AFIRD HISTORY STORY SERIES - Omw. Lydia Jjemba
My experience as a beneficiary of AFIRD
My name is Lydia Jjemba, a retired social worker and a farmer, I stay in Namayumba. I was one of the pioneer farmers that AFIRD supported, they groomed me into the farmer I am now. It is such a great honor to hear from AFIRD, I am overjoyed to know that AFIRD still remembers us and is reaching out for our support in this activity of documenting where AFIRD started.
I first learned about AFIRD in 1999, when Mr. Sajabi and Mr. Musimenta Julius who is currently the Executive Director and the Deputy ED respectively, were doing a farmers’ needs assessment in our village of Namayumba. By then, I was a woman leader in the community and so I got the opportunity of interacting with them directly since they were most interested in working with women and youths.
During the farmer needs assessment exercise, we visited a couple of farmers. Among these was a farmer who had just harvested her green pepper field and she had left behind a lot of wasted green paper in the garden. This captured their attention a lot and caused them to decide on training in post-harvest handling and value addition techniques. AFIRD was the first organization to educate farmers in our sub-county in sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry.
The training started in a village called Nzu in Namayumba Sub County. They started with a resource mapping activity; three farmer groups were created with thirty farmers in each group. We were trained in soil protection, tree planting and nursery beds, grafting, animal husbandry, compost making, postharvest handling, and a lot many some on schedule and some on-demand by the farmers. The trainings were hosted in turns by group members. During this period, many farmers’ livelihoods changed, and farmers adopted the new sustainable farming techniques. Our groups were supported actively by AFIRD for five years and after that when AFIRD moved to other sub-counties, they still supported us less actively from time to time.
As a person, I have benefited massively from AFIRD, right from the core of attaining knowledge from the trainings given to me and other farmers, I was also given farm inputs and animals like chickens, cows, and goats as were my fellow farmers. Due to my activeness in adopting the different -
interventions as trained by AFIRD, for example ‘Send A Cow’ supported me with cows and in building a bio-digester, this support was extended to me because I had already built a kraal for my cattle, and had a pasture stand both of which were AFIRD work.
My most memorable event was when AFIRD took us to the first farmer exhibition. It was from this exhibition that I saw a locally made fridge, it was made out of local materials and did not need electricity to keep things cool. This caught my attention, I made sure to study and when I went back home, I made it for myself, with a few improvements, I was able to make a fridge that I used for many years to keep my milk cool and fresh, and also extend its shelf life. Besides the fridge, I learned a lot from that exhibition, farmers shared many innovations that were practical and very useful and I always looked forward to exhibitions.
Today AFIRD has grown a lot, from AFIRD trainers moving by foot and bicycles to cars and motorcycles and from a small village to now more than one district, to me this means growth. I believe AFIRD can grow to spread its work to the entire country or even beyond. In the future, I hope AFIRD can consider building a one-stop training school that offers different courses in sustainable agriculture, where our children and grandchildren too can go and learn.
Narrated by: Omw. Lydia Jjemba
Written by: Nakiwala Gloria