Female Ugandan Farmers Taking the Lead!
After her husband’s passing in 2008, Ugandan farmer Joyce Ecech envisioned difficult times for herself and her four children. She pressed on, growing beans and cowpeas, but her confidence had hit an all-time low. Joyce eventually joined the Can Mii Diro Farmer Field School group in her home village in Bata Sub County, Lira District. Known for her past involvement in community affairs, Joyce quickly assumed a leadership position within the group.
“My fellow farmers trusted me and elected me first as their Chairperson and later asked me to become their Farmer Field School facilitator. Subsequently, CPAR trained us as Farmer Field School facilitators in various areas such as modern agronomic practices (application of the various soil and plant sciences to soil management and crop production), gender, HIV issues and recommended nutrition for children,” said Joyce.
“Through these trainings I realized that I had a potential in me and that life wasn’t really over as I had thought. I started serving my community and now I can stand before fellow farmers confidently serving them in different capacities. My confidence and self esteem in training and pursuing community programs has actually risen.”
The leadership skills that Joyce gained in her Farmer Field School group were soon recognized at the community level.
“Due to my popularity, as our Farmer Field School facilitator, I was selected by our Sub County to represent women in a farmers conference in Kitgum. I’m now capable of training my Farmer Field School group members in areas we were trained on.
My group is now among the best performing groups in our Sub County! As well, on Sundays I sensitize my entire community in church on topics such as malnutrition, nutritional practices and gender issues.”
Confidence restored, Joyce and her fellow Farmer Field School group members are pressing forward.
Joyce Ecech (in yellow shirt and flowered skirt) leads farmers from the Can Mii Diro Farmer Field School group through a ‘special topics’ Farmer Field School session on improved nutritional practices