farmers were driving their prices down, and agreeing to sell produce at sub-prime rates because they were unaware of the correct value and their collective influence. This failure taught us a key lesson—regardless of education or socioeconomic background, traders dominate the markets in Uganda and the lack of government price protection means that farmers are not favored; on average farmers earn 40% less than market value which has created a culture where farming is not viewed as a viable and sustainable business. To overcome this young people often sell land assets in favor of rural to urban migration creating further environmental stress on cities. We went back to the drawing board, conducted market research, and learned that 70% of the fresh passion fruit in Uganda is imported—though it is among the top 3 fruits consumed in the country. More interesting, was that among the four major fruit juice producers that dominate the market, 90% of their passion fruit pulp is sourced from Asian markets. Passion fruit has a long shelf life, high value, and it grows upwards on vines making it an ideal smallholder crop. The market for both smallholder and commercial scale passion fruit was ripe for opportunity; and the high altitude, black soils, and heavy rainfall in the Ugandan highlands made for the perfect growing conditions. KadAfrica does engage communities with the goal of influencing subsistence farmers to exclusively grow passion fruit; our goal is to introduce a crop that can be grown within existing smallholder farms as a cash crop to supplement household income while not displacing existing food supply. The KadAfrica Experience program is one of four interconnected business lines that comprise KadAfrica’s operations. We have taken our failures and transformed it into a full-scale value chain that gives girls a voice as agripreneurs and economic participants in their communities. KadAfrica operates the KadAfrica Estate—a fully irrigated and solar powered mixed horticulture farm of 23 acres with an emphasis on passion fruit farming. We practice seasonal crop rotation, utilize greenhouse nursery facilities to provide farmers across Uganda with the highest quality grafted seedling, and offer trainings in sustainable horticulture and passion fruit growing to farmers from across Uganda. We generate revenue through these trainings as well as the production of fruit and vegetables and sale of seedling. KadAfrica also operates a Community Based Grower program for KadAfrica Experience Alumni and their families to participate as contract-based farmers in our supply chain. This includes a revolving loan fund for Alumni growers to access capital to expand their farming ventures should they choose to continue after program graduation. Beginning in July 2017 KadAfrica has secured funding and equipment to pilot processing passion fruit into pulp for sale as a commodity both domestically and on the international market. The volumes of passion fruit produced by our girls, Alumni, and own farm has reached the necessary amounts to now sustain a 1.5 ton facility, and we are excited to launch our production next month. This move will both increase market resilience and allow for a higher purchase price (and thus income for girls) that is available in local markets. KadAfrica Experience girls are not growing passion fruit instead of farming other crops; they learn how to integrate passion fruit farming into their current routines for surplus income. Unemployment in the Rwenzori region exceeds 70%; ‪among girls we work with 37% noted that they identify as a peasant or housewife, and 41% engage in subsistence farming. ‬We have only had one girl (out of more than 1,800) who reported formal employment before joining the program; she worked as a cook at a local canteen. KadAfrica is a learning opportunity, a social circle, and a source of supplementary income. And much like the regional coffee or tea growers, should girls choose to continue growing passion fruit, they are guaranteed a market for their fruit by participating the fruit pulp value chain—rather than competing and saturating the open market.

Note that you may also edit any of your previous answers within the proposal. Here is a great place to note any big final changes or iterations you have made to your proposal below:

