Farmer Field Schools Cultivating Positive Change in Ngoma, Kirehe, and Nyaruguru Districts

Farmers across Ngoma, Kirehe, and Nyaruguru districts are witnessing the transformative power of Farmer Field Schools (FFS) on their agricultural practices and overall well-being. Through the Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment (RWEE) initiative, in collaboration with INADES and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), numerous FFS have been established in these regions.

Uwibambe Rachel, a forty-two-year-old mother of four and a participant in a farmer field school (FFS) from Saruhembe Cell, Mahama Sector in Kirehe District, attests to the invaluable skills and knowledge she has acquired through FFS learning activities. These insights have enabled her to optimize crop cultivation, diversify crops, select appropriate seeds, manage planting spacing, maintain soil health, and meticulously monitor crop growth. Rachel emphasizes how these practices have significantly enhanced her family’s nutrition, ensuring a balanced diet.

The RWEE project, part of the initiative, focuses not only on improving farming techniques but also on addressing social and economic challenges within households, such as gender-based violence. For instance, Rukomeza Emile, a resident of Kiremera Cell in Kirehe District, successfully resolved alcohol-related conflicts with his spouse through conflict management classes provided under the RWEE project. Inspired by these sessions, Rukomeza decided to quit alcohol, leading to improved family relations and collaborative decision-making in farming activities.

Combining sustainable agricultural training with life skills education, the RWEE project covers a wide array of topics including farming practices, soil health, seed selection, nutrition, hygiene, conflict resolution, and financial management. As part of its efforts, the project has established avocado nurseries and distributed over 61,828 avocado seedlings to enrich training and bolster agricultural productivity.

Josepha Mukamana, spearheading the project at FAO, expresses optimism regarding its significant impact, particularly on rural women’s livelihoods. The project’s primary goal is to enhance food and nutrition security, elevate the productive potential and income avenues for female farmers, foster women’s leadership roles, and promote their engagement in policy formulation. By equipping rural women with practical skills and knowledge in sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurial acumen, leadership capabilities, and awareness of gender equality and women’s rights, the FFS methodology empowers them to serve as catalysts for change, share expertise, and contribute to poverty reduction, in line with Rwanda’s developmental aspirations.

The RWEE project is a collaborative effort involving the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UNWOMEN), and the World Food Programme (WFP).

For further inquiries, please contact:

Marie Claire Muneza (Head of Communications) Email: Claire.Muneza@fao.org

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