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Environment & Development series no. 15

The Rwenzori Experience

The Farmer Family Learning Group Approach to Human and Social Capital Building, Environmental Care and Food Sovereignty

By Mette Vaarst, Jane Nalunga, Thaddeo Tibasiima, Aage Dissing and Inge Lis Dissing

Publisher: TWN
ISBN: 978-967-5412-66-0
Year: 2012   No. of pages: 64
 14.5cm x 21cm

About the Book

This booklet is a portrait of a unique participatory learning project involving farming communities in the Rwenzori region of Western Uganda. The project brought rural households together in ‘Farmer Family Learning Groups’ (FFLGs) with the aim of enhancing community food security.

Guided by a facilitator, the families in each group supported one another in their farming activities, working together, sharing knowledge and learning from each other’s experiences. Through such collaboration and the use of organic and agro-ecological farming methods, the FFLGs have brought about increased yields and improved livelihoods for member families. In cooperating on the farm, members also came to enjoy closer relationships off it, within and among their families as well as in the broader local community.

This booklet, written by the coordinators of the FFLG project, looks at the guiding principles behind the project, how it has worked in practice, the successes achieved and challenges faced. As the authors explain, the Rwenzori Experience is one which highlights the value of a collaborative approach to food security and sustainable development. It is an ‘approach which is owned by everybody who uses it, and cannot be patented’.

Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements                                                    

 

1.   INTRODUCTION                                                                    

      1.1    The Farmer Family Learning Group Project                      

      1.2    Agricultural Training and Extension in Uganda                

      1.3    The Rwenzori Region and Challenges for Its Farmers       

2.   PROJECT BACKGROUND                                                   

      2.1    Organic Farming: The Use of Agro-ecological Methods   

      2.2    Identified Needs and Directions for a Farmer Group Project           

      2.3    The Course for Facilitators                                             

3.   THE FARMER FAMILY LEARNING GROUP APPROACH IN PRACTICE           

      3.1    Improved Crop Diversification                                       

      3.2    Increased Yields                                                             

      3.3    Adoption of Improved Agricultural Methods                  

      3.4    ‘Growing Our Own Food Instead of Buying’                         

      3.5    Local Seed Production                                                    

      3.6    Herbal Remedies for Plants, Animals and Humans         

      3.7    Improving the Local Environment                                                   

      3.8    Savings and Credit Schemes                                           

      3.9    Income Generation Activities in the Groups                   

      3.10  Keeping Cash Flow Records for Transparency               

      3.11  Improved Family Collaboration                                      

      3.12  Realizing the Potential of the Farms                                

      3.13  Helping People in Need                                                  

      3.14  Building Social Capital in the Local Community            

      3.15  Recognition by the Surrounding Society                         

      3.16  Flexible Implementation Makes the FFLG Approach Relevant to All Groups          

      3.17  Internal Facilitators Gradually Taking Over                    

     3.18  Networks of Farmers and Farmer Groups                                        

      3.19  Failure to Identify with Work on Demonstration Plots    

      3.20  Setting a Good Example                                                 

      3.21  When a Group Fails to Build Up Social Capital              

      3.22  Keeping a Group Coherent                                             

      3.23  The Most Significant Change: ‘Interrelationships Through Working Together’        

4.   SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES SUPPORTED BY THE FFLG

      APPROACH                                                                           

5.   CONCLUDING REMARKS AND PERSPECTIVES FOR THE FUTURE     

Appendix: The Project Partners                                                  

About the Authors     

                                        PRICE            POSTAGE

Malaysia                               RM9.00           RM1.00

Third World countries           US$6.00          US$2.00 (air);     US$1.00 (sea)

Other foreign countries         US$8.00          US$2.00 (air);     US$1.00 (sea)

 (For orders of more than 3 copies, please write in for reduced postal rate)

How to Order the Book

Visit our TWN Online Bookshop at: www.twnshop.com or contact Third World Network at 131 Jalan Macalister, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.

Website: www.twnside.org.sg

Tel: 604-2266159

Fax: 604-2264505

Email: twnet@po.jaring.my for further information.

 


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