RURAL COMMUNITY ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT PROJECT
(RCEEP) NORTHERN UGANDA – AMURU DISTRICTS
Uganda Cooperative Alliance Ltd signed a memorandum of understanding with Geneva Global International in 2016 to implement the Rural Community Economic Empowerment Project in the rural community school community members of Pailyec and Acwera parishes, Amuru sub-county- Amuru district n Amuru Sub-County.
To contribute to improving household incomes in community school communities
To provide a sustainable holistic package of community controlled production and marketing and financial service cooperatives that improve household incomes of community members to enhance the capacity of families to meet their obligations towards the education of their children in the community schools and elsewhere.
Project specific objectives/ main activities
- To assess of the target communities by conducting a situational analysis/study
- To organize five selected community school communities into cooperative organizations and build their capacity to manage their own cooperatives
- To guide cooperative communities through improved and increases Agricultural production, value addition and marketing for their economic benefits
- To promote financial inclusion, savings mobilization and access to affordable credit through savings and credit cooperative societies (SACCOs).
UCA’s main task is to mobilize and guide communities around community schools to create primary cooperatives (RPOS) and Secondary cooperatives (ACEs), support them together with their members through a full package of services that includes access to finance (forming a savings and credit cooperative society/SACCO), organized production(enterprise selection, bulk inputs purchasing) and produce bulking, collective processing and marketing.
Project activities implemented
- Situation Analysis
A situational analysis was conducted in July 2016 where 75 groups were identified, 68 farmer groups with total membership of 1,740 were short listed. The groups elected 30 community based facilitators amongst themselves who underwent training in community mobilization and sensitization. With the assistance of these community based facilitators, UCA has mobilized five farmer groups which have acquired legal status by registering as agricultural cooperative societies (Rural Producer Organizations) with the Registrar of Cooperative societies.
- Training in Post-harvest Handling
75 farmers comprising of 30 Community based facilitators (CBFs) and 45 interim leaders attended training in post-harvest handling. Participants had direct interaction with members of the various farmer groups that market their crops to local and across border trade markets as below:-
|Type of produce||Quantity||Price per kilo U.Shs.||Total earned U.Shs.|
|Soya beans||15 tons||2,000||30,000,000|
|Maize cereals||25 tons||1,000||25,000,000|
|Ordinary beans||40 tons||1,500||60,000,000|
|Rice (un hurled)||150 tons||1,000||150,000,000|
Members of Kari-Kari Coop Society Being trained on postharvest handling
- Establishment of Nursery Beds
During the period January/February 2017, UCA supported farmers to establish 15 Nursery beds (each of the 5 RPOs established 3) aimed at promoting food production, food security and boosting farmers’ incomes. The enterprises promoted in these for nursery beds included cabbages, onions and tomatoes. Women and Youth were actively involved in transplanting the seedlings from the nursery beds into their gardens, weeding and tendering the horticultural crops. With better extension services and training in Agronomic practices provided by UCA, farmers realized better yield and marketed as reflected in the table below:
|Enterprise||Quantity harvested and marketed in Bags||Sales/unit in Ugx.||Amount in Ugx.|
|Tomatoes (in baskets)||400||20,000||8,000,000|
- Internal Resource Mobilization
During the cycle January – June 2017 30 farmer groups totaling 720 (281 males + 439 females) through their Village Savings & Loan Association mobilized Ug. Shs. 7,748,400/= as social welfare fund and were able to save Ug.shs 50,165,500/= as cumulative members’ savings. Out these savings, 84% (42,139,020) was loaned out to the VSLA members as loans. Still with UCA support, the VSLA will be transformed into a SACCO.
Farmers carry out financial transactions through their VSLAs that will later be registered as a SACCO
- Setting up demonstration Plots
UCA supported farmers to set up ten (10) demonstration plots (two in each of the 5 RPOs) where farmers planted two enterprises: groundnuts (RED BEAUTY variety) and maize (Longe 10 variety). However, the season was badly hit by dry spell that destroyed especially groundnuts and hence yield. Maize was also affected by army worms which is a national disaster in many districts of Uganda. Nevertheless, there was a bit of success because of technical back stopping by UCA field/ extension services.
- Capacity building of Cooperative leaders and farmer group leaders
UCA team conducted training of the elected interim leaders while 25 out of 30 CBFs underwent training of trainers in Cooperative governance, management and group methodology. The TOTs are currently facilitating trainings of farmer groups in different aspects of Cooperative/ group methodology, leadership, record keeping and data collection and reporting. 4 RPOs have held Members’ general meetings immediately after registration to elect their substantive leaders and decide on their Businesses.
Cooperative members holding their general meetings after registration
- Over 750 parents whose children are studying in the rural community schools are members of the various farmer groups and have joined and registered as members of the agricultural cooperatives.
- School enrollment in 2017 registered a 50% increase from 900 pupils in 2016 to 1,350 pupils.
- The dress code of school going children has greatly improved where currently school pupils wear clean uniforms at school because their parents can now afford to buy school uniform to their children, are able to meet domestic requirements like medical care and hygiene.
- Horticultural crops like cabbages, onions and tomatoes have improved diet and nutrition at the household levels, improved on food security and increased household incomes through sale. Some cabbages and tomatoes were used to feed school pupils during lunch hours.
- Farmer groups who are involved in savings and credit under VSLAs borrow money to pay school fees and support school activities. A case in point is AcutYika primary school where parents meet regularly to save for supporting the school activities.
- Improvement in the quality of school structures and education because currently, parents whose incomes have been boosted through collective production and marketing using a cooperative model and with support from development partners have given both physical and financial support to the schools. This has given a new face of the schools as reflected in the photo below.
Old structures of Achit-Yika primary school
New look of Achit-Yika Primary school g