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Women Farmers Association of Uganda (WFAU)

We use power of grassroot associations to organize, train and facilitate market linkages for women to engage into sustainable farming.

Photo of Macklean Nkamwesiga
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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional insights gathered from Beneficiary Feedback in this field

Why does the target community define this problem as urgent and/or a priority? How is the idea leveraging and empowering community assets to help create an environment for success? (1000 characters)

From the beneficiary survey, we found out that women account for 80%of smallholder farmers and produce 90% of food in Uganda. Yet only 7% women own land and only 1% have land titles in their names. Women receive less than 10%of credit, 5% of extension services and they are not always consulted in decisions regarding their produce. we were told many heartbreaking stories; for example Nakintu who narrated how she faced bleak prospects after her husband passed away. She was kicked out of her home by her in-laws and has no job with which to support her family. Without formal education, she is not optimistic about finding opportunities even casual jobs, because there are not many economic activities engaging women taking place within her village. With this feedback,WFAU believes that leveraging on women's number, grassroot associations and available information technologies will improve an environment and support to help women, improve their livelihoods and close gender gaps in agriculture.

How does the idea fit within the larger ecosystem that surrounds it? Urgent needs are usually a symptom of a larger issue that rests within multiple interrelated symptoms - share what you know about the context surrounding the problem you are aiming to solve. (500 characters)

Our idea is in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal number 1, 2,3, 5,8, 12 and 13 ( no poverty, zero hunger , good health and well being, gender equality , decent work and economic growth, responsible consumption and production plus climate action) and Uganda’s vision 2040 which aims at building on the progress that has been made in addressing the strategic bottlenecks that have constrained Uganda’s socio-economic development since her independence.

How does the idea affect or change the fundamental nature of the larger ecosystem that surrounds it (as described above) in a new and/or far-reaching way? (500 characters)

Organizing women into grassroot farmers associations, training them in good agronomic practices, climate smart agriculture,block farming, financial literacy, collective marketing, occupational health and safety, legal rights and legal Aid will set direct path towards gender equality, hunger and poverty eradication, mitigating effects of climate change and inclusive economic growth. These empowered women farmers will also make an enormous contribution towards the achievement of Uganda vision 2040

What will be different within the target community as a result of implementing the idea? What is the scope and scale of that difference? How long will it take to see that difference and how will it be sustained beyond BridgeBuilder support? (500 characters)

With in 3years,WFAU will have reached over 500 grassroot farmers associations across the country.Through these associations,800000 women will be trained in good agronomic practices, financial literacy, collective marketing and occupational health and safety which will increase their income and improved livelihoods.This will be sustained by funds generated from winning funding competitions, membership subscription fees and interests generated from grassroot women's savings and loans associations.

How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

From our user research, we realized that the challenge of millions of women farmers in Uganda is in finding the way of how to advance, step by step, towards having an equal say in decision-making, property rights (land), running their farm businesses and their lives. To attain this, we realized that women needed one voice which can be achieved by building a democratic and sustainable network of grassroot women farmers associations. Through our user feedback we developed a grassroot development model. Also through our model, women are organized into a network of women grassroot associations to promote national women farmers unity by bringing women in agriculture together, bridging communities, fostering new friendships and creating stronger bonds. This model also helps women to build resilient and consistent women’s farmers community, expand access to empowerment trainings and agriculture extension services.

What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (You can attach a timeline or GANTT chart in place of a written plan, if desired.) (1000 characters)

1. Inception, Analysis and Design: This phase will ensure collection of background knowledge and data needed to provide information and evaluation baseline for the project, identify potential value-chain resources and develop detailed project implementation plans. 2. Formation of grassroot women farmers associations and facilitating their legal registration:This phase will help us to ensure grassroot women farmers associations are formed and recognized by the government in their respective communities. 3. Project Implementation:The phase is the core component of our project and will generate virtually all of the outputs and success indicator products. 4. Project Completion:This phase will ensure promotion of the project approach to other development agents, carry out end-of-project evaluations to provide additional insights and recommendations and develop strategies for continuation of interventions through grassroot women farmers associations to ensure sustainability.

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (Feel free to share an organizational chart or visual description of your team). (500 characters)

The project idea will be led by the National Coordinator, district coordinators and project team who have great experience working in agricultural sector. We shall rely on local and international partners who have the expertise and are relevant to our activities. We shall also well rely on the competence of government institutions.

What aspects of the idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (500 characters)

WFAU will use support from bridge builder to build management structures and systems to enhance our members and staff capacity, form more 500 grassroot women associations across the country, develop an IoT as a primary source of data and information to strengthen our membership commitment by providing platforms to promote our products and services, connect our members to extension service providers and markets, promote and publicise WFAU as a voice of women in agriculture in Uganda

In preparation for our Expert Feedback Phase: What are three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in your project? These questions will be answered directly by experts matched specifically to your idea and needs.