In addition to amendments to the proposal itself, we have uploaded supporting documents to further illustrate our process used in creating and refining our program. The foundation of our vision is based upon a bottom-up design process: our program is for girls, designed by girls, and intended to both empower out of school girls and shift the environment around them. To create real change you cannot just engage a girl—you have to create an enabling environment around her so that she is able to thrive. We have included the prototyping plan and tools, as well as our focus group discussion guides we used when designing the KadAfrica Experience pilot in 2015. Based on the feedback received, we created a program that was fun, interactive, and interweaved agriculture and life skills training with the purpose to give girls resources and knowledge that will last post-participation with the KadAfrica Experience. Girls noted that the primary pull factor for joining would be the agriculture skills they would gain, and social camaraderie—particularly through collectively saving—so we made sure these are the first lessons provided. Further, we specifically added the family engagement component of the KadAfrica Experience based on the suggestions and guidance from the girls we prototyped with. They wanted three lessons a week; they felt they could commit 1-2 hours a session, but knew that their families would be more approving of the time spent outside the household if they too could gain. One exercise we conducted was particularly influential in this thought process—the perceptions of money exercise we conducted had girls chose a happy/neutral/sad face to describe reactions of various stakeholders to life events. One girl noted that the community and her family would be sad if she was farming passion fruit and happy if she was pregnant. When probed further she explained that she is just a girl; farming passion fruit would represent success and this meant that the community would be sad because she should not be successful. If she had a baby they would be happy because it confirmed she had failed. This made us recognize the value of girls’ perceptions; girls know what they want, and they know the pieces necessary to succeed in achieving their goals. Buy-in from the family and surrounding community was overlooked in our initial design but quickly integrated as a key component after this session. The results of this particular exercise have also been uploaded. The girls we prototyped with also explained that in order to be taken seriously by the community they would need a uniform; farming is not seen as a reputable profession—but a group of girls working, saving and learning together could be viewed with status among their communities and peers. We created a bright purple uniform and in the process noticed that most of the girls cover their hair in the farm, so we also included a green patterned headscarf. Girls loved it—they explained that now people look over at the group of girls in purple and exclaim "who are they?" and the community knows, "those are the KadAfrica girls!" Girls are our creators; and safeguarding them from physical, economic and social threats is at the core of the KadAfrica Experience. Every six months we conduct a check-in and prototyping session with the cooperatives who have just finished their 6-months of curriculum training. This has led to new lessons—such as adding a nutrition and clean drinking water component after we identified that over 90% of girls noted they did not have regular access to clean water. Or, in the case of the latest prototyping session conducted during the refine stage of this challenge, the addition of an advocacy lesson so that girls can advocate and create change in their and a revolving loan fund for Alumni interested in continuing with passion fruit cultivation. The KadAfrica Experience is designed to economically and socially empower the girls we work with. Lessons were developed with the goal that girls who participate and graduate our program can move more independently and informed within their world. Our curriculum includes, but not is limited to topics on health, business and cultivating more than passion fruit. Most of our girls note they transfer their learnings from KadAfrica into their household through adding healthier options into their dietary practices; saving and managing earnings for emergencies that may arise, paying schools fees for children, or investing in business opportunities; or having the knowledge to spot diseases in household farms and best ways to manage crops.

KadAfrica is an innovative agribusiness that uses passion fruit farming to empower out of school girls in Western Uganda. By equipping girls with knowledge, skills and assets to begin their own sustainable passion fruit farms, they become financially literate, entrepreneurial leaders generating income through agribusiness. Girls progress through a fun, integrated curriculum alongside their peers and families, becoming well-equipped to both make and afford responsible decisions for themselves and their children—breaking the poverty cycle and building stronger, more prosperous, and equal communities. 

For further information about our market based approach to empowering out of school girls visit www.kadafrica.org.

