“I can’t imagine how I would be if it was not Kitovu Mobile” David said.
David is among the many with similar words that cherish the work of Kitovu Mobile. He graduated from the Mobile farm school in 2013 and since then his income has exponentially grown bringing a simile to his face.
After school I decided to engage myself in two business areas namely farming with emphasis on crop production and trade with focus on establishing my own shop. I gave farming the 1st priority where by the proceeds from the crop sales were to help me establish my own shop. I specialized in passion fruit and tomato growing and within two farming seasons I had already established a shop. From the crop sales I generated over seven million shillings that helped me start off with a retail shop within my community which later on turned into a whole sale shop. After three years in business, I have been able to buy land approximately 6 acres worth 18 million shillings which I think is going to be my starting point to become a commercial farmer. Using my land I have plans to establish 2500 coffee plants and as I speak now I have already planted 600(24%) coffee plant. I have no doubt that you can start small and grow big and I’m big. David said.
The support to OVC to become entrepreneurs through the Kitovu Mobile program has continued to spread from one Sub County to the other. Both new recruits and pass out have exhibited a positive trend towards development with focus on self-reliance.
After realizing such benefits over years, this year 2015 began with arrangements to establish a new Mobile Farm school in Byakabanda Sub county of Rakai district. This Sub County was chosen among others after assessing the levels of vulnerability among the youth and the general community and Byakabanda sub county scored highest. The project is to target 100 teenage school dropouts both girls and boys with girls given a positive discrimination.
Among the activities so far done include, mobilization and sensitization of the community about the project in which over 200(85%) of the targeted people attended the meeting. The meeting intended to raise awareness about the project and also determine how it will fit into the community plans.
Similarly home assessment was carried out to verify the information generated during the meeting and also to confirm the youth that are legible for the training. It was noted that the number in need to join the training was more than 100 which is our target and due to limited resources we could not surpass the target.
There was a positive community response about the entire project and as part of their contribution they provided the training venue and land for establishing a demonstration garden. Training is expected to begin in two weeks’ time from now. Despite the inevitable challenges, we believe this will be quite a big push to the community in an effort to empower the youth to acquire sustainable solutions to address their challenges.
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.
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