A look at some of our achievements in 2013

The findings from the Monitoring, Reporting, Accountability and Learning (MRAL) Tool exercise that was conducted in December 2013 among all the beneficiary households under West Nile Development Initiative and Increasing West Nile Smallholder Farmers’ Agricultural Productivity is summarized in figure 4 below. It shows positive gains from the baseline situation on almost all fronts. For instance, poverty declined by 6% as 1 in every 10 households have at least a cash savings of UGX 1 million; 9 in every 10 households are able to eat 3 meals a day and use safe water points.

Figure 5: Results of WENDI programme in the Beneficiary Households

While a number of case studies detailed in our period project reports  reveal how such phenomenal changes are being achieved, below are a few of the cases drawn from concluded projects.

Youth vocational skilling for wealth creation

The Context
Uganda has made impressive economic development in the last two decades. Poverty headcount declined from 56% in 1992 to 22% in 2013 while 33% of the total population is middle class. However, the youth as a social category are economically deprived. The more than 46% youth in the 3.3 million people in West Nile are not any better. Over 80% live on less than US$1.25 per day in addition to over 65% who are unemployed due to the 27 years (1979-2006) of political turbulence, limited experiences and skills for the already very formal labour market, lack of access to resources, and the mismatch of education to labour market needs. As a result, many youth are in vulnerable employment in the informal sector that largely pay dismal average monthly wage of UGX 48,500; money that can hardly lift them out of poverty. Many are therefore poor without any savings and productive assets.

The Responses
AFARD has adopted a private-academic-CSO partnership to provide vocational skilling for rural youth especially with AFRISA of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-security (COVAB), Makerere University, Flaminio Vocational Training Center, Arua Diocese, and Odokibo Agricultural Training Center, Yumbe. The trainees are provided 3-6 month residential training, 1-month industrial placement, start-up inputs, and 6-month business and technical mentoring support to grow their businesses.

The Results
With mentorship, business linkages, and follow-ups, the following results were evident:

  • 96% of the trainees established own businesses and 4% became employees. The Youth enterprises employed additional 0.7 youths.
  • With an average enterprise stock value stood at UGX 2.5 million and monthly cash savings of UGX 35,000 – 357,000 all the self-employed youth had saved in productive assets that reduced their asset poverty levels by 29%.
  • These youth gained self-worth and positive aspirations of a future they can control as 94% up desired further education that they had missed because of poverty.

Lessons Learned include: (i) Effective youth vocational skills requires local market responsiveness to avoid business failures and skills migration to urban areas; (ii) Skills training should be tailored-made to the educational levels of the youth if competencies are to be built; (iii) Self-employment requires technical, business and financial management skills; (iv) Modest start-up inputs are inevitable for youth enterprises to start; (v) Joint periodic performance review of trainees by trainers, support agencies and policy makers is critical for building business linkages, market relevance and policy lobby; (vi) Young businesses require continued access to business development services for them to grow; (vii) Business linkages to financial institutions and established firms is required for maturing businesses; and (viii) Youth skilling requires partnership so as to leverage stakeholder strengths.

Women forum: the platform for advocating and monitoring women’s interests in decentralized governance

The Context
Uganda adopted decentralization policy in 1993 to bring governance and services closer to the ordinary citizens. To do so, ordinary citizens were expected to engage their local leaders in demanding for quality and equitable services. The leaders would in turn be responsive and accountable to their electorates. However, over time it became evident that decentralization does not automatically mean improved and accessible services for all people. Women are especially excluded accessing services from decentralized budgets primarily because they have extremely low participation in lower local government planning, budgeting, and monitoring processes. This situation persists because: (i) Only few women are aware of their rights to decentralized development; and (ii) Women leaders have both limited knowledge of their roles and responsibilities and limited civic engagement skills with which to claim women’s rights to decentralized development.

The Response
To ensure effective women’s participation and access to local government budgets,
non-partisan Sub county Women Forums are formed and strengthen to lead a Women-led and Evidence-based advocacy. They create rights and political awareness among grassroots women, mobilize women’s priority development needs, lobby political and technical leaders, and monitor local government budgets.