Explain your idea

Economic dependence is a primary injustice facing out of school girls. With the world’s youngest population and endemic unemployment, family resources in Uganda are stretched and girls do not get the same opportunities as boys. Less than 50% of girls complete primary school and less than 1% finish secondary school in rural areas; once a girl leaves school she is less able to seek resources. With prevalent teenage pregnancy and the highest HIV/AIDS rate nationwide, there is a vulnerable population of girls in Western Uganda engaging in risky behaviors like sex-work or early marriage. KadAfrica provides knowledge, skills, and assets to out of school girls in Western Uganda to begin their own passion fruit farming cooperatives so that these previously unemployed young women avoid risky livelihood options and pregnancy to instead become financially literate, entrepreneurial leaders generating income through agribusiness. The “KadAfrica Experience” is a 2.5-year farming program where girls engage with their peers and families. Girls will join our program in cohorts of 90, twice a year (August and February). Our Community Engagement Manager leads recruitment in local communities alongside church and community leaders—identifying where girls are interested and then finding available land. In each community a Peer Facilitator will be identified who enters a month of intensive agriculture, health, and savings curriculum training. At the same time, girls will be organized into cooperatives of 30 and provided with a 3-acre plot of land. As they progress through a fun, technical and integrated curriculum, they receive a farm start-up kit with chemical inputs, tools, 60 seedlings, and an additional 10 for their families. Girls take classes in financial literacy, life-skills, gender, reproductive health, and farming; and they form savings groups where they learn how lend and borrow. Further, we hold bi-monthly Family Farm Days to engage the community as girls progress through our program and provide them with an opportunity to teach agricultural practices they have learned. KadAfrica provides a ready market for 100% of girls' fruit, then bulks, grades, packs, and transports fruit for processing at an approximate 5x value increase—covering program costs and ensuring sustainability. Graduates become part of the larger KadAfrica Experience Alumni Network; they are encouraged to replicate their agro-enterprises, and can receive loan financing to continue their farms. Girls will have increased economic empowerment and be less likely to engage in risky behaviors or early marriage for financial reasons. KadAfrica doesn’t move on; our success is directly tied to the yields of our girl-growers and we are vested in continued support, agriculture training, and providing market linkages to further a triple bottom line. Girls benefit beyond the project cycle through investment in other ventures, continued savings, or using profits to return to school.

Who Benefits?

The KadAfrica Experience targets out of school girls aged 14-22 from Rwenzori Region of Western Uganda. Approximately 25% will be married, 45% will have had at least one child, and all will be earning less than $2 a day prior to joining KadAfrica’s program. In general, this income will have come from subsistence farming, with little to no formal employment outside of the seasonal plucking of tea at local tea estates. Beyond learning the skills necessary to cultivate export quality fruit, girls will experience an average increase in income generation from $3-$18 per month that they will learn to save, budget, invest responsibly in their own and their family’s future. At project completion 100% of girls will have set personal goals and feel capable of achieving them, 90% will have regular access to menstrual hygiene products, and 95% will have the confidence, knowledge and resources to address health related issues.

How is your idea unique?

KadAfrica’s approach is holistic and uncharted: addressing girls’ lack of opportunity requires a sustainable multifaceted intervention achieved by integrating business and social innovation. Unlike many agricultural development organizations, we provide a guaranteed market for growers. Additionally, because land ownership in Uganda is patrilineal, we uniquely address this lack of resource issue by sourcing land for our cooperatives through local churches/land owners—which, in-turn, is sub-leased free of charge to our girl farmers so they can utilize land outside of the influence of relatives/landlord to generate protected income. There are organizations offering singular elements of our programming, however there are none that pull together all KadAfrica will provide girls: savings, gender-specific curriculum based trainings, technical agriculture training and assets, coupled with the direct establishment of an agribusiness and a guaranteed, ready market for 100% of production.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.
  • Full-scale roll-out: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the users I am trying to reach with my idea. I am ready to expand the pilot significantly.

