Empowering Communities Through Extension

Growing up in 4-H, a youth organization back home, I have always felt very familiar with extension services.  Knowing where my local extension office was located gave me the ability to acquire knowledge in agriculture easily.  At my young age, I never imagined this type of service was something that could be made available on an international or global scale.  After only a short time in Uganda, I have realized the influence of extension services throughout the country.  There are groups reaching out to the communities through many avenues, e.g. schools, health, and churches.  Being a fellow for FOH, has shown me all the work, passion, and commitment of the people involved with extension work provide to the community.  FOH believes that empowering people with improved agriculture techniques can improve the nutritional security that is needed in areas of Uganda.  I have to say that I agree and that FOH is doing just that.

So far on my journey, I have helped with post-harvest season training and the beginnings of a new project for a smallholder farmer group.  Additionally, I have been able to engage with the staff at FOH about preparation aspects of the projects they do.  I recently explained to a friend back home that extension work (specifically in agriculture) is basically being a liaison of information, some of which can be quite complex.  I further stated that extension takes the research and results available on a topic and turns it into something “digestible” for the consumer (farmer).  Through training and curriculum production, FOH has become a valuable resource as an extension agent to the small-holder farmers and the schools they work with.

If you were to look up the definition of empowerment, you would read that it is “a process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially over one’s life”.  By providing knowledge and training in practical agricultural skills, FOH is empowering the people they serve.  Once these farmers, teachers, or school children learn improved techniques, they are equipped with something that can rarely be lost: knowledge and experience.  Gaining the know-how of a new idea or product can change how efficient production of agriculture for a farmer or student can be.  In agriculture, efficient production leads to overall improvement of life for farmers (or students), whether that means more income, better nutrition, or less time spent on laboring fields.

This past week, I joined David, Joseph, and Hilda at Farm Camp.  I found that this camp was similar to 4-H camp back home.  The camp focuses on teaching students from around the country on production techniques.  FOH had the honor of partnering with the camp leaders and facilitating sessions during the camp.  In the opening ceremony, the camp director stated that 800 students were present, ranging in age from primary through secondary schools.  It was so amazing to see all these students gathered to learn about ways that agriculture can impact their lives and how they can improve their agricultural productivity.  The extension support that FOH gave this camp is just a small portion of their Youth agriculture education pillar.

Through my experience so far, I have learned a better understanding of what empowerment through extension services can mean to a family or a village of people.  I have witnessed how farmers are growing in knowledge on their crop production and practices because of the trainings they participate in.  I am excited that I get to see and be a small part of this organizations mission.

-Angela Hurst, Fellow ’23

Adventures in Agriculture: The Road Less Travelled

I’m sure the phrase “the road less traveled,” is not a new saying. I was listening to a speaker some years ago when I first heard that phrase. The speaker was describing how it was important to not follow the crowd, especially since we’re in the days, where standing up for something you believe in seems rare. Apparently, the words of the speaker (which unfortunately, I cannot remember who), resonated with me and clearly left an indelible mark on my mind, especially now that I am writing this.


My Christian faith has always influenced how I interacted with the world, and this has often led me on the road less traveled. This saying is once truer as I begin an incredible journey as a Field of Hope fellow this summer in Uganda. My expectations are high, considering having the opportunity to engage with Ugandan women farmers and creating high-impact experiences that will elevate their social economic status. However, I am even more excited to learn more about the Ugandan culture and how these women continue to remain resilient and thrive even in unfair circumstances.


There is something intriguing about the road less traveled – the twists, turns, uncertainties, unfamiliar faces and simply the fear of the unknown. But it also presents an incredible opportunity to trust. Yes, trust that God can lead us into spaces that will teach us more about Him, trust that He works all things together for our good, trust that we can give Him our skills, hopes and aspirations and He can use that to impact many lives. That has been my experience so far on this road less traveled, and I know it would not be any different in my time here in Uganda.


Being in Uganda for the past one week, I have gotten more ‘smiles and ‘hello’s’ that I could have imagined. I have seen people go out of their way to show me where to purchase things I need. I have learnt few words in “Lango”, one of the local languages in Uganda. The kindness of Ugandans so far has been mind-blowing, and I am excited to see how my journey here pans out.


“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” – Robert Frost.


By: Oluwabukola “Bukky” Makinde, Fellow ’22