When development projects come to an end, final Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is done to prove the impact of the projects. However, many may argue that statistics do not fully quantify the extent to which lives are changed. They do not tell you how much it means to parents to be able to send their children to university, when it was something, they never dreamed possible. This is only truly expressed by the project participants.

Since the Uganda Coffee Agronomy Training (UCAT) project came to an end in October 2021, many of its participants have testified to how it has changed their lives. The four-year project was implemented by Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) and reached over 22,000 households in the district of Kakumiro, Kyenjojo, Kibaale and Kagadi with knowledge on improved coffee management. The region was selected because many of its coffee farmers had previously abandoned the cash crop to focus on seasonal crops like maize, beans, and bananas which bring quicker returns.

Abandoned coffee farms

Why, if we may ask, had the farmers in Western Uganda deserted such a lucrative cash crop? The simple answer is because they didn’t have any knowledge about how to grow and manage it. This, coupled with poor coffee prices and increased incidents of pests and diseases led many farmers to give up on growing coffee for income. But since UCAT began in 2018, things have changed.

Through a two-year Agronomy Training Program, HRNS’ dedicated field officers guided farmers through a step-by-step curriculum on how to improve coffee production systems. Between 2018 and 2020 more than 12,000 farming households in Kakumiro were taken through the coffee management curriculum in theory and practice. In 2019, another cohort of 10,000 households in the remaining three districts were enrolled in the program.

Theoretical trainings on how to improve coffee production systems

Practical trainings on how to improve coffee production systems

The farmers who took part in the training were empowered to not only rehabilitate their coffee farms but also expand them on unused land. As a result, their livelihoods were significantly improved because of the increased income from coffee. Farmers like John Selimu testified to the benefits of the training on their lives.

“Back then, I used to harvest only 8-10 bags of coffee when I did not really care for it. But when HRNS arrived, I don’t get less than 30 bags. The other thing I have achieved, I have built a house which I share with my son. I have another son in university that I pay tuition for.”

– John Selimu

UCAT Project Participant

Today, 80% of the project participants acknowledge an increase in their household income thanks to coffee. Additionally, 91% of the project participants report that coffee is now their leading cash crop. The project’s interventions have become sustainable. The trained farmers have become trainers, and some are now Community Based Facilitators. In this role, they roll out local government programs for farmers. They also spread their knowledge about coffee management and encourage young people to become the drivers of the future coffee sector.

Over the four years of project implementation, HRNS has worked together with the local governments in the four districts to empower smallholder farming families through knowledge and government programs. These opportunities have enabled the project participants to sustainably improve their livelihoods and resurrect the farming of coffee in Western Uganda.

 

Watch the video below to access more UCAT project results!

More stories from Muddy Boots:

Young Ugandan wins entrepreneurship award for her organic fertilizer

When Susan Nassolo (22) joined TeamUp three years ago, she didn't expect to become an award-winning entrepreneur through the program. Now she is on the pathway to change the organic fertilizer business in Uganda, with promises of a more sustainable future. Susan grew...

An engaging knowledge sharing joint field visit

“My coffee farm is now performing much better and my family members come to see what they can do to improve their yields,” Stella Nakaggawa proclaimed as she motioned everyone to weave further into the maze of coffee branches. Her farm is exemplary in Luwero District...

A Letter from Ethiopia

Turuwark Zalalam Warkineh is Assistant Professor in the department of Adult Education and Community Development at the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences in Bahir Dar University (BDU), Ethiopia. She underwent a field study in the CAFE-project, HRNS...

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...

Increasing Gender Equality not only Empowers Women – it Empowers Everyone!

Throughout East Africa, patriarchal norms and customs often limit the voice of women in the household. This not only affects their access to household resources, but also their say in household finances and decision-making. Promoting a gender-conscious farming...

Youth Entrepreneurship on the Rise: TeamUp Uganda Life Stories

You have been following our Youth Reporter Shivan’s coverage of Jamidah and Thaddeus for a few months now and it is time to catch up on their lives since the last time Shivan spoke to them.The joy in Jamidah’s eyes is not only captivating but shows the optimism she...

Come, tell me your story: A youth reporter and TeamUp Uganda

We all know these typical project videos in international cooperation telling about approach, impact and showing happy beneficiaries. TeamUp Uganda, partnering with Action 4 Health Uganda, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ),...

Els in the Field

“Can we have both of them in the shot for the interview?” I asked Els while setting up the camera, nodding to the change agent couples sitting a few meters away from us. They were waiting to be interviewed by Els Lecoutere, Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of...

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...

Sweeting Coffee Yields with Farm-Grown Honey in Indonesia

Inviting us to stand in a leafy green corner outside his house and holding up a hand-crafted, wooden bee box, Sofik beams as he tells us of his bees. “Since I started raising bees, the coffee on my farm is doing better, while the cash I earn from selling honey helps...