Tell us more about you

KadAfrica is social enterprise and commercial passion fruit farm in Fort Portal, Uganda that, since founding in late 2012, has successfully trained more than 1,800 out of school girls between the ages of 14-24 through its innovative and proprietary programing. By partnering with with local religious institutions and large landholders, we provide communities and churches with a sustainable way to utilize land assets to benefit the community while innovatively maintaining the integrity of private land holdings. Further, by using this model, KadAfrica can expand without the hefty overhead costs of land acquisition. As a young social enterprise, KadAfrica’s approach presents a cost-effective, tried and tested alternative to the large aid-focused interventions. We are results oriented, with a proven track record of implementing projects quickly and dynamically—with real, individual-level impact. The KadAfrica Experience will not only provide a market-based approach to transforming the lives of thousands of girls—it does so with value for money. Any prize award granted through the BridgeBuilder Challenge could support thousands of girls to complete the KadAfrica Experience while collectively earning a 3x return on investment per girl over the 2.5 year project period. This impact will not end when funding ceases. By employing a market-based approach to empowering out of school girls, KadAfrica will be able to cover the cost of future participants through the purchase, resale, and processing of fruit. KadAfrica has received top entrepreneurship training through the Unreasonable Institute, SPRING Accelerator, and Acumen East Africa Fellowship. We have also undergone Human Centered Design training from fuseproject, which we have incorporated into the core of our organizational strategy to constantly improve our curriculum, delivery, and metrics and to allow the KadAfrica Experience girls to directly contribute to program and curriculum design and implementation through a 360 degree feedback process. Our team has 20+ years experience in working in gender specific programs and agribusiness in Africa. KadAfrica's founder is the youngest winner of the African Food Prize for his work empowering out of school girls. Our Managing Director specializes in Monitoring and Evaluation and utilizes her impact evaluation and HCD experience to track and evaluate our results for maximum girl-impact. KadAfrica's Program Director has 7 years experience working to scale women-owned SMEs and empower them economically. Our Program and Community Engagement Managers bring their experience in M&E, reproductive and public health, and community mobilization to engage local communities. Certified agronomists manage all aspects of agricultural training and our sales agent buys and resells passion fruit from our girls. Peer Facilitators are members of the communities where we work; they serve as ambassadors, aiding in recruitment, program facilitation, and mentorship.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered social enterprise.
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Attachments (10)

Irrigation Lesson.pdf

Sample lesson on using recycled plastic water bottles for drip irrigation from our agriculture curriculum.

Money Management and Budgeting Lesson.pdf

Sample lesson from our life-skills curriculum.

KadAfrica Experience Agriculture Curriculum Table of Contents.pdf

This is the table of contents for the agriculture portion of the KadAfrica Experience curriculum.

KadAfrica Experience Curriculum Table of Contents.pdf

This is the table of contents for the life skills elements of the 6-month KadAfrica Experience curriculum.

Completed Worksheets_Perceptions of Money_Doreen.pdf

Completed perceptions of money worksheet from our pilot prototyping session that helped us understand the value of family engagement.

KadAfrica Experience_Prototyping_Worksheets.pdf

Interactive worksheets used by girls during prototyping sessions.

KadAfrica Pilot Research_FGD_Guide.pdf

FGD guide used in pilot prototyping session.

KadAfrica Experience Research Plan.pdf

Research design for pilot prototyping session.

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Hi Rebecca and Team! We’re excited to share with you feedback and questions from the BridgeBuilder team and an external set of experts. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

Based on expert career, work and experience, is this a new approach or bold way of answering the challenge question:
• There are many private enterprises developing in different parts of the world that seem to offer financial hope to insecure communities. This one is in a country with a high youth population, rich in natural resources, in a region subject to violence and political instability, partly because of struggles over natural resources. This initiative seems to offer a safe place and secure income to young women at risk. However, the project defines them as recipients, workers and suppliers, not creators. and locks them into a business model dependent on a single crop instead of supporting them to increase their knowledge of and competence in food diversity in the face of climate change. Would love to see the proposing organization consider how they might further empower their recipients, both in grant proposals and the work itself.
• While it combines a range of approaches frequently employed in other programs, the overall approach is unique.

Desirability and Viability of proposal:
• This is a very strong proposal-- the nuanced responses could serve as a template for how to adequately address project M&E, how the project is unique/innovative, and how the project aligns with the competition challenge. While not required, more information on the curriculum, feedback process, and challenges experienced thus far in initial program iterations could strengthen the proposal further.
• The plan sounds good - what could be better than enabling 5,000 young women to become better informed about their circumstances, to improve their livelihoods and to become part of the modern world? But do rural communities in Western Uganda need 5,000+ passion fruit growers who are dependent on purchased seed and chemical inputs? While the idea seems plausible for the business owners and staff, it is likely to be less plausible for the girls, who may be compelled to participate by their families and local leaders. It's not completely clear how viable the business is because of dependence on a single crop, lack of climate change strategies, and the possibility of gender based violence. We find it to be a strong proposal, but would love to see the organization address these potential flags.

