Since our initiative to train the youths to become entrepreneurs through the Farm School project, demands have continued to grow; we have witnessed a rapid growth in numbers of OVC acquiring the agricultural skills and in the distribution of knowledge from 200 teenager school drop outs in 2 pilot sub counties to over 3000 trainees. Though this is quite challenging, we have managed to register achievements throughout our operations. Ever since our trainees passed out last year, it is yet our pleasure to announce another grand graduation in recognition of 107 trainees (34 female, 73 male) who joined Kakuuto Farm School in 2010 having acquired skills training in sustainable organic farming which took place on the 8/09/2014. It is another way of inspiring young ones to pursue their dreams and instill determination. Each year, a set of 100 trainees graduate from the Farm school. Most of the graduants expressed appreciation for the continued support and guidance Kitovu Mobile has offered them.
According to one of the graduates of kakuto subcounty, said “l have been given a grounding in all aspects of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry plus life skills. The acquisition of skills increased my levels of expertise in agriculture, creativity, independence and yields my passion still lies in continuing with practicing the agricultural skills to a level where it realizes the commercial potential. I would like to be part of the transformation of agriculture so that I improve on nutrition and food security and income in my country” The occasion was officiated by the Deputy Resident District Commissioner Rakai who awarded graduates certificates of adoption. They were treated to a banquet at Kakuuto sub county headquarters. A hand over of graduates after four years of training was made to the sub county leadership. Before these trainees pass out they are organized into mobile young farmers groups, this is intended to move trainees into marketing, leadership and communication skills to have more bargaining power when negotiating prices for their produce, value addition and linkage to the government and Non-Governmental organizations for ongoing support
We appreciate all the support from our stakeholders namley financial, techinical, moral, and political among others we are confident that together we can!!
Kitovu Mobile has moved an extra mile in supporting the youth to become entrepreneurs. This has involved the integration of skills training with psycho social support which has enabled the youth to realize their dreams. Employing the Asset Based Development model we have facilitated them to identify and realize their potentials, identify assets within their reach and have encouraged them to turn them into opportunities for social enterprises.
Using the Asset Based Development model, training in value addition and bulk selling basing on their groups as a plat form for bargaining power is now the order of the day. The project has made tremendous work towards the development of the youth through training them in sustainable integrated Organic Farming; young people are able to meet their basic requirements and as well supporting their families with some of the basic needs. For example 50% of the target beneficiaries can meet the costs of scholastic materials for their siblings in primary and secondary schools.
Overall, there was significant improvement in terms of food security and accessibility as well as increased income levels among the household. For example during follow-up, it was found out that 90% of the trainees were implementing the taught skills, 85% access more than two meals a day while 75% of trainees had their income increased by almost 3% annually. This was a big positive change compared to the situation before the MFS interventions.
85% of the trainees has earned an income on addition to production of other seasonal and perennial crops. In 2013 alone, 38 trainees bought pieces of land, 21 built temporary houses, and 8 bought cows. Generally, the sanitation has improved in almost 90% of trainees’ households.
Under food storage - individual trainees are practicing the affordable measures like sun
drying, control of pests using crushed hot pepper, Neem tree and tobacco leaves, and storing the produce on raised platform. They learnt the importance of stores and they are trying asmuch as possible to avoid sleeping with animals in the same house.
When you train a youth you train a nation, it’s our joy that this project is not only changing the lives of the orphans but even the community as well this alone gives us hope that the future of our nation is indeed bright. As our youths graduated last year we took it upon ourselves to follow them up and observe how they are being able to implement the knowledge and skills they acquired from the farm school. Indeed we observed that the livelihoods of our youths had been renewed including their families since they are now operating as entrepreneurs. It’s our pride as these youths have gone ahead to buy land for their families using the money they saved from their small scale farms having grown the seedlings they received from the organization, this was witnessed in the 3 homes that were visited. Surely the members of the families that were visited looked healthier than before, and the reason for this is that, these youths have managed to ensure food security at home through modern farming techniques, they have gone ahead to take their siblings back to school as well as meeting some needs at home, it is surprising that Jjuuko Gerald a P.7drop out, now owns a plot of land and has the ability to support his family. Besides these youths serving their homes, they reach out to the community by training other young farmers on how to make nursery beds and managing small scale businesses. Since these youths had acquired skills in counseling and guidance, 2 of them reported to us that they had been able to counsel some youths that had become unruly at home so this promises a violence free society hence benefitting the community indirectly.
Kitovu mobile has not only trained orphans and other vulnerable Children in farming skills and entrepreneurship but has also created opportunities for the trainees to meet policy makers and business fraternity to discuss business and other policy matters that might affect their business.
During this period a group of Mobile farm school trainees from Kasaali subcounty of Rakai district were engaged in aone day meeting in which they discussed matters concerning their projects. The meeting atteracted 87 trainees, councillors and chairperson local council three, 54 guardians and 11 represenatives of the business fraternity.
It was noted by the trainees that despite the effort put in to grow various crops they were note able to identify good markets for their produce. They therfore, requested the subcounty leaders and the business fraternity to support them in this reagard.
the represenatives of the business fraternity promised to support them if only they can produce quality items and in bulk. they encouraged them to work in groips to support each other as well.
The trainees demonstrated a items they have been able to produce in form of crops and technologies applied.
It is hard to believe that on 18th September, 2013 all roads led to Kagamba Sub County to witness the graduation ceremony of 135(M-86, F-49) youths from the Kagamba Mobile Farm School of Kitovu Mobile. The Function was presided over by Prince Kaboyo David the Resident District Commissioner Rakai District on top of other distinguished guests who included the Chairperson L.C V Mr. Robert Mugabi, District Agriculture Officer Mr. Lubega Yusuf, Chairperson District farmers’ Forum Mr. Ssendagi John, and District Development officer Mr. Bagarukayo Alex, District Sec for Education Hon Harriet Namayengo.
The Chief Guest prince Kaboyo David thanked Kitovu Mobile AIDS organization for their initiative towards community development. He thanked the organization for its dedication to its work since it dealt with issues which the government itself did not do. He extended sincere gratitude to Kitovu Mobile, for the tremendous support to the community which included Maize milling machine, equipping the youth with required skills to sustain themselves, tools and equipment to facilitate their operations, plus exposure and linkage to other institutions that can further support them. He urged guardians and other local leaders to consider these youth as a valuable resource given they have all the skills and knowledge that the community of Kagamba may require.
The Executive Director Mrs. Robina Ssentongo thanked the Chief Guest for his commitment towards development activities in the district and always embracing the Kitovu Mobile work. She further urged the guardians of the pass outs always to work hand in hand with their children if they are to realize a fundamental change in their families.
It was noted that pass outs had gained self esteem and could ably represent themselves in the community and pass on the knowledge and skills to other people in the community. The pass outs had formed groups and each had benefited from the start up fund receiving an average amount of $ 750 for internal lending.
It was observed that despite the significant achievements the impact of climate change was still a big problem; and as result everyone was urged to respect the environment by practicing environmental friendly farming.
The best performers received prizes which include 9 goats, 35 basins and 20 blankets to recognize their hard work and to motivate others to work hard.
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