In Uganda, coffee is widely viewed as a man’s crop because to grow it, you need to own land and men are typically the heirs of inherited land. This means that even though in most cases it is the women in coffee growing households who do most of the agricultural labor and domestic work, there is a disparity in the decision-making regarding how profits are spent and invested.
That is why International Coffee Partners (ICP) recognize gender as an integral part of all interventions in Uganda. For over a decade, the ICP project which is implemented by Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) has conducted numerous gender trainings targeting farming families across the nation. These trainings take the form of couple seminars and individual household visits in which families are supported to identify the implications of gender inequalities and patriarchal norms on their coffee business. Thereafter, farming couples jointly formulate a household development plan to improve their division of agricultural labor and decision making particularly when it comes to how they spend their proceeds. The household plan is costed which promotes transparency when it comes to how much income there is and how it is spent and invested.
Couple seminars – part of the gender household approach
Household visits – part of the gender household approach
Our gender interventions spread from the family level to the wider community through exemplary farming couples who receive further training to become ‘Change Agents.’ The role of Change Agents is to support other households within their community to jointly develop household plans like they did. The gender equality message is also spread through skits performed at community gatherings by members of farmer organizations. These drama groups are supported by ICP through the procurement of musical instruments and traditional dance attire which enables them to vibrantly, and often humorously depict the inequalities between man and woman. This is a great way to tackle a sometimes-controversial topic as hundreds of community members attend the meetings where the drama groups perform for free.
An example of a household plan
A drama group performing at a community gathering
“The role of the woman in coffee in Uganda is changing. From being a quiet actor… she is now coming out! We are seeing that she is participating in farmer trainings, we are seeing that she is part of the leadership of farmer organizations and she is taking an active role in encouraging other women to join and have a voice.” – Malisa Mukanga, Co-Country Manager, HRNS Uganda
Over the years, more than 53,000 coffee farming households across Uganda have benefited from the ICP project’s gender trainings among other initiatives such as development and support of farmer organizations, improved market linkages and trainings on good agricultural practices. Farming families can now improve their livelihoods and ultimately achieve their dreams.
Watch the must see video below to hear firsthand what these dreams are, and to learn more about ICP’s gender interventions in Uganda!