Feasibility of proposal (is this an idea that could be brought to life?):
• While this initiative has a 'social benefit' element, the project adopts the 'Green Revolution' approach, without consideration of local biodiversity, seeds and food systems, or tracking the impact of pesticides. There is a chance (and I do not mean to generalize here) that the girls are do not necessarily want to be part of this agricultural system, but feel pressure – would hope to ensure that this organization is considering that risk
• Yes, I see it as feasible, definitely. Would like more information on challenges specific to passion fruit, or the potential impact that 5000 new entrants might have on the passion fruit market (i.e. is the market large enough to sustain new growers without causing a significant drop in demand/price).

Other questions or suggestions our experts felt would support the assessment or success of your idea:
• Many studies on food and agriculture among smallholders in Africa show the importance of crop diversity, soil fertility, and sustainable practices. Is KadAfrica holding conversations with the girls about sustainable agriculture, as well as women’s land and food rights? Is KadAfrica informed about sustainable agriculture in Uganda, and the options for diversity of crops in its business model? If not and there is more research to be done, key organizations in Uganda with knowledge of these issues are: Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), Action for Rural Women’s Empowerment (ARUWE), St Jude’s College for Agroecology, East and Southern Africa Smallholder Farmers Forum (ESAFF) with a chapter in Western Uganda.

In case you missed it, check out this Storytelling Toolkit for inspiration for crafting strong and compelling stories: http://ideo.to/DXld5g. Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - June 16 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.
 
Have questions? Email us at bridgebuilder@ideo.com.
 
Looking forward to reading more!

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Team

Thank you OpenIDEO for the great feedback. We have updated our proposal and supporting documents. As well as provided feedback to the reviewer comments below. These are divided into the different sections of your review, and we have done our best to have bullet points correlate to the comments and questions.

Regarding the feedback on the KadAfrica Experience being a bold way of answering the challenge question:

• The KadAfrica Experience Program is 100% girl powdered. All components of the program stem from the girls’ own visions, which KadAfrica has brought to life. Upon establishment of this project, we conducted human-centered design focus groups with over 1500 girls, within our district, to better understand what drives their decisions’, the type of supportive elements to develop in order to address girls’ needs and desires making them empowered young women and entrepreneurs, and ways to involve their families to support them throughout their participation. The information gathered through these focus groups dictated the development of the KadAfrica Experience Program. We are constantly revising our curriculum and training methods to better suit their needs based on their input. For example, a previous cooperative asked their Peer Facilitator what are the best ways to get safer water in their homes, realizing this critical life skill was not a part of our existing curriculum we then created a lesson on safe water management.

More importantly, we want our beneficiaries to feel empowered from their participation in KadAfrica, which will also increase program retention rate. Our life skills and agriculture curriculums teach the girls transferable skills they can use beyond their program participation. Lessons are complemented with greater business components such as creating a business plan, calculating profit and loss, understanding available markets, and supply and demand. Sixty-four percent of graduates have noted they want to take these skills and apply them to other ventures after graduation; approximately 15% have opened hair salons, started shops selling quick moving consumer goods, or even childcare facilities. Others have decided to continue with passion fruit farming or other agriculture ventures such as growing chilis or rearing goats. Further, we emphasize to girls why passion fruit is an ideal crop to grow as it grows upward along a vine, it leaves room for farmers to grow ground dwelling crops like onions, cabbages, or chilis within their passion fruit farms for additional income or subsistence farming.

KadAfrica’s goal is to give a vulnerable population the opportunity to gain knowledge and resources to make healthy life choices while being economically empowered.

