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  • Fund for War-Affected Children and Youth in Northern Uganda
  • c/o Mary Page
  • 140 S. Dearborn Suite 1100
  • Chicago, Illinois 60603
  •  Phone: 504.314.2714
  •  info@ugandafund.org
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Field Reports

SAM 1283Arach Paska is a 49 years old woman, married to Odoch Justine, living in a household with 6 members, 2 of whom are her own children. Paska’s story begins in an Internally Displaced People’s, (IDP), – a period where life was terribly unpredictable, for the millions of people in these camps. Paska refers to life in the camp as uncertain, she observes that “in an IDP camp one was always wondering if they would live to see another sun-rise, life was very hard in the camp, there was very little food, no money, and there was the constant fear that the rebels would attack the camp”. For Paska the source of her fear of the rebels, the members of Lord’s Resistance Army; was not based on the horror tales of what the rebels could do, but on the fact that she suffered countless sexual abuses-One day I was gang raped by the rebels in my husband’s presence and later dumped in the bush and left for dead because I had chosen to stay back in the village instead of protected IDP camps. My relatives and husband thought I was dead and abandoned me in the bush. Luckily, I later gained consciousness and was supported by a kind hearted passerby who took me to the nearest IDP Camp in Tetugu, Koro Sub County where I lived under the protection of the UPDF and survived on relief”.

However in 2008, Paska and others were all relocated to Labora satellite IDP camp; she, along with several others, met together in an effort to forge a way forward after experiencing sexual abuses, trauma, and loss of the dear ones in the hands of the ruthless LRA fighters. However, because the group did not have a strong binding factor – save the experience of armed conflict; the group did not make much progress in helping its members heal, and reintegrate in the community. When Paska returned to her marital home in 2009, she begun subsistence agriculture, she grew crops like beans, sesame and cassava. The harvests were for household consumption, and any surplus that she got, she sold to make some money to meet her family’s basic needs. Paska says that although she worked very hard in her gardens, the crop yields were very low, and this meant that any earning she made from the gardens were very minimal – barely enough to cover the basic needs of her family. She says “I had inadequate agricultural knowledge, skills and inputs to engage in commercial farming on large scale, a situation that changed when I joined Anga Konya women’s group”. Anga Konya women group in Wang Lobo A village, Lapainat East-Koro Sub County, Omoro District has 30 members, majority of whom are survivors of conflict-related SGBV. As one of the members, Paska has benefited from many trainings and technical support from GWED-G, including but not limited to trainings in agronomy; and VSLA; and coaching and mentorship. This according to Paska has helped her make progress in many fronts including acquiring new agricultural skills that have helped her move away from subsistence farming, “I now engage in commercial farming thanks to the seeds and other farm inputs given to us by GWED-G in 2016,

Paska proudly reports that in the first season she ploughed 04 acres of rice, 2 acres of soya beans, and 3 acres of maize and subsequently harvested 35 sacks of threshed rice, 9 sacks of soya beans and 10 sacks of maize seeds respectively. In the month of July 2016, she sold majority of the harvests and left some for home consumption and a portion to re-plough in the second season. Summarily she accrued UGX 1,120,000 (One Million One Hundred and Twenty Thousand Ugandan Shillings Only) from the sale of 08 sacks of soya beans, UGX 3,300,000 from sale of 33 sacks of rice and UGX 1,260,000 from sale of maize flour. Her cumulative savings from the first season was UGX 5,680,000. Paska used UGX 3million savings and purchased 10 acres of land to further her commercial agriculture. In the second season she again planted 2 acres of maize; 1 acre of beans and 2 acres of rice. The harvests have come in and she reaped 8 sacks of maize, 4 sacks of threshed beans, and 15 sacks of threshed rice respectively. She is hopeful that when she sells these harvests she will still make good money, but sSAM 1308he is waiting for the demand to first go up before she can sell them. 

Another notable achievement is her active participation in the group’s VSLA, where she has managed to accumulate the highest savings amounting to 705,000/= (Seven Hundred and Five Thousand Ugandan Shillings only). Consistency in savings has also enabled her purchase two goats of which both have kidded. This she attributes to Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) training where emphasis on savings was not only geared to income for survival but also acquisition of assets. Additionally Paska, a woman who did not know if she would live to see tomorrow, is now a confident woman with livestock income and assets. Paska proudly reports that, “with the income I made from the sale of harvests from my gardens, such as rice, soya beans, and maize in the first season; coupled with my continuous weekly savings in the groups’ VSLA, I have been able to buy 3 cows. My animals are now 4 – one cow calved”.

Paska’s progress is tagged to the unique characteristics she exhibits such as being very industrious, committed to communal issues, working together with others and accommodative of everyone’s opinion and above all sharing ideas and plans with her husband before engaging in any transactions. She boosts of the project because it has empowered her since she is now a true leader, practicing farming as a business and above all she is in position to train others in similar areas.

US Office - Get In Touch

  •  Fund for War-Affected Children and Youth in Northern Uganda
  • c/o Mary Page
  • 140 S. Dearborn Suite 1100
  • Chicago, Illinois 60603
  •  Phone: 504.314.2714
  •  info@ugandafund.org

 

 

Gulu Office - Get In Touch

  •  Uganda Fund
    Plot 3 Erinayo Oryema Road
    Kanyagoga
    P.O. Box 1541
    Gulu, Uganda
  •  Phone: +256.790.916.017
  •  Skype: Uganda.Fund
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