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November 2007: International Partners

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Women in Small Enterprise (WISE)
By Beatrice Twayaga, Chairperson
Kabale, Uganda

            WISE is a Women’s Group and is a member of PELUM. It started in 1997 with 250 women, comprised of 10 village groups. Three leaders of each group meet every third Saturday of the month for training, evaluation and planning. Each village group meets every Saturday. The mission of WISE is to promote a prosperous, healthy and harmonious family with enough food for the family and cash income. Our goal together is to have enough food and surplus for sale to be able to send all our children to school and be model farmers.
            Our objectives are to promote each other spiritually, mentally and physically; to increase food security and cash in our homes through organic, sustainable agriculture; to grow enough fruit trees and fuel wood in our homes; and to create awareness about agriculture and health among group members and the community.

How I started Organic Agriculture

            When I started organic farming at St. Jude with Josephine Kizza, it was a miracle, and I was transformed into another person. I was a secondary school headmistress, but after St. Jude I stopped immediately. My husband is a lecturer at an institute for higher education that trains secondary school teachers. We had been living in government housing from 1972 to 1999. It was 1998 when I went to St. Jude. After learning all the knowledge I started practicing on government land. We decided, me and my husband, to get a loan from the bank and buy a piece of land. It was full of eucalyptus trees about forty years old. The soil was clay sand and unfertile. People around said that we had wasted our time buying the land.
            We uprooted the trees and grew the soil by making compost using the knowledge learned at St. Jude. It took us all our mind, knowledge and time to make it a beautiful home. On this land we have trained over 10,000 people. I have acted as a model farmer, and this piece of land has been a demonstration area. I have trained people from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Togo, Japan, China, etc.
The methods I used are the same methods I am going to use to change farmers from organic sustainable agriculture to GROW BIOINTENSIVE:

  • I am going to change myself from the lessons learned here and make sure everybody in the family buys my ideas.
  • The third Saturday of September I shall have a meeting with my women, talk about it and make a program to follow to learn.
  • I will join the local council meeting on agriculture and sell my ideas about the goodness of GROW BIOINTENSIVE to committee members and have them see my garden. This will be in November or December. If they buy GROW BIOINTENSIVE, I will ask to train farmers.
  • I will have the meeting with ESSAFF members to know about GROW BIOINTENSIVE and make a work plan for the trainings.
  • After a time I will visit some Biointensive farmers in the local areas of our country to see what they have done. A caution: I must first visit to get the best farmers.
  • Look for donors to expand the program.



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