Samuel, 52, is a refugee from South Sudan in Mungula II refugee settlement, in Adjumani district. He is the chairperson for Togoleta Farmers Group formed by DRC under the Support Programme to the Refugee Settlements and Host Communities in Northern Uganda (SPRS-NU).
Samuel is one of the beneficiaries of the Enabling Rural Innovation/Participatory Agroenterprise Development training, as well as a member of the Innovation Committee.
“Before the intervention of this programme we were digging in our 30 by 30 plot of land as individual homesteads. We could produce only for home consumption with little or nothing to keep for food security and income generation. This was due to lack of land, inadequate knowledge and skills in agronomy, poor access to extension services, tools, and inputs among other things that we struggled with,” Samuel says.
“Things changed for us in March 2017. When the project was introduced to us, we approached one of the landlords as a group and were granted access to 5 acres of the landlord’s land. Later, I got back to the landlord personally and I was granted access to 2 acres of the land,” Samuel continues.
“Through Enabling Rural Innovation/Participatory Agroenterprise Development (ERI/PAED) training introduced to us, I gained a lot of knowledge and skills from its 5 modules, especially Participatory Diagnosis, Farmer Participatory Research, and Enterprise Development, which enlighten on how to get to the desired situation, how to farm for business, modern agronomic practices, and business development. All this has taken me a step ahead and triggered me to get to my dream and to save for the future,” stresses Samuel.
Overall, this programme made a significant impact on the participants’ livelihoods both at the group and household levels as it addressed such issues as access to arable land to farm for food and nutrition security, receiving seeds and knowledge, gaining new skills, and generating income through selling their production and through saving for the future.
“As we went along, they also brought in the training on group dynamics, Village Savings and Loan Association, post-harvest handling, and exposure visit. In 2018, as a group, we planted 75 kilograms of beans using the ERI (Enabling Rural Innovation) skills and harvested 500 kilograms. In 2019, I received 10 kilograms of beans from the group, planted them and I harvested 300 kilograms under proper agronomic practices and made 1,050,000 UGX during the first season. In the second season of 2019, I planted 15 kilograms of beans and maize and harvested 700 kilograms of beans and 1000 kilograms of maize,” explains Samuel.
“This has made life easy for me and my family especially during this hard time of COVID-19,” concludes Samuel.
The global COVID-19 spread followed by the country lockdown took refugees and their host communities by surprise. Suddenly, many of them found themselves left with no income generation source and struggling to make their and their families living. Thankfully to DRC programming in the livelihoods sector and its donors' support, persons of concern participating in DRC activities found a way to face the challenges brought by the pandemic with resilience and hope. Currently, DRC continues operating continuously adapting its programming to the coronavirus situation to identify persons of concern needs, provide them with necessary support and assistance, and keep them and the staff safe and informed. All activities comply with the WHO and Ministry of Health of Uganda guidelines.
Danish Refugee Council in consortium with ZOA, Ceford, and Save the Children implements the Support Programme to the Refugee Settlements and Host Communities in Northern Uganda (SPRS-NU). In Adjumani refugee settlements, there were formed 244 livelihoods groups comprising 3,050 refugee and 3,050 host communities’ members. These livelihoods groups receive the Enabling Rural Innovation/Participatory Agroenterprise Development training, quality farm inputs, climate-smart agriculture training, Village Savings and Loan Association training, support to form linkages with the private sector, support to form producers associations, income generating activity support, as well as learning from experiential establishment.
This programme is funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund.