Information technology and permaculture for women farmers
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ICOD Action Network is a grass-roots organization in Uganda. We envision a Uganda society empowered, free from disease and suffering, where human rights are observed
About Your Organization
ICOD Action Network
Uganda, XX, Lyantonde
Country where this project is creating social impact
Uganda, XX, Lyantonde
Is your organization a
Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization
How long has your organization been operating?
Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them
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Name Your Entry
Information technology and permaculture for women farmers
Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Growth (your pilot is up and running, and starting to expand)
How long have you been in operation?
Operating for 1‐5 years
Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two
The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
Access to current and relevant information in today’s competitive world is imperative for individual, as well as community growth and development. Affordable or free Internet access empowers women with a wealth of information, solutions, and resources. Today, in rural Uganda, most women do not have easy access to information that could drastically change their lives. Female teachers, students, farmers, business owners and individuals all don’t have access to vital information More so, because of the tradition-driven discrimination against women, women lack information and skills to design their own farms, build self-sufficient agriculture systems and farms basing on market needs.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
Using a solar powered internet facility; the solution will be host the following initiatives for women farmers to use information technology to increase farm production and incomes.
1) Information and technology trainings
2) Permaculture trainings
The proposed solution will partner with women’s groups in an information-sharing program that provides instruction in information technology to elected women called “Information Agents” from each group. The agents will use their training to retrieve relevant information on agriculture - such as market access and prices, disease and pest control methods, weather patterns, and soil management from the Internet center to be posted in their respective villages for their communities to access at large. This project will also facilitate women to be trained in a sustainable agricultural practice called “Permaculture”.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
Elected women called “Information Agents” from each group will be trained on using computers and internet to access agriculture related information. Information agents will then go back to their communities, mobilize and engage women’s groups in discussion on information needed to change their lives, skills they needed so as to sustain production and increase family incomes. Information agents who are facilitated with a bicycle each, will ride to the solar powered internet center twice a week, search for information, get in touch with other successful farmers online, print information requested by their communities and the post the information in their communities for a community-wide dissemination. Information agents will also be trained in photography , will use web-based messaging portals to send agriculture and market related information to farmers mobile phones and will also use video shows to promote sustainable agriculture and skills transfer.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
The proposed solution has no competitor in the entire region (Southwestern Uganda). ICOD Action Network is pioneering access to Internet for women farmers in this area of Uganda and sharing success stories with other organizations operating in districts of southwestern Uganda. If more players come into the field of increasing women’s access to information technology, more women will be catered for and they will have access to information that is relevant to transform their lives and improve their socio-economic status.
This Entry is about (Issues)
What solution(s) does your initiative address to better the lives of girls and women by leveraging technology? (select all applicable)
Access to technology, Access to education/training, Access to economic opportunity.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Since inception, the solution has provided training to 72 women farmers from five women farming groups and can now use computers and internet to access agriculture related information to share with their communities. The solution has also impacted people living with HIV/AIDS at a local hospital. People living with HIV/AIDS use internet to access to information on positive living and have timely updates on ARVs supply and access at the local health centers. The solution has reached out to 1760 rural farmers through video shows organized twice a month. The project also provided on-farm permaculture training to local farmers. We also hosted Warren Brush, a permaculture specialist and founder of Quail Springs Learning Oasis and Permaculture , California USA who taught local farmers permaculture skills.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
The information-sharing program will increase women’s access to information necessary to create change in households and communities. A new breed of women leaders and social activists will be borne out of this project with special skills to use information technology and media to mobilize and train their communities for collective action.
This training will provide a valuable community resource for diverse training and information sharing in the fields of agriculture, health and economy.
There will be improved crop yields and crop diversity due to adoption of environmentally friendly agriculture practices taught in permaculture trainings.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Most communities in developing countries look at NGOs as the only source of survival and a source of livelihoods. This has created dependence and limited innovation in most communities to find long lasting solutions to overcome development barriers. The proposed solution will continue to engage communities in making decisions and adopting practices that will create sustainable change. For example, working with information agents elected by their respective communities because their outstanding skills will be a sustainable way to create change from within communities by people who understand their communities better. Information agents will trained and equipped to participate at all stages of the proposed solution.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Community entry and training
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Identification and training women (information agents) in information technology.
Training information agents in permaculture and disseminating information got from the internet
Information agents start on-farm training for communities in permaculture, supported by field staff
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Information agents using video, text massages to raise communities awareness on sustainable agriculture
Inter-community exchange visits organized by information agents to enable farmers share experience
Information agents, identify and train other agents from other communities who replicate the project in their communities
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
As most parts of the world got connected to the World Wide Web and adopted Internet as a means of communication, research, networking among others, Lyantonde community in Southwestern Uganda lagged behind. To access Internet, one had to travel 65 or 72 kilometers west or east of the town to access Internet. Lyantonde being the main town of the district, relied on a public address system in the middle of the town for information. ICOD Action Network and our USA partners Project Focus carried out community assessment in 2008 and lack of access to information came out as a top need of the community leading to the launch of Lyantonde Internet Center in spring of 2009.
Tell us about your partnerships
ICOD Action Network is a member of the Lyantonde District NGO Forum. The organization also partners with a Chicago based non-profit, Project Focus with which we have jointly implemented several projects included information technology. The Organization recently started partnering with Globe Med. ICOD Action Network will partner with Globe Med Arizona State University chapter in a sanitation project in Uganda. We have also previously partnered with Click Diagnostics in a health program.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
Accessing information on how to improve on the project would help us in future. This information can be lessons from other organizations in other parts of the world that have more experience in this kind of project.Linking local women farmers to online discussion forums and putting in touch with other successful farmers would help them network, share experience and learn from other farmers.