My name is Solomon Okello, a student of Makerere University serving with Field of Hope as an intern. I have passively spent almost two years with Field of Hope, since 2020, but actively spent a month with this amazing organization.
Field of Hope has three interesting pillars which include youth agricultural education, smallholder farmer advancement, and leadership development. The intersecting feature common to all these pillars is vision of capacity building, and I have had opportunity to interface with all of them.
The most interesting fact about Field of Hope is their unquenchable thirst and zeal to build capacities of members of the rural communities to step out and move above the poverty line below which most of them are currently living. After intervention by Field of Hope, members are being nutritionally food secured and financially stable and sound, developing students’ passions towards agriculture and its related disciplines as well as training the future global leaders responsive to future global demands.
Talking about smallholder farmer advancement pillar! During the little time I spent with Field of Hope, my superiors and I happened to run farmer group trainings in close to seven different farmer groups on different fields such as financial literacy, animal production and management, vegetable production and cassava production but the unifying response that participants in these different groups showed was the urge and willingness to learn new agricultural practices and technologies and this deeply communicated to me how much Field of Hope and its investment into SHFA is needed by rural communities. While at the training grounds, you see these groups of women coming through for the sessions and all you can empathetically imagine is going on in their minds are the questions of “how am I going to carry today’s family burdens?” but it’s interesting to see the activeness and the passion they portray in their faces full of smiles to learn new technologies.
Coming from a family that undertakes small scale farming, I told myself while still in my first year at campus that “you left home to make it better”. This statement meant studying agriculture and being in position to use the knowledge acquired to positively make better the status of not only my own home but also homes that have the same or similar status which are the small-scale farming families which constitute the highest proportion of the farming communities in Uganda. So, with the different farmers’ trainings that I actively participated in across Lango sub-region, I joyfully feel like it’s a “dream come true” knowing that I have delivered the information and that participants have taken it for their consumption and therefore the betterment of their respective homes and people around them. However, the dream became even much more pronounced and stronger in my mind when one of the female participants called and requested me after the animal production training that “my son, please come back and help us again and again” and her request speaks to the world on how much the agricultural knowledge extension to the rural communities is needed.
But wait, I can’t fail to talk about Field of Hope team! There is a way that God has set Field of Hope unique in all aspects! You know, every time you journey into a new environment there is always that one question of “how will my first 2, 3 or 4 days look like?” and so from the time I left campus till I reached Lira this question never skipped my mind. Stepping into the office premise, the games in my mind changed on seeing the environment that different amazing personalities within the team created in the office and it immediately painted an image of colleagueship rather than student-boss relationship in my mind. This image made it extremely easy for me to fit within the team. The fear of God and borderless love in these people made it much simpler for me to fulfill my internship objectives and I deeply pray that the team continues with the same spirit to help thousands of internees who will come through over the time to fulfill the respective objectives and become professionals who are responsive to their societal and global needs.
Field of Hope team is completely full of people who are “down to earth”, knowledgeable yet having endless passions to learn new things to deliver to the communities they serve. Hard work and team spirit within these people is one of the key lessons I learnt and amidst this hard work, spicy stories would never miss but what leaves a permanent “water mark” in my mind is the fact that every story cracked whether in office or along the way to the field would be seasoned with a Biblical scripture which tells a lot how much prayer as one of the core values of the organization is observed.
Finally, I extend my deep heart-felt appreciation to the general management of Field of Hope for granting me the opportunity to serve in the organization and for the subsequent supports of all kinds offered to me. At individual level, I extend my appreciations to Alexa Major the Executive Director, Olivia the Program Manager, Walter Okullu the Country Coordinator, Agnes Obote the General Coordinator, through whose decisions I was granted the opportunity and supports. I also extend my appreciations to Nicholas, Program Officer, Joseph, Program Associate and David, Program Volunteer through whose knowledge and guidance I successfully accomplished my objectives. Great thanks to the two fellows from US, Rebekah McCarty and Oluwabukola Makinde for the excellent company and valuable pieces of advice that never left me the same and for being great inspiration to me. In one of the conversations with her, Bukky told me that “your opportunities are as many as the networks you create” an advice which changed the way I used to look at things around me.
Now, it is my deepest prayer that God richly expand the territory of Field of Hope so that it can be in position to accomplish its mission and individually bless both US and Ugandan team.
By: Solomon Okello, Intern 2022