Demonstrating technologies that work in trasnforming rural agriculture for sustainable development

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Demonstrating technologies that work in trasnforming rural agriculture for sustainable development

Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

URDT together with the farmer scholars mutually developing technologies for transforming farming systems, improving livelihoods and increased household income
About You
Project Street Address

Kagadi-Mubende Road

Project City


Project Province/State

Kibaale, Midwestern Uganda

Project Postal/Zip Code

P.O.Box 16

Project Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on:

Uganda, Kibaale

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?


Describe your idea in fewer than 50 words.

URDT together with the farmer scholars mutually developing technologies for transforming farming systems, improving livelihoods and increased household income

What makes your idea unique?

98% of the farmers in Kibaale district are small scle producers. They have been bypassed by services offered by the state agents including extension and education and research and left to use their weather beaten wisdom. They were made to believe that their wisdom is not good and only western based reseach was useful in agriculture. this created dependence on instituions which were not responsive and information not very relevant. However, URDT recognized the traditional methods of preserving seeds, protecting the environment and managing water and soils and decided to revive these and other technolgies in collaboration with the farmers. The participatory action oriented research makes the farmer a researcher and user of own technolgies hence the principle of ownership which ensures sustainability.

What is your area of work? (Please check as many as apply.)

What impact have you had?

1. By using alternative energy like biogas and improved stoves like rorena, there has been reduction of stress on environment for fuel wood
2. Removal of garbage and refuse from townships and homes for making organic manure has ensured environmental health sanitation
3. Improved nutrition and food security in 80% of the homes
4. improved household income by 20% per annum
5. Improved soil productivity and farm yield
6. Good animal husbandry practices have increased supply of animal proteins
7. farmers reconizing and living a sybiotic relationship with nature
8. Increaesd on farm research and local technology exchange
9. High farmer confidence and self esteem
10. Technologies have reduced women's workload hence time for leisure and relaxation

Describe the primary problem(s) that your project is addressing.

1. Poor and unreliable extension services from state agents
2. Information flow to and from research stations for improvement in agricultural systems is very weak and in some instances non-existent
3. Low levels of technology transfer and adption
4. Environmental degradation due to poor farming practices like continuous monocropping, slash and
5. Marginalization of endogenous knowledge and wisdom in agriculture
6. single issue based technologies rather than integrated technologies
7. Low or lack of appreciation of value addition chain
8. Low innovations due to dependency on other institutions
9. Optimization by the practice of economy of utilization of resources
10. Low appreciation of interdependence of systems in nature i.e crop, animal, wildlife and humans

Describe the steps that your organization is taking to make your project successful.

1. Mobilization of scholar farmers
2. vsioning what they want out of agriculture
3. identifying needs in their farming practices
4. recognizing the gaps between what they want and what the situation they practice their farming is
5. Designing interventions
6. Identifying technolgies needed to make work easy and improve on their production
7. Concdect training and research on the field
8. Raise funds for procurement of resources not locally available
9, Strengthen systems for good governance
10 Documentation and accounting for resources used
11. Ensure ownership of the projects at the farm level
12. Prepare for technology difusion

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Success in Year 1:

1. To make a survey in the communities to identify technologies that have been successful and document for difusion
2. identify technolgies that have not worked to ascertain why they did not work so that together with scholar farmers develop strategies to address this short fall
3. organize resources for this survey
4. Publish the findings

Success in Year 2:

1. Identify new communities where successful technologies can be demonstrated
2. Further study on the technologies that are not working for redesign
3. Mobilize resources for strengthening research and extension services from URDT staff
4. Documentation for sharing with other interested parties including sponsors
5. Organize exchange visits for scholar farmers to see what fello famers in other communities are doing
6. Enable farmers to participate in national and local events like Environment and World Food days and national agricultural exhibitions.
7. Application of experiences

Success in Year 3:

1. Linkage and interactions between the URDT demonstration and family farms mutually generating lessons and documenting experiences
2. The how- to manuals in different technolgies published for use at all levels
3. Self evaluation for creating a system of receeding roles of URDT and the emerging responsbilities of the scholar farmers
4. More capacity building scholar farmers in documentation and other areas of strategic management and planning
5. Ensure linkages and networking with other players in the system: procurement, processing, marketing and distribution