The Results
The following results were reported during Outcome Tracing:

  • Women’s participation in local government planning and budgeting processes increased by 50%;
  • Budget allocation and disbursement for services sectors from which women benefited most increased by at least 25%. Hence, women won tangible projects such as improved seeds from NAADS programme, ambulance bicycles, maternity beds, placenta pits, and latrines in maternity units. Many boreholes, girls’ latrines in schools, and Functional l Adult Literacy classes were also provided.
  • Women leaders gain confidence in leadership and mobilization skills which they effectively used in winning the 2011 general elections by over 75%;
  • Local government political leaders appreciated that accountability was beyond financial management but required co-governance.

Lessons Learned
The key lessons drawn from this project are that local governments, for both political and ethical reasons, always respond to the advocacy pressures from special interest groups. However, this pressure yields positive results when the aggrieved women directly voice their grievances and monitor to their leaders. To do so, the women leaders must be organized into a Women’s Interest Group (Women Forum) and they must have effective political capabilities (e.g., knowledge of rights, and having planning, communication, advocacy, and monitoring skills) requisite in championing women’s interest.

Nyagorta- the market born from cassava

NYAGORTA in Alur language means “The Daughter of Gorta.” The name derived directly from gorta, the Irish Charity that funded the West Nile Development Initiative (WENDI), a 7-year integrated area-based development programme implemented by AFARD in West Nile districts of Nebbi, Zombo, Arua, Yumbe and Moyo in Uganda from 2009 to 2013. The beneficiaries coined the name to describe the sweet cassava varieties that the programme introduced to fight the extreme hunger prevailing at that time. The extreme hunger was the result of low productivity due to use of low yielding traditional variety on small pieces of land under poor agronomic practices.

The hunger effects on the families, especially between 2008 and 2010 were devastating. In Murusi Parish, Nebbi District in particular, many marriages broke, domestic strife and violence increased, cases of theft of domestic animals increased, about 60% of children dropped out of school, young men abandoned their young wives in search of extra income from fishing on lake Albert while others engaged in selling sisal ropes at UGX 30 (€0.01 per piece). Meanwhile women assumed the mantle of feeding the family. They trekked over 30Kms to buy food from markets in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and another 20Kms to sell in Panyimur market. Others engaged in selling their labor, selling firewood/charcoal and grass to fishing communities on Lake Albert. It was therefore not surprising a family was lucky if they ate one meal a day.

One crop introduced by WENDI in 2009 that rapidly impacted on food availability was the improved cassava varieties (TME14 and NASE). Their short maturing time from 6-13 months and sweet leaves that cook well as a local vegetable meant rapid relief from hunger. The wide canopy also suppresses weeds thus reducing weeding frequency to two compared to four times for traditional varieties. The varieties were also resistant to cassava mosaic disease that the local varieties had succumbed to.

The visible short term impact of the intervention was a dramatic increase in food availability and food adequacy. By 6 months, families were boiling the sweet tubers and leaves. All had at least 2 meals a day. By 10 months, households in Murusi were eating 3 meals a day. Time spent searching for food reduced and were redirected to farming. This led to increase in acreage per household from 1-2 acres. Meanwhile, many children bounced back at school.

By December 2009 Murusi axis households became the major suppliers of sweet cassava to local markets. Major customers were fishermen along Lake Albert and the Congolese who were still encumbered with local varieties and hence had severe food scarcity. In addition to sweet cassava, the stems also fetched money. The market in Congo (Nyarambe) was however too far (30 Kms away). The women together with local government administrators in Djegu (DRC) opened a cassava market in 2012. This relocation of market was because political insecurity in Nyarambe meant low production within DRC but also increased insecurity for Ugandan traders who preferred nearer market site.

By March 2013, the Nyagorta market in Djegu expanded into a general merchandize market, which is operated weekly every Sunday. The market attracts more than 2,000 traders on any one day. The traders come from as far as South Sudan and many districts in Uganda. Fleets of more than 100 vehicles flood the market with people and trade commodities. Every market day, the market manager estimated that they collect US$ 2,000 from market dues alone. The leader of brokers/loaders also pointed that each loader normally gets at least US$ 150 per market day. Indeed WENDI programme has impacted beyond the targeted villages into DRC!