For sustainability purposes, we facilitate women to form Grassroot Women Farmers Associations in their villages under their own leadership. Though our approach have proved successful, with almost 95% responding to our trainings and services, the majority of women farmers are illiterates; cannot read and write or speak and listen to English where most of instructions are communicated. For example; out of 4.7 million illiterate populations, women constitute 64% and majority of these women are farmers. Uganda is also a multilingual country with 53 ethnic groups speaking more than 40 local languages. Only 8% of the Ugandan population can communicate in English which is an official language and about 92% of women in villages cannot speak, read or write English language so our questions includes; 1. How could Women engage in farming as a business when the majority of them are still illiterates? 2. How possible will it be for women to unite as one voice in the country when they cannot speak or read and write in one common language? 3. How could women work together to achieve a total independence and self reliance when men in communities are not properly sensitized about human rights and why women must have freedom to make their own choices in life?

Final Updates (*Please do not complete until we reach the Improve Phase*): How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

We have realized that there is still a big number of illiterate population of women and have devised an innovative training techniques like hands-on demonstrations and farm field schools that emphasize teaching by seeing and doing and using comic and illustrations to provide visual means to share and disseminate information to ensure that illiterate women can also equally benefit from our trainings. We have also realized the importance of partnering with men organizations that are willing to voice out our opinion. Therefore we have approached and secured support of men from Elders Forum of Uganda and Inter-Religious Council of Uganda as our partner to help us voice out the interests and opinion of women farmers in communities and Puliida as our partner to provide free legal information, guidance and support to grassroot women. We have therefore modified our idea based on our beneficiary research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Uganda is an agriculture-based economy and is regarded as a food basket in the Eastern African region. Agriculture accounts for approximately 24 % of GDP. 81 % of the female labor force and 67 % of men work in the sector. Despite the main role played by women in agriculture, it is estimated that only 7 % of them own and control the use of land. Women’s rights tend to be limited to access, whereas men are more inclined to enjoy the ownership rights and ultimately control the proceeds from the land. Uganda received a score of 1 (complete inequality) in the ‘access to land’ SIGI 2012 dimension. Women working in agriculture are more likely not to be paid than those working in non-agricultural work (36 % compared with 4 %). The domains that contribute most to women’s disempowerment in agriculture are lack of leadership in the community and time burden, with control over resources making the third largest contribution to their disempowerment. Women Farmers Association of Uganda works to improve the lives of women through attracting and engaging them in commercial farming. Women Farmers Association of Uganda shall achieve its objectives through a series of activities which include; facilitating the formation of grassroot women’s associations, conducting agronomic trainings to women farmers grassroot associations in their legal rights, group dynamics, block farming, financial literacy, good agronomic practices, post harvest handling and management to enable them start practicing agriculture as a business, conduct annual exhibitions where women will be able to showcase their agricultural products for marketing purposes, conduct annual awards for successful women in agriculture to increase creativity among women, mobilize women into groups for block farming; link the block farmers to financial and insurance institutions. All these activities will lead to increased access to land and finance among women in agriculture hence leading to improved women's incomes and livelihoods.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are women in agriculture

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Most organizations that work to support women in Uganda are not impact oriented, all they do is reach out to communities, get a big number of women and undertake them into just a one or two days workshop and expect them to acquire the necessary skills to develop their enterprises which has proven unsuccessful. The uniqueness in our idea lies in our approach that addresses challenges that limit women’s engagement into agriculture as a business such as limited rights to land, lack of farming skills, limited capital and better markets by offering extensive training to women in their legal rights to land, good agronomic practices, group dynamics, financial literacy, post harvest handling, value addition and record keeping, support them with inputs to set up demonstration farms, link them to better markets, guarantee them to access soft loans and use innovative approaches like social media platforms,mobile phones,on farm training and workshops to provide agricultural extension services.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

The Women's Farmers Association of Uganda is an umbrella organization for women in agriculture in Uganda. Its mandate is to lobby and advocate for an enabling environment that promotes women's engagement in agriculture as a business. Women Farmers Association of Uganda focuses on lobby and advocacy for women’s inclusion in the agricultural sector policies and agribusiness development of womens’ enterprises. Our ultimate goal is to improve women's livelihoods through agriculture.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

As a young woman from the rural village, tradition didn’t allow me, to own land to farm. Whenever I got permission to farm from my husband,he always took control over the profits and undertook decisions on how to spend income from the harvests. I was always challenged whenever I could use the money without his permission first. After attending empowerment training I realized that women can have the same rights to land as men hence formation of WFAU to empower women to demand their full rights.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Planet is impacted by climate change caused by human activities like agriculture. Agricultural activities has reduced forest cover by 46.9 percent over a period of 20 years that has led to a change in the weather patterns and altered farming seasons hence making it difficult for farmers to predict planting seasons leading to a decline agricultural production in Uganda. Peace is influenced by policies and political representation. Women are not equally represented in decision making bodies in Uganda. In local government, men are represented six times more than women meaning that women's issues are not effectively presented when making policies. Prosperity is determined by the control of means of production. In Uganda, agriculture accounts for 22.9 % of GDP. 81 % of the female labor force and 67 % of men work in the sector.Despite the main role played by women in agriculture, it is estimated that only 7 % of them own and control the use of it hence limiting their economic development.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