Do you have a business plan or strategic plan? (yes/no)

Yes! URTD has a three year strategic plan

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 1:

The demonstrations at the URDT campus and farm families levels are on going concerns. URDT intends to carry out a community survey to document the type of technologies and innovations that have influenced change in the farming and livelihood systems.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 2:

URDT in partnership with the successful farmer scholars will organize exhibitions to demonstrate to the commnuties that have not developed or adapted the existing technologies their workability and usefulness documented up that time.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 3:

URDT uses a visionary approach to human and rural development. Consciousness raising using the principles of the creative process is important as it lets people know what they truly want, know what they have and develop the want-to desire. By unlishing the human spirit and potential based on people's aspirations is the fundamental strategy in sustainable development. URDT will continue training the scholar farmers and their household members in this area

Describe the expected results of these actions.

1. The community suryey will have data showing and vindicating that endogenous knowledge and technolgies of the rural people actually work. This will enhance confidence and self esteem among the farmers
2. Exhibitions create a demonstration effect for farmers to adapt innovations voluntarily based on conviction rather than competition.
3. Training in the visionary approach will enable the farmers to create and hold clear visions of what they want to create or innovate, sustain enthusiasm and commitment as they work individually or collectively toward their goals.

What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

URDT came to Kibaale in 1989 (then part of Hoima District). it was recovering from the 5 year war and state sponsored extension services were poor and linkage with research stations was weak or in some cases none existent. For many years the farmers observed their soil degraded, farm yield detoriarating and farm incomes falling as they waited for state intervention. This dependency created a sense of powerlessness and in many cases apathy.
URDT in recignition of the history of farming systems and the resilience of the people carried our a survey that indicated there was tremendous wisdom that was not being utilized. On that basis comminities were mobilized to identify different people with unique gifts from who whom they could tap. That is how the concept of farmer scholar was developed. They were invited to come to URDT where some technologies were developed, tested and disseminated for trrials at the farmers level. The follow up has been to work with them on their farms through the participatory adaptive research methodology.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

The soscial innovator is Mwalimu Musheshe,( Ashoka Fellow). He was nominated as the first of the two members in the East African region. He is the founder of the Uganda Rural Development and Training programme, an NGO founded in 1987 and involved in human and rural development. It uses the visionary and systems thinking approach in enhancing empowerment. He has initiated innovations in education (founded awomens education system from primary to university at the URDT campus, an institutte for vocation and youth leadership studies, a community radio and engages in humanand land rights, rural technolgies and civil society capacity building. All these innovations are ins support of sustainable agriculture and rural development.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Mwalimu Musheshe is a changemaker and has been following the emergency of new intiatives in Ashoka. At the Fellows' Ms. Victoria Nyakundi the Outreach Marketing Coordinator introduced the initiative and URDT seized the opportunity

What would prevent your project from being a success?

the project has stood the test of time. it is real in the communities although difusion is slow, the technolgies developed have deen instituionalized except for biogas due to lack of complementary technologies. for example, biogas need plenty of water and the terrain is hilly restrictying use of carts. Besides, where the farmers are practicing free range grazing, collecting cow dung is tidiuos and needs a lot of labout. other technologies are doing well. there is need for improvement, a requirement of some funding.

Financing source
If yes, provide organization name.

Yes! The Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme, URDT

How long has this organization been operating? (i.e. less than a year; 1-5 years; more than 5 years)

The organization has been in existence for 22 years. it serves the district and other parts of Uganda.

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

it has a Board of Directors and has operational lisence renewable every 5 yrs.

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs? (yes/no)


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses? (yes/no)


The Story
Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government? (yes/no)


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

They provide fora for information exchange, networking, collaboration in lobbying and advocacy, legitimization and tax breaks/exemptions.

How many people will your project serve annually?

1. demonstration farm at URDT-1000
2. farm families-1200
3. Community Radio-2,500,000

What is your organization's business classification?

Non-profit/NGO/citizen sector organization

What is the total number of employees and total number of volunteers at your organization?

1. Staff-50
2. Volunteers-72

Have you received funding from any of the following groups? (Please check as many as apply.)

Rockefeller Foundation , United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) .