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Team

Regarding the feedback on the desirability and viability of proposal:

• As mentioned in our amended proposal, our program and curriculum topics were designed directly by the girls via rapid prototyping sessions and HCD focus group discussions. Attached in the supporting documents are the materials we used to conduct these sessions, as well as examples of our curriculum. The curriculum has gone through various iterations based on girl feedback and final exam, assessing learnings, results, and individual feedback. We’ve added new lessons, edited existing lessons and re-trained Peer Facilitators to ensure the highest quality of teaching. After final exams are conducted and scored each group meets with our Peer Facilitator, Program Manager and Program Director to discuss what the learned, liked and what improvements should be made.

Our biggest challenge is attitudinal change among the girls; our approach is holistic and integrated and often times at project outset a girl might not understand how all 3 components work together: attendance of agricultural training, life skills, and savings is required for program participation. We’ve had experiences where some girls only want to attend the agriculture lessons with goals of increasing their income—however not learning how to save, budget, or responsibly spend money in the process. We’ve overcome these challenges with an improved orientation process to set expectations of program participation and by ensuring that trainers can best articulate why it’s important for a girl to work hard in her farm, save part of her income for future investment or providing financial assistance to family as well as how to manage her earnings and savings.

• Our goal is to build a girl’s skills so that are not dependent on purchased seed and chemical inputs; the program theory is that they are provided these as assets and resources to launch their own agribusinesses and provided the knowledge to uptake improved farming and overall business practices. After the 6-month growth period, girls begin harvesting and they take 100% ownership over their farms. We find cooperatives setting savings minimums (such as 20% going into a reinvestment fund) that they pool together for continued maintenance of their farms. In addition to this farm start-up bundle, lessons are provided on tiered intercropping for land maximization, sustainable water use and irrigation using recycled water bottles, local fertilization and pest control methods such using available inputs such as chili and ash, and nursery establishment and seedling grafting so that girls are able gain the knowledge to be independent farmers post graduation. Previously KadAfrica Experience cooperatives have utilized these learnings and chosen to intercrop with onions, chilis, beans and/or cabbages to increase their income generated; we have had a girl go on to set up her own seedling company where she earns $100+ every month selling various horticulture seeding in her local community.

• We have not found that girls are pressured to join by the families or local leaders; during our recruitment process approximately 70% of girls present at a recruitment event decide to join, the other 30% feel that the work and time commitment is not for them. As described in our amended proposal, we initially overlooked the family and community engagement element of our program and were encouraged by girls to include it as a way to foster their participation and success. Girls are required to have guardian’s sign a permission letter and obtain a written recommendation letter from their local community leader, but we’ve seen it’s ultimately the girl’s decision if she wants to continue learning throughout the program. Our intention behind signed permission slips from parents and community leaders is for girl safety—before putting this check in place we had an incident where a girl explained that she was struggling to maintain her crop because her husband was hiding her hoe. He did not believe she was participating in a passion fruit program and thought she was cheating on him with another man. This made us recognize our lack of family orientation as a program design flaw. Additionally, permission from community leaders is to confirm that a girl lives within a 30-minute walk of her cooperative plot; this is for safety as we cannot have girls walking long distances with assets, fruit, or money as it puts her at risk. We have a 15% attrition rate, with girls choosing to leave the program because they were not interested in the lessons we provided or did not want to be farmers. More often we’ve seen families pressuring girls not to attend classes so that they can prioritize their household chores over learning. In these cases, our Community Engagement Manager visits the home to discuss with their families how the girl and also the family can benefit from her participation and they work together to come up with a mutually beneficial way forward.

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Team

With regards to the feedback on feasibility of proposal:

• KadAfrica includes lessons on the importance of record keeping; each cooperative is provided a store and elect their own storekeepers. Girls learn how to track their inventory and monitor the usage and application of pesticides within Global GAP standards. Passion fruit does grow locally—it is generally not thought of as a cash crop and you will find a few plants at someone’s homestead for family consumption. We are working to change this perception so that smallholders recognize that they can earn surplus income growing produce within their existing gardens beyond substance agriculture.

