If you look beyond Stella’s frail physique you will see an abundance of infinite strength and determination in her eyes…

In the year 2007, life struck Stella a devastating blow with the loss of her husband who was the family’s main bread winner. In spite of the circumstances, Stella tapped into her inner strength and vowed to make sure her only daughter continued going to school until at least senior four. The best way to make this possible was for Stella to move back to her parent’s home in Kyalugondo village from Kampala. Once there, she would tend to her inherited portion of her late father’s coffee farm in order to raise the money for her daughter’s school fees.

Stella’s list of dependents grew as soon as she moved back home as she needed to bear the expense of caring for her elderly mother and her orphaned nieces and nephews. In order to immediately begin generating income, Stella began selling pancakes and bananas in the local market as well as doing clothing alterations for community members. These businesses in addition to her coffee farm gradually began to improve Stella’s circumstances and restore her hope.

In 2017, Stella made another strategic move in a bid to transform her life. She volunteered her coffee farm to be a demonstration plot where Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) are implementing and validating the Climate Smart Investment Pathway – also known as Stepwise.

Stepwise is a tool which was developed by IITA under the Feed the Future Alliance for Resilient Coffee (ARC) project which is a consortium of seven organizations; HRNS, IITA, World Coffee Research, Conservation International, Sustainable Food Lab, Root Capital and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). These organizations collectively aim to make coffee farming and sourcing climate smart in four prominent coffee growing countries; Uganda, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Stepwise practically demonstrates CSA practices by breaking them down into simple subsets which can be implemented incrementally according to farmers’ financial means meaning it is affordable and feasible. The CSA practices included in the Stepwise stages being implemented in Luwero are; weeding, de-suckering, pruning, manure application, mulching, fertilizer application and pesticide application.

As a direct result of being able to host the Stepwise program on her coffee farm, Stella has received a wealth of knowledge and skills on good agronomical practices and climate-smart agriculture which has enabled her to increase her yields and income. She has also become a role model and example to fellow farmers in her community and frequently trains them on how to strengthen their resilience against the continuously changing climatic and environmental conditions.

Although Stella still faces many challenges like not having enough money to hire part time labors to assist with the farm work or meet the costs of buying agricultural inputs – she can still smile at her future with optimism. Her dream is to one day own her own land, build a house and have a coffee farm where she will plant improved varieties and continue to support her dependents as well as occasionally spoil her grandchildren. In case you were wondering, Stella’s daughter did in fact finish form four and is now happily married with two children who are the apple of their grandmother’s eye!

HRNS warns of COVID-19 long-term effects for smallholder families in coffee regions

The Coronavirus pandemic contributes to existing problems, smallholder coffee farmer families are already facing, and poses a serious threat to household development plans, food security, business and income. This is a key finding from a survey, conducted by Hanns R....

How Stella Got Her Life Back On Track

If you look beyond Stella’s frail physique you will see an abundance of infinite strength and determination in her eyes... In the year 2007, life struck Stella a devastating blow with the loss of her husband who was the family's main bread winner. In spite of the...

Tackling Deforestation in Indonesia

In partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society and together with leading global and domestic coffee companies, NGOs, local farmer groups and local government representatives, Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung formally signed an agreement declaring our willingness to...

A community takes care of its own water supply

Since 2010, the initiative for coffee&climate (c&c) implements its vision to enable coffee farmers worldwide to adapt to climate change. Water scarcity is one of the challenges, farmers face. HRNS-staff Johannes Thoma tells the story of the Idugumbi-Community...

A Scientifically Sound Gender Approach

A randomised control trial: Balancing scientific rigour, feasibility and program objectives In this guest Blog, Els Lecoutere from the University of Antwerp in Belgium, describes how she assessed the impact of improving intrahousehold decision-making on the efficiency...

Kitchen Thoughts on Gender Mainstreaming

Johannes Thoma (26), Executive Management Assistant at implementing partner Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung recently visited Tanzania to learn more about the Household Gender Approach component of c&c.“I have seen women walking 10 hours to get water! “, I grumbled as I...

Brazil: An Emotional Journey

HRNS is an exclusive implementing partner for International Coffee Partners (ICP), so sometimes we in headquarters, get the opportunity to travel to origin to visit with farmers, partners, and all the key players of the region. When the chance arose to travel to...

Brewing up Climate Resilience in the Coffee Sector

Since 2010, the initiative for coffee&climate (c&c) implements its vision to enable coffee farmers worldwide to adapt to climate change. Together with four other organizations, c&c published a catalogue to motivate more investments into climate...

Climate-Smart Coffee is possible – The Alliance for Resilient Coffee has proved it.

During four years of intensive in-the-field project work, The Alliance for Resilient Coffee (ARC) has developed significant knowledge and tools to make coffee climate-smart. Now it is upon the coffee industry to be ready to utilize the power of partnerships and make...

Colombia, Coffee & The Next Generation

When one thinks of coffee they usually are not thinking about its origins and how it got to their cup. However, if you ask them where they think their cup of coffee came from, you’ll get an overwhelming response, Colombia! A country rich in tradition, a tradition deep...