Project Performances

West Nile Development Initiative (WENDI) Programme

(UGA/1906/09; UGA/1982/10; UGA/2018/11; UGA/2065/12; UGA/2091/12; UGA/2094/12 (West Nile Development Initiative (Year 1-5) and UGA/1986/10 (Increasing West Nile Smallholder farmers' agricultural productivity)

Location of the action: Nebbi, Zombo, Arua, Yumbe and Moyo districts (25 LLGs)
Cost of the action (EUR): € 7,000,000
Role in the action: Coordinator
Donors to the action (name): Gorta and Irish Aid
Amount contributed (by donor): € 5,864,839
Dates: March 2009 – 31 December 2013

Objectives and results of the action
Overall goal: "To contribute to building a West Nile society in which the people are prosperous, healthy, and informed particularly by empowering rural marginalized communities to transform their energies for the attainment of secure and self-sustaining livelihoods."

The external evaluations found out that:

  • On Impact: In beneficiary households: 92% ate 3 balanced meals a day; 94% had food all year round; only 10% had cash saving of UGX 1 million although accumulation of assets was on the increase; 97% accessed safe drinking water and malaria sickness reduced from 66% (baseline) to 16%; 87% knew their HIV status; 63% of pregnant mothers delivered in health facilities. Literacy level increased from 20% to 57%; 80% participated in LLG decision-making processes; and BOs had UGX 1.5 billion as member-owned loan fund.
  • Youth-related impacts: Of the 117 youths trained in vocational skills (bakery, tailoring, programmed poultry hatching), 96% started own-account enterprises while 4% gained formal employment. These enterprises employed on average 1.6 people; generate an average monthly savings of UGX 90,000 up from UGX 18,000 and had average stock value of UGX 2.6 million from UGX 390,000. The asset poverty status (i.e., the ability to secure their 3-month household consumption needs at US$1.25 per person per day) improved by 29% from 20% to 49%. The average net worth of the youths increased by UGX 4.8 million from UGX 2.4 million to UGX 7.2 million. As a result, 10% of the self-employment considered that they were in the rich economic status in their villages.
  • On Sustainability: Local contributions averaged 72% of total investment. Beneficiaries had diversified their livelihood activities in order to sustain food and economic security. Group Loan Scheme increased financial inclusion to 94%. Community bye-laws on health and education were in place and routinely enforced. And citizenship building improved relationships with local governments.

Engendering Local Government Services delivery and accountability in decentralized local governments in Nebbi district

(Reference no: C8/A12/2005)

Location of the action: Nebbi district (19 LLGs)
Cost of the action (EUR): € 89,302
Role in the action: Coordinator
Donors to the action (name): 9th EDF – Civil Society Capacity Building Programme
Amount contributed (by donor): € 77,999 (excludes UGX 10,000,000 award won)
Dates: 29 March 2006 to 20 June 2008

Objectives and results of the action
Overall goal: Local governments in Nebbi district provide gender sensitive and equitable service to the community.
Specific objective:

  • Women council leaders have increased knowledge and skills in Gender Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation, Advocacy and Lobbying.
  • Women participate effectively in local government planning and budgeting processes
  • District and sub-county local governments are transparent and accountable to their constituents in general and to women in particular.


  • Women’s participation in planning and budgeting processes increased by 28%.
  • The number of LLGs that initiated downward accountability improved from 0-18 of 19 LLGs.
  • Alliance between WCE and WC were built thereby enhancing the strategic and vocal women’s voices.
  • Community contribution to LLG projects improved given that people’s needs are starting to guide resources allocation.
  • Overall, LLGs’ resource allocation for social services tilted from 42% in FY 2005/06 to 55% in FY 2007/08. With all these, local governments constructed and equipped maternity units, market stalls and public latrines. They also started sponsoring needy girl children in secondary education

Engendering Decentralized Poverty Resources Management Project

(Reference no: DCI-NSAPVD/2008/169-745)

Location of the action: Nebbi, Zombo and Yumbe districts (6 LLGs)
Cost of the action (EUR): €372,427
Role in the action: Coordinator
Donors to the action (name): Delegation of the European Commission in Uganda
Amount contributed (by donor): €335,185
Dates: 2 December 2008 to 2 October 2011

