Strategic use of ICTs by rural women farmers for Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Uganda: Experiences, lessons and best practices
Lack of access to relevant, timely and authenticated agricultural information by rural communities is a major impediment to agricultural development in Uganda due to inadequate extension service delivery systems. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have the potential to leverage this bottleneck especially when it’s applied in a unique setting or community. In 2005, a Project on “Enhancing Access to Agricultural Information using Information and Communication Technologies’’ with support from the Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) was initiated in twelve parishes/villages of Maruzi and Kole Counties in Apac and [now] Kole Districts in Northern Uganda.
Traditional and modern ICT tools such as the radios, mobile phones, community radios, audio tapes, world space satellites, internet and computers were deployed to enable rural women farmers’ access agricultural information. Engagement strategies bringing women farmers, policy makers, agricultural experts and other stakeholders were conducted e.g. the Lango Forum on e-Agriculture. Partnerships and collaborations with research institutions and other NGOs involved in the areas of agriculture were instituted and information materials were repackaged in appropriate formats and distributed to women groups. These were anchored through the set up of a multi dimensional Information Center in Apac District with access to ICTs and agricultural resources. The set up of the Center supported project implementation and two way linkages with the women farmers.
WOUGNET shares a paper that presents experiences of one woman farmer who dropped out of school, got married and is now the focal point of attention in her community improving her own life, earning better income, educating her children and serving as change agent within her community. The paper details application of e-Agriculture, m-agriculture, capacity building and engagement strategies employed by WOUGNET while at the same time sharing successes and view point of one youth farmer. Overall, the paper will highlight the important role women play in agricultural development all over the world e.g. as clearly stated, the FAO’s State of Agriculture 2011 “Closing the gender gap”, asserts that the empowerment of women could raise farm productivity by 20-30 percent, increase nationals agricultural output by 2.5 to 4.0 percent and ultimately, lift 100 to 150 million people out of hunger. Yet, even though women are major producers of food crops in most of the world, they lag behind men in ownership of land, access to income from land, access to information and the ability to share and learn from this knowledge (FAO, 2011).
This is an insight of some of the work that WOUGNET has done in Northern Uganda. Please download a copy and read it for yourself and feel free to leave a comment.Strategic-Use-of-ICTs-in-Northern-Uganda_CTA-Papers-Set-1_re.pdf (80 downloads)