At Kyobe Foundation, we believe that women play a crucial role in transforming food systems. Their contributions, knowledge, and skills are instrumental in ensuring food security, promoting sustainable agriculture, and reducing poverty in rural communities. Rural women in various parts of Uganda are primary food producers. They actively engage in agricultural activities such as crop cultivation, livestock rearing, and fisheries. Despite facing numerous challenges, including limited access to resources, land, credit, and technology, rural women demonstrate resilience and innovation in their farming practices. Kyobe Foundation supports women to employ sustainable and traditional methods that prioritize environmental conservation, such as organic farming and agroforestry. By doing so, they contribute to the preservation of biodiversity and the protection of natural resources. Moreover, rural women excel at local food processing, preservation, and storage techniques. They transform raw agricultural products into value-added goods like jams, vegetable powders, powdered herbs, spices and dried fruits and vegetables. These processed foods not only have a longer shelf life but also fetch higher prices, allowing women to generate income for their families and communities. Additionally, this practice reduces post-harvest losses and enables a steady supply of nutritious food throughout the year.
In recent years, rural women have become key players in promoting sustainable diets and nutrition. They possess traditional knowledge about indigenous crops, medicinal plants, and local recipes that are rich in essential nutrients. By sharing this knowledge and advocating for the consumption of traditional foods, rural women help address malnutrition and promote healthier eating habits. They are often involved in community-based nutrition programs, conducting cooking demonstrations and workshops to educate others on the importance of diverse and balanced diets. Furthermore, rural women are actively involved in collective action and social movements related to food systems. They participate in cooperatives, self-help groups, and farmer organizations, which empower them to have a stronger voice in decision-making processes. Through these platforms, they advocate for policies and programs that address gender inequalities, recognize their rights, and enhance their access to resources like land, credit, and markets. When we support them to organize themselves, rural women amplify their impact on food systems and contribute to more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable agricultural practices.
Women play a vital role in the field of agroecology, contributing to sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture practices. Agroecology focuses on the integration of ecological principles into agricultural systems, emphasizing biodiversity, soil health, and resource conservation. Women's involvement in this field is crucial as they bring unique perspectives, knowledge, and skills that are essential for achieving food security, promoting resilience, and ensuring sustainable livelihoods. One of the key contributions of women in agroecology lies in their deep connection with nature and their traditional knowledge of farming practices. Across Uganda, women have been engaged in agricultural activities for centuries, passing down their expertise through generations. Their understanding of Uganda’s ecosystems, crop growth patterns, and pest management techniques is invaluable for implementing agroecological approaches. Moreover, women often possess a strong bond with the land, leading them to prioritize the preservation of natural resources and the well-being of their communities. Furthermore, women play a significant role in enhancing soil fertility and conservation practices. They are responsible for organic waste management, composting, and the use of natural fertilizers, all of which contribute to building healthy soils. Women's participation in agroforestry, an integral component of agroecology, is also noteworthy. Agroforestry systems involve the integration of trees and crops, providing multiple benefits such as improved water management, increased biodiversity, and enhanced resilience to climate change. Women's expertise in managing trees and incorporating them into farming systems greatly contributes to the success of agroecological practices.
Besides their contributions in agricultural production, women in agroecology also play a critical role in empowering their communities. Many initiatives led by women focus on education, capacity building, and advocating for sustainable farming practices. Women often form cooperatives or self-help groups to share knowledge, exchange seeds, and collectively market their produce. These initiatives not only empower women economically but also strengthen community resilience and foster social cohesion. However, it is important to acknowledge that women face numerous challenges in fully participating in agroecology. Gender inequality, limited access to resources, discriminatory land tenure systems, and cultural norms often hinder women's engagement and decision-making power. Addressing these barriers is crucial for achieving gender equity and harnessing the full potential of women in agroecology. Women are agents of change in agroecology, contributing valuable knowledge and skills towards sustainable and resilient agriculture. Their traditional wisdom, commitment to preserving natural resources, and active involvement in various aspects of agroecological practices make them indispensable for transforming our food systems. Recognizing and supporting women's roles in agroecology is essential for building a just and sustainable future for all.