Objectives and results of the action
Overall goal: "Local governments in West Nile districts of Nebbi and Yumbe provide gender sensitive and equitable services to the community".
Objective 1: Women and government leaders have increased knowledge and skills to champion women’s needs in local government decision-making processes.
Objective 2: Effective participation of women in local government budgeting and planning increased.
Objective 3: Local governments are transparent and accountable to their constituents in general and to women in particular

The external evaluation found that:

  • On relevance, EDPRMP was built on past project experiences and lessons. It addressed the felt needs of ineffective local governance and was well aligned to EC policy framework of social and downward accountability and the national policies of human rights.
  • On effectiveness, overall more than 98% of the project activities were implemented (and outputs delivered). Shortfalls were attributed rightly to delayed disbursements. Besides, 89% of the respondents pointed out that they participated in the project activities.
  • On efficiency, the project exhibited sound flexible management practices. AFARD policies were adhered to. Periodic reflection meetings were held. Annual financial audits were conducted. Local resource persons were used to execute trainings. And timely reports were submitted to EC and the Board of Directors. Regular monitoring shaped learning and strategy development.
  • On impacts, the project enabled more women leaders to know their roles and execute them. Women’s participation in planning processes increased. LLGs became responsive to women’s priority projects. Accountability started taking root and trust and community support to LLG projects improved. Thus, 6 strong Women Forums were established and they won a number of physical projects for women; construction of a health unit in Drajini Sub-county, and allocation of office space to Women in Jangokoro Sub-county. Further, many women gained political skills to contest and win elections; gains that provided more women access to better services like in production, health, and education, among others; gains that improved their livelihoods. They also gained access to the decision-making arena that was hitherto controlled by men.
  • On sustainability, EDPRMP anchored on Women Forums that were formed and are managed by women leaders for their shared goal of championing women’s interest in local government.

Mainstreaming rights to food in Sub-national plans and strategies

(Reference no: GCP/INT/087/GER)

Location of the action: Nebbi, Zombo and Yumbe districts (30 LLGs)
Cost of the action (EUR): €75,000
Role in the action: Coordinator
Donors to the action (name): FAO in Uganda
Amount contributed (by donor): €65,000
Dates: 8 October 2010 to 30 June 2013

Objectives and results of the action
Overall goal: Building capacity of local governments to formulate, manage and monitor respective development plans with priorities that strongly feature food security and nutrition.


  • 1,320 LLG leaders were trained on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) mainstreaming in local government (LLG) development plans
  • On community participation in planning: Interest groups were given ample opportunity to voice their independent concerns and follow them up to ensure they were included in the budgets. There was a general increase in participation in planning and LLG meetings at village and parish levels; and the responsible leaders have embraced their roles of mobilizing and ensuring communities participate in the planning meetings.
  • On the quality of the plans: All the LLG plans contained awareness and recognition of FNS issues. FNS analysis were partially conducted with some LLGs like Zeu and Drajini conducting FNS situation analysis independent of poverty analysis. The proposed activities were targeted at some vulnerable groups; and Budgets were multi-sectorally allocated as well as from different funding sources.
  • On responsiveness to FNS issues: Interests of women and youth were included in approved plans and budgets; Budget allocation for FNS in LLG plans and budgets increased by 15%; Almost all LLGs in Yumbe enacted bye-laws e.g. Kuru enacted a bye-law on tobacco farming that every household growing tobacco plants at least an acre of cassava and Drajini, Kerwa, and Odravu adopted bye-laws especially on stray animals; and Drajini LLG co-funded vulnerable groups to access NAADs programs.
  • On accountability for FNS: Accountabilities are given to specific sector meetings and beneficiaries and some are pinned on LLG notice boards; Minutes of planning meetings are now kept in sector and council files in all LLGs and details of attendances can be obtained in all LLGs.
  • At LLG levels: 84% involved vulnerable groups in FNS planning; 74% had multi-sectoral FNS budgets; and 82% provided feedback on FNS plan implementation to their constituencies.

