February 26, 2010
By Wade Snowdon with reporting from Lanyero Joanne and Oluba Thomas
LAMOGI, ARMURU-Eighteen Farmer Groups consisting of almost 500 people have received training and agricultural inputs from the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARLPI) in the sub-county of Lamogi.
Farmer Groups, who have been formed as part of the CARE program called 'Roco Kwo' (Transforming Lives) which ARLPI is implementing in Lamogi, seeks to empower the most vulnerable individuals in the community such as women and young girls. Such individuals are often traditionally excluded from income generation activities. However approximately 30% of the group members are men.
Speaking about the importance of targeting women, Lanyero Joanne, ARLPI's Sub-County Coordinator for the program said, “Not only does the campaign seek to address food security as people return home from the camps, but by training them on VSLA practices and availing them with farm inputs such as seeds and equipment, the vulnerable can be empowered to be self sustainable in the future.”
Over 36 oxen, 18 ox ploughs, and 18 sprayers have been distributed to the farmer groups equipping them to engage in more efficient and effective agricultural practices. The groups have also received training on agronomics and as well as both disease and pest control.
“We have trained the people on locally available natural resources to be used as fertilization and pest repellents. Learning such practices is very valuable to the farmer groups as such resources are cheaper than chemical alternatives as well as the produce grown has a higher market value since it has been grown organically,” said Oluba Thomas, ARLPI's Program Officer for 'Roco Kwo.'
Traditionally ARLPI's programming has focused primarily on peace building and reconciliation activities. However, as northern Uganda has experienced relative peace for the last 3 years, 'Roco Kwo' is an example of how the organization is adapting to the current need for development and livelihood support as people begin to rebuild their lives.
Ecomonic livelihoods empowerment is just one component of the CARE program as 'Roco Kwo' seeks to address issues pertaining to social protection as well and peace building and conflict transformation.
ARLPI is currently implementing 'Roco Kwo' in the sub-county of Lamogi, with activities in the parishes of Agwar-Yugi, Pagro, & Coke.