George in his farm

George – a successful innovator

After participating in DRC held livelihoods activities, George now sees himself as a successful innovator who has not only improved his household’s food security but also developed an agricultural business.

George, 36, is a Ugandan resident of Ayilo II refugee settlement, Adjumani district. He is a member of the settlement Innovation Committee and Ourube Farmers Group formed by DRC under the Support Programme to the Refugee Settlements and Host Communities in Northern Uganda (SPRS-NU).

“Before the intervention of the project, I planted 10 seedlings of mangoes, lemons, bananas, and pawpaws (papayas), which have a low life span, mainly for domestic consumption and shade just around the homesteads giving little or nothing to generate income. This was basically due to inadequate knowledge and skills in general tree planting, poor access to advice and services from the sub-county, tools, and inputs among other things with which I struggled,” George says.

Today he sees himself as a successful innovator.

“In March 2017, my life started changing. When the project was introduced to us, I was fortunate to be selected as one of the Innovation Committee members by our livelihoods group. All this has taken me a step ahead and triggered my desire to become a commercial farmer and save for the future. With the abundant acres of land I had, the onsite training on climate-smart agriculture (tree growing), and the field-tree management skills which I obtained during our 2 exposure visits, and the tree seedlings given by DRC, I planted 1.8 acres of fruit trees which expanded to an orchard with different species of fruit trees and 5 acres of tree woodlots with a good survival rate,” narrates George.

Assistance has made a huge impact

Besides the skills on tree planting, woodlot establishment and management, George believes that he also gained huge knowledge on sustainable agriculture and business enterprise development through Enabling Rural Innovation/Participatory Agroenterprise Development training. Overall, this intervention made a huge impact on his livelihoods.

“This intervention has helped me to improve my household food and nutrition security, as well as income-earning from selling fruits and food products to meet my family daily basic needs; and the Village Savings and Loan Association is helping me to meet my household’s emergency needs and to invest in small scale business,” says George.

“I imagine how my life could have been today if without this programme in a situation like this – COVID-19 – it took me to the stage when I have bananas and fruits which I sell to the community and beyond,” concludes George.

Facts about the programme

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.