OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more


Recent contributions


Contribution list

Recent comments

(3) View all

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.

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.

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.