Another perception we are working to change is regarding girls in general. Girls in the Rwenzori Region are among the most marginalized in the country. Pastoralist culture in rural areas leads to limited livelihood options for young women—whose value is often associated with a traditional 12-goat dowry price. Thus girls typically become the main agricultural breadwinner while schooling is prioritized for males. Uganda is one of the countries with the highest early and forced marriage. According to UNICEF, 10% of girls are married off before the age of 15 and 40% of girls are married off before their 18th birthday; in the Rwenzori region this rate of marriage before the age of 15 jumps to 15%. Coupled with the fact that Kabarole District has Uganda’s highest HIV/AIDS rate (15.2% compared to a nationwide wide average of 7.1%), out of school girls are particularly vulnerable to the social, economic and health consequences of early marriage. We have protections in place (that have been previously mentioned) to ensure that girls are not being forced or pressured to join our program; through community engagement and events we promote girls as active leaders in their communities. By working to change the greater environment around girls we hope to move the conversation beyond being pressured to join our program—but for girls to be generally viewed as independent decision makers who should not be pressured into decisions that are not their own.

• The primary challenge to growing passion fruit is that people are generally unaware of how to grow it; and because of this they do not necessarily believe it to be a feasible crop for smallholders. Overcoming this attitude it a key first step, followed by proper training on producing quality fruit. Passion fruit can be disease prone—this is partially attributed to poor seed quality and improper nursery techniques that have become rampant in the Ugandan market. The last time seed research was formally conducted at Uganda’s primary research institute was in the mid-90’s and duplicated and ingenuine seed have become the norm (this is not unique to just passion fruit—this is generally an issue in Uganda for most crops as well as chemical inputs as there is no governing body to test and monitor quality). KadAfrica overcomes this by importing seed and grafting our own seedling, which we provide to all our growers and sell to farmers across Uganda. We go beyond making these technologies available, we teach nursery techniques and maintenance as key lesson in our agriculture training curriculum. Other lessons utilized to mitigate disease risk include staking and trellising so that the fruit is not growing on the ground, general pest and disease identification and treatment using both synthetic and organic materials, and proper mulching to ensure water maximization without rotting of root beds,

As for market, it has been estimated that 60 metric tons of passion fruit move through the Kampala wholesale markets every day; unfortunately, no large scale horticulture markets sector study has been but it can be assumed that daily consumption exceeds this amount due to informal production and consumption that never crosses through the large marketplaces. 70% of the passion fruit in the markets is sourced from neighboring countries to meet this demand—particularly Kenya and Burundi. KadAfrica seeks to displace imports with a more cost effective, locally grown alternative. At a monthly production of 12-15 tons we are nowhere close to saturating this gap. Additionally, one of our primary reasons for moving into the processing of is to increase our resilience to market changes. After being pasteurized, pulp can sit for up to a year making it less volatile to price fluctuation and better poised for export. KadAfrica girls will benefit from a sustainable market and a higher price point than locally available by growing specifically within this value chain.

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With regards to other questions or suggestions

• We are very aware of the many studies on African small holders; we hold conversations with the girls about sustainable agriculture and try to ensure that girls are introduced to the locally available resources to help them further their knowledge. As part of our curriculum girls get to meet with three guest speakers; in the past such resources have included a local agriculture radio host, agriculture representatives from the local National Agriculture Advisory Services office and USAID, as well as the Kabarole Sustainable Agriculture Trainers Network, and other successful farmers in their communities. Thanks for the recommendations of locally available resources… we are going to check to see if any of these organizations would be willing to participate in the curriculum as guest speakers!

Women’s rights as a whole is a very prominent section of our curriculum. Topics include healthy relationships, domestic violence, reproductive health resources (ranging from birth control to abortion rights), and asset ownership. Land is a particularly challenging issue for the girls we work with and the core reason for developing our land lease model. In Uganda less than 7% of land is owned by women; this is a key part of the reason we source land for girls as the vast majority do not own land as it has been passed along to a brother or owned by a husband, and they are thus omitted most agriculture training programs. After sharing out their savings, girls have been able to purchase their own land assets with money earned through passion fruit farming, and are provided with mentorship and guidance as to how to protect these assets from male influence for independent ownership.

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