Home Agriculture 10,000 youth to benefit from Sawa World’s income skills

10,000 youth to benefit from Sawa World’s income skills

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At least 10,000 youths from the five districts of Mityana, Buikwe, Mukono, Wakiso, and Ssembabule will have benefited from the Ujana Coffee Project by April 2025.

The project which is imparting income and livelihood skills among the youth coffee farmers is being implemented by Sawa World and in partnership with the Lavazza Foundation.

A total of 765 youths have already benefited directly while over 4000 indirectly, according to Ms. Esther Makooma, the Impact and Outreach Manager at Sawa World.

These were trained in various skills including; making organic fertilizers and pesticides, making notebooks, mushroom gardens, making African handmade sandals, and dried herbs and spices production among others.

“The main target of this project, which commenced in November 2019 and is scheduled to run until April 2025, aims to reach 10,000 youth coffee farmers both directly and indirectly, showcasing the remarkable impact of integrating local income skills and coffee farming,” she said adding,

“The micro-businesses require minimal capital of less than $50 in startup capital, and yet have the potential to generate a monthly income of between $27 and $31 so a youth coffee farmer in a year earns $339 (Shs1.2m),”

Ms. Makooma says that these training programs were designed to address the major challenges faced by these young coffee farmers including unpredictable weather, long wait for income generation, and high cost of coffee pesticides and fertilizers.

“The making of books which has benefited the majority was aimed at helping them not to sell their coffee while raw due to lack of income but wait for the season to fully harvest it,” she said.

“At the end of 2022, we conducted an evaluation to assess which youth had started projects in all the districts and recorded 343 micro-businesses started. To boost these businesses, we supported them with hard-to-get materials to encourage their expansion.

In the same development, Mr. Wilberforce Mulindwa, the deputy chairperson of Gombe village said that youths’ involvement in these income-generating activities has had a big impact on their community and reduced the levels of criminal activities and the positive economic impact on the community.

“The books they make are being sold to parents, they are making the organic pesticides and fertilizers locally which is helping the majority of coffee farmers to increase their coffee production and allowing them to save money,” he said.

These new income skills have united the youth farmers in their groups which has enabled them to be recognized in different government programs at the Parish level for example under the Parish Development Model.

Testimonies
During the field visits conducted this week in the Ssekanyobi sub-county, Mityana District, the beneficiary lauded Sawa World and Lavazza Foundation for the skills and support it offered to them which has since helped them transform their lives.

Among the 30 beneficiaries of the Ujana Coffee project in Gombe Village, Kagerekamu Parish is Ms. Monica Nantume, is a 32 old coffee farmer
Ms. Nantume told this website that her coffee farming journey was initially challenged by pests and diseases, a lack of better farming methods, and price changes in the market.

She said that she could not yield more than 100 kilograms per season, due to challenges that ranged from expensive pesticides, low income, and poor livelihood.

“Being a coffee farmer and mother of seven, waiting for over six months to harvest the coffee was financially straining. The unpredictable weather and price changes left me disappointed. Sometimes, I couldn’t afford to pay for my children’s school fees since I was waiting to harvest coffee and earn income” she said

Earlier last year, Ms. Nantume was among the beneficiaries of the Ujana Coffee Project which left her life totally changed.

“The different income skills I learned under the Ujana Coffee Project such as making notebooks and organic pesticides were a solution to my challenges as a coffee farmer,” she said

Adding, “I now use the organic pesticides made from the locally available materials when spraying in my coffee plantation and don’t have to spend a lot on buying artificial pesticides and organic fertilizers. Making notebooks has been an alternative income source for me. Not only do my children use them, but the income from selling them also contributes to covering our children’s school tuition, easing the financial burden on my husband,”

These alternative income skills did not benefit Ms. Nantume alone, but literally the majority of the coffee farmers especially youths with low income.

Mr. Francis Sserugo also owns a three-acre coffee plantation.

“Sometimes due to lack of funds I could sell off part of my coffee while it is still young at a cheap price just to get money to pay school fees for my children,” he said.

Francis started a notebook business and earned Shs350,000 in a month from learning the skill. He used this additional income to cater for part of his children’s school fees while he waited for the coffee to grow.

He also makes organic pesticides that have enhanced his coffee production from 10 dry bags worth 90 kg of coffee beans to 30 dry bags worth 90kg of coffee. He is also able to save between Shs200,000 and Shs300,000 which was initially used in the coffee plantation to buy artificial fertilizers and pesticides.

Close to 170 youths from this sub-county were among the 765 youths who benefitted from the alternative income skills training under the Ujana Coffee Project.

Partnership
Since 2019, the Lavazza Foundation has joined hands with Sawa World under the Ujana Coffee Project to offer numerous trainings in 20 income skills aimed at diversifying and increasing the income of youth coffee farmers from smallholder coffee farms in order to motivate them to stay farming and improve their livelihoods.

Mr. Sserugo who also works as the secretary of Gombe-based Tukolele wamu Gombe group said that their major interest as young coffee farmers was making notebooks and organic pesticides due to the market demand and local availability of resources.

“Fortunately, all of us who attended the training mastered the entire process of making these skills and are not only sustaining our own needs but also providing these essential fertilizers and pesticides to fellow coffee farmers,” he added smiling.

Ms. Nantume, who once harvested 100 kilograms from her half-acreage garden, said that she now enjoys yields ranging from 250kg of dried coffee.

We interfaced with Robert Muyanja another beneficiary from Magara village in Magara Parish in Sekanyonyi Sub County in Mityana who mentioned that he started a business in making notebooks after training his group in alternative income skills like notebooks, African handmade sandals among others. In a period of six months, he started a small shop in the Sekanyonyi trading center that sells notebooks and other scholastic materials.

In other villages
Mr Robert Muyanja now owns a shop in Magara Trading Center which sells books made by his group Magara Village Development Group the income which has enabled their group to develop.

Similarly, Mr Sserugo who previously harvested 10 bags worth 90 kg per season, now boasts a remarkable 30 bags of 90kg every season and foresees even more promising harvests after three months.

Integration
In addition to making organic pesticides, the youth farmers have also learned how to make African handmade sandals, both of which they have successfully put into practice.

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