My name is Gloria Namuyombya an intern with Field of Hope. I have been working with FOH since 7th February, 2022 and I have had an opportunity to work in all its three pillars. I must say every pillar is unique, but what is common in all pillars is the passion for empowering the community and improving the livelihoods of those involved through agriculture.
In the Smallholder Farmer Advancement pillar, I have the privilege to work with seven women farmer groups consisting of over 330 farmers, training them on various aspects like nutrition, agriscience, VSLA and, group dynamics. The joy the women always have when they see us go train keeps me looking forward to the next days’ training to see these beautiful smiles again. They are always eager to learn and embrace new methods of farming to improve the quality of their yields and their levels of income. They have a dream to earn better from their farming activities and FOH, through these trainings, is enabling them to realize their dreams.
While with the women farmers, you will have several highlights, but what stands out is their love for Christ and their strong praise sessions. You can never fail to dance listening to their melodious voices lifting the name of Jesus high and am always anxiously waiting for these interlude sessions to praise God together. This sets FOH’s model of training way apart as Jesus is always at the center of every training. The women have a lot of impactful stories to share since they started working with FOH ranging from improved agricultural productivity to better livelihoods that has enabled them to support their families better.
The other unique aspect about FOH is the urban garden at the office in Lira, Uganda. It is a very beautiful scenery that ushers you into the FOH office. It is amazing how this small, but innovative, garden can sufficiently provide vegetables to the FOH Ugandan staff and also make it possible to share portions with other people who visit the office occasionally. It is one learning point that I am going to implement back home to cut down on the cost of feeding and provide an alternative source of income for my mother. I want to teach my mother this skill so that she may also teach other community members to boost food security in our community. I believe that to excite youths to venture into agriculture we have to present agriculture using fun and innovative ways and urban gardening is one of those innovative ways.
In the Youth Agriculture Education Pillar, I have had a chance to participate in several school and ISAG project visits within Lango-subregion. The level of enthusiasm the students have for agriculture is unmatched. This stems from the use of teacher guides and supplements FOH distributes to the teachers and various teacher trainings held which have empowered the teachers to teach agriculture more practically and in an interesting manner through use of the interest approach. FOH is doing a tremendous work in changing the perception of the students towards agriculture and the for the students I talked to, I was so excited listening to their career aspirations in the agricultural field. The students have refreshed new dreams of pursuing agriculture as a career that has been made possible through the mentoring sessions by the FOH staff at the end of each school visit conducted. I enjoyed sharing with the students about agriculture as a profession and reassuring them that their life dreams are possible and alive if they pursue agriculture with passion.
The ISAG projects impact many students’ lives. A number of them have started implementing similar projects at home and teaching their communities the skills learned from these projects. The projects initially meant for the students at school are expanding with their impact reaching community level. Listening to the students testify how they are now able to afford personal and school requirements ands school fees due to the money they are earning from implementing similar projects back home shows the extent to which the organization is breaking all boundaries to reach out to every individual out there in the community and enable them to live better lives. These projects are sustaining several students in these schools by equipping them with relevant knowledge and skills to practice agriculture as a business.
On a personal level, working with FOH is an answered prayer. I always prayed to God to put me in a workplace where I can draw closer to Him, a place where His name will be glorified and given priority in all that’s being done, and I got exactly that working with FOH. The bible says in the book of Mathew 6:33, “Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need” (NLT). At FOH, in whatever that is done, prayer is always the first step and the monthly bible studies are a great highlight for me. The family has paved way for me to draw closer to God and get a deeper meaning of His word. Prayer as one of the core values of FOH assured me that the organization was built on a solid rock and through the work done, God’s love is manifested to all mankind. To anyone seeking a family with whom together you can serve God and see His glory manifest through the works of your hand then FOH is that family.
Working with FOH has equipped me with hands on agricultural professional skills and expertise and I strongly believe that I now have all it takes to practice agriculture extension and education as a professional. It has also taught me that it’s possible to realize your dreams from any part of the world if you have passion for what you are doing. I come from the central part of Uganda but here working in Lango-subregion (Northern Uganda) fulfilling my dream of serving the community through agriculture extension and education. Despite the cultural differences, three things join us that is the love for God, mankind and Agriculture which is all that matters.
Finally, I cannot talk about FOH without talking about the wonderful Ugandan team that I have been working with for over eight weeks now. They are a team of very passionate individuals about agriculture and the community they serve, very hardworking but above all they are people who love God. They have made my internship a lot way easier by guiding me through my day-to-day tasks to see that I develop professionally and get equipped with skills essential to be an all-round agricultural professional. They are very jolly people that there is never a moment of dullness be it in office or in the field which makes work more enjoyable. I could have never prayed for any other team to work with during this stage of my career development than this great family.
I extend my sincere gratitude to the entire FOH Ugandan team, Okullu Walter, Agnes Obote, Nicholas Ssebalamu and Apea Joseph for the guidance rendered to me during this stage of my career. I also extend my sincere gratitude to the whole FOH fraternity for giving me the opportunity to serve as an intern in the mighty organization and learn from everyone. May the living God bless you all abundantly.