Trust for Africa's Orphans

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Oct 18 2011

New TAO projects create agricultural businesses

Sunflower
The first TAO projects to grow cash crops & create access to commercial markets.

Dateline 18 October 2011

Trust for Africa’s Orphans (TAO) has this week launched two exciting new projects to help women and children who were internally-displaced due to conflict in northern Uganda.  They will follow TAO’s successful approach to enable women caring for orphans to develop productive farms, so they can feed their families healthily and grow surplus for sale.  But, crucially, these new TAO projects will go further, allowing the households to generate sustainable incomes by helping them gain access to commercial markets.

“These projects are about much more than teaching farming skills to the women involved – who are mostly widows and are looking after hundreds of orphans,” says London-based TAO Coordinator Joy Mugisha. “They will truly empower our beneficiaries by enable the women to earn good money by helping them learn marketing skills and build relationships with socially-responsible commercial buyers.”

These projects are funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Comic Relief.  TAO is also delighted to announce that these projects will be implemented by two new partners.

DFID is funding a two-year project in Lira, Apac and Oyam districts that will be implemented by Kulika Charitable Trust (Uganda).  TAO has used Kulika-trained Extension Workers for several years and chose Kulika for its expertise in developing agricultural initiatives.

This project builds on TAO’s previous work in this region of northern Uganda to develop communities’ agricultural skills.  The project will teach the women to grow sunflower, soya and maize as cash crops, and help them gain access to commercial markets. It will directly help around 1,800 households, including approximately 12,000 orphans and other vulnerable children.

Magdalene Amujal Ogwang, who is coordinating Kulika’s work, said: “We are really excited about helping people move from subsistence farming to a viable business economy.”

Alex Ojera will be the local TAO/Kulika appointed agricultural extension officer. He worked with the beneficiaries on the previous project and they are delighted that he is continuing his role with them.

“I’ve seen the difference this work can make,” he says. “A woman on the previous project who was bedridden with HIV and had given up hope and she, because of the project, got her life back and is now a community leader.”

The second is a more challenging, three-year project in the remote and severely deprived district of Pader, where the regional conflict has created extreme needs.  This project will be implemented by a new Ugandan NGO that TAO is currently helping to establish, led by a woman previously involved in TAO projects, Lydia Mbanza.

This project is funded primarily by Comic Relief.  It is also an excellent example of how additional funding from other donors can enable TAO to expand our projects to support more households and/or provide further support to each household.

The Pader project will help around 600 households and include mediation to ensure people have access to land, it will build basic agricultural skills, address climate-change issues such as water conservation and avoiding deforestation, as well as the key new work to give households access to commercial markets.

Lydia Mbanza, who will lead the new Ugandan NGO being set up, said: “We anticipate that in both of these projects, the good lessons learned will benefit thousands more people than those involved directly in these projects. When others see that a farm is successful, they want to learn what the farmers are doing and are keen to apply the new skills themselves.”

An important part of both of these projects will be to monitor and evaluate the results to make sure the right skills are being taught and are leading to good results.

ENDS

Further information: Joy Mugisha, TAO, London, tel: +44 (0)1932 269877

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