To effectively grow your income and become resilient, a couple of skills need to be learnt, and businesses established and diversified. It is a culture that the United States Agency for International Development funded Graduating to Resilience Activity is working to instill in households living in extreme poverty in Kamwenge District, Southwestern Uganda.
One of the 6,824 households actively involved in the program is Florence Turyakira’s, a 42-year-old mother
of nine children. Her family was chosen to participate in livelihood activities that would help them transition from a state of food insecurity and fragility to self-reliance and resilience through a targeting procedure that aims at extremely poor families.
Florence’s children had no access to quality education and they were often in and out of their school since
she had no money to pay for their fees. Worse, the family couldn’t afford to feed the children with nutritious meals in the slightest quantities and their health was in disarray. Florence’s hopes of guiding her children to a bright elite future appeared hazy.
“I never had a chance to go to school myself because my parents believed it was not important. But my
pride will be seeing my children achieve tertiary education. It is energizing to be introduced as the mother
of a teacher, a nurse, a medical doctor or an engineer.” Florence confesses.
Florence lives in Butanda village in Biguli, Kamwenge District. Most of the population earn their living from farming, livestock trade, or simple small-scale businesses. Her family lives on an acre of inherited land where she practices subsistence agriculture; growing maize, beans, and cassava for consumption and a surplus for sale. Her land gradually began losing fertility, and the food production kept diminishing every season.
Luckily, for Florence and her family, their inclusion in the AVSI Foundation-implemented project would help families like hers evade such agricultural and livelihood challenges. In 2022, she joined a Village Saving and Loans Association with other members of her village and started receiving weekly coaching and trainings on
financial literacy, saving, nutrition, and business selection, planning, and management. This marked a turning point for Florence to reenvision achieving her dreams.
With the guidance of her coach and a monthly consumption support of cash for food, Florence started acting in accordance with what she had learnt from the Activity about the importance of soil preservation
and healthy nutrition. Her children are now healthy and productive. She implemented optimal agronomy methods, such as the planting of improved seed varieties and the application of fertilizers, with the
continuing assistance of her coach and trainer. Florence increased the yield from the family’s acre of land during the previous harvest by reaping four bags of corn and another of beans.
“Every time there is a harvest, I make sure I store enough food for our family because I now know the value of food in productivity and good health, something I previously had no knowledge of.” She narrates.
Florence began a livestock trade with some of the proceeds from her produce sales. To get the business off the ground, she bought three goats. She is confident that her children will attain a quality education - thanks to this source of income. Her weekly savings have relatively increased with her income, and she is regaining optimism.
Graduating to Resilience is a USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance-funded Activity led by AVSI Foundation in partnership with American Institute for Research and Trickle Up. The seven-year program (2018 to 2024) operational in Kamwenge District seeks to test the Graduation Approach’s ability to graduate 13,200 economically active but ultra-poor refugee and host community households unable to meet their basic needs consistently without some form of assistance. The program will engage households in two cohorts.