In implementing our project activities we work with different partners and these include: 1. Research institutions/organizations to help us to generate the necessary data about the status and the conditions of women in their communities. 2. Gender based organizations for advocating for enabling environment in agriculture. 3. Legal Aid organizations for offering legal information, guidance and support to marginalised women in their communities. 4 Donors for financing our project activities. 3. Financial institutions like Banks and insurance companies for credit facilities and other financial services.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Our biggest strength lies in the willingness and commitment of women to work together to bring a complete change of their present situation. Our first call to form this association, we received 317 women from all parts of country and these went ahead to form district and grassroot women farmers associations. Currently we have a total of 434 grassroot associations serving 500,000members from all regions of Uganda within one and a half years of establishment,why?; Because there is a need.

Geographic Focus

Both rural and urban farming communities of Uganda

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

36 months

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Attachments (3)


Document describing the status of women in Uganda and Women Farmers Association of Uganda,s aims and objectives towards improving women's livelihoods


A document describing the roles of women in Ugandan communities, economic and social constraints women face and activities that Women Farmers Association intends to carry out in order to help them in growing, marketing, adapting, caring, connecting and leading.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Charles Zulanas

Great work in mobilizing so many in such a short amount of time! Based on your beneficiary survey, the following are the needs of women farmers:
1. Access to extension services
2. Access to agro-inputs like fertilizers, seeds and herbicides or pesticides.
3. Access to credit facilities
4. On farm training and farming retreats in order to learn from role models
5. To be consulted in the decision-making process
6. Access to market opportunities
Is it solely the government's fault for not providing these services? How are you lobbying in order to gain attention for these issues?
What are ways that women farmers can begin a reformation with women farming in Uganda other than whatsapp and mobile services, and ultimately the app to connect them with experts?

Photo of Macklean Nkamwesiga

Hi Charles Zulanas

Thank you for reading through my idea and raise the necessary questions, so let me try to answer your questions in brief.

1. Is it solely the government's fault for not providing these services?
It is not solely the fault of government for not providing these services. In Uganda, women’s challenges in agriculture are deeply rooted in African traditions that give men power to dominate in the society affairs. These traditions have continued to be reflected in government policies because policy making bodies are dominated by men. For example, the policies concerning agriculture and land use are gender blind/neutral despite women’s larger share of employment in agriculture. These policies focus on households rather than individuals; for example, the national agriculture policy (MAAIF 2013), and the agriculture sector paper (MAAIF 2014) refer to those employed in agriculture collectively as “farmers”. This masks the different experiences of women and men, and fails to take into consideration the gender specific needs of women.

2. How are you lobbying in order to gain attention for these issues?
We are using different methods of lobbying depending on the target institutions or individuals. These include; exerting considerable influence on policy makers by delivering policy issues and engaging in policy advisory forums; taking the lead on government policy consultations by submitting women’s opinion documents, scheduling appointment of Face to Face Meetings with policy makers and donors, making presentations on the issue to influence various policy audiences and donors, organizing conferences, seminars, public meetings and demonstrating women’s problems and possible solutions.

3. What are ways that women farmers can begin a reformation with women farming in Uganda other than whatsapp and mobile services, and ultimately the app to connect them with experts?
We are well aware that not all women can access internet or mobile devices (ICT tools) that we use to deliver our agricultural services. That’s why these ICT tools are secondary in our strategies to reach out to women with the necessary help. Our primary strategy is grassroot women farmers associations. These grassroot women farmers associations are inclusive in nature and enables grassroot female farmers to elect their own leadership, analyze their own problems and decide on the priority actions and design the activities they want to carry out. These grassroot associations also enable the outside technical advice to respond and support the local decisions. In short, these grassroot women farmers associations are administrative channel of the resources from the outside (credit, technical inputs, marketing procedures, etc and also helps to solve language problems since grassroot women communicate in language they understand better.

Photo of Charles Zulanas

Thank you for your response. I'd recommend partnering with other men organizations as well. You are laying great groundwork with creating grassroots women associations for education and support networks, but if the problem is based on African traditions, and not solely the government, you need to provide education for the men as well or find partnering organizations that are willing to voice your opinions to the men for you. I'd recommend finding partnering organizations, which you can convince. These could be religious groups, other community groups that male farmers are involved in, etc. (you would know better than me). Based on your questions about sensitizing men to these issues, you already are looking for solutions for this. To me, it seems like male involvement in some avenue is crucial for maximum effectiveness. Let me know if you have any questions.

Photo of Macklean Nkamwesiga

Hi Charles Zulanas,
I thank you very much for your marvelous recommendations of partnering with men organisations and providing education to men as well.
As it has always been our question, I found your recommendations very necessary if we are to lay a great foundation for our organisation's success.
So I have integrated your recommendations in my idea in this improve fase.

Thanks again

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