Fisher Community Anti-AIDS Project (FiCAP)

(Reference no: RFA08-001)

Location of the action: Nebbi district (2 LLGs)
Cost of the action (EUR): € 318,937
Lead manager or partner: Dr. Alfred Lakwo
Donors to the action (name): Civil Society Fund (Uganda AIDS Commission)
Amount contributed (by donor): € 318,937
Dates: 31 April 2008 - 31 March 2012

Objectives and results of the action
Overall goal: Reduction of sexual transmission of HIV among fishing communities in Panyimur and Pakwach Sub counties in Nebbi district
Objective 1: To establish and motivate a cadre of 96 local people capable of sustaining efforts to prevent HIV spread.
Objective 2: To promote positive behaviour changes (sexual practices) among fisher folks in 8 major fishing villages
Objective 3: To increase correct and consistent condom use


  • All people have heard about HIV/AIDS as compared to 93% at baseline in 2008.
  • Comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS increased substantially. Those who ably mentioned at least 3 HIV/AIDS: modes of transmission increased from 50.5% to 80.3%; symptoms from 75.3% to 89%; modes of prevention from 55.7% to 85.7%; positive living from 44.9% to 79.7%; and essential prevention/mitigation services from 39.6% to 84.7%.
  • There was a decrease in casual sexual relationship from 37% to 25.4% and in cross-generational sex from 4.9% to 2.2%.
  • The community adopted better condom management practice with safe disposal of used condoms increased from 80.1% to 97.6%.
  • The PECs were comparatively more knowledgeable about basic facts about HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation. They formed Post Test Clubs (PTCs) which are now providing HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation services.
  • 5 more Post Test Clubs were formed providing support to 286 persons living with HIV/AIDs and 308 orphans and vulnerable children.

Safe water and Sanitation Projects in Singla, Jupaliga, and Murusi

(Reference no: KAM/S2/151/07, KAM/S2/355/08, and KAM/S2/272/09)

Location of the action: Nebbi district (3 LLGs)
Cost of the action (EUR): € 79,164
Lead manager or partner: Dr. Alfred Lakwo
Donors to the action (name): Royal Netherlands Embassy in Kampala
Amount contributed (by donor): € 74,673
Dates: July 2007 - March 2010

Objectives and results of the action
Project goal: To promote safe water and sanitation chain management for improved health status of the beneficiary communities in Nebbi district.

The specific objectives were:
a)    Increased household access to safe water points.
b)    Household utilization of safe sanitation practices improved.


  • Increased use of safer water points evident from the long day long queue for water by 50%
  • LLG adoption of our community policing approach as they developed and are enforcing community bye-laws
  • Increase in household construction of improved sanitation facilities – 89% pit latrines, 96% utensil drying racks, and 92% bath shelters
  • Adults reduction of bathing in the lake
  • Improved garbage collection from public places and rubbish pit construction in homes

Jangokoro Food Security Project

(Reference no: UGA 58871 AFARD)

Location of the action: Zombo district (1 LLG)
Cost of the action (EUR): € 39,004
Lead manager or partner: Dr. Alfred Lakwo
Donors to the action (name): Manos Unidas
Amount contributed (by donor): € 29,004
Dates: 30 July 2009 to 4 August 2010

Objectives and results of the action
Overall goal: Benefiting households are food secure.
Objective 1: Access to sustainable and improved agro-technologies increased by 100%.
Objective 2: Farmers’ knowledge and practice of better nutrition improved.


  • 95% of the households ate 3 descent meals a day, 98% shared food as a family, and 93% ate traditionally forbidden foods.
  • 63% households (59% more) set-up small family businesses
  • 83% of the households accessed group loans
  • From the business, many households were enabled to buy bicycles 19%, radios 21%, mobile phones 9%, and mattresses 28%. In addition, 54% and 96% paid education and medical bills respectively.
  • 93% (27% rise) of the households had own pit latrines, 60% (40% increase) use hand washing facilities and 74% (21% increase) sought treatment in modern health facilities.
  • The capacity of the groups increased by 50% from 30% to 80%.
  • Canmuwa had UGX. 4.3 million (and hired a 2 acre coffee plantation for 3 years) and Adiober, UGX. 3.5 million that they are rotating as loan fund.
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