Photos by Kelvin Owino, One Acre Fund senior communications associate.
“I love my children. Every day when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is to check on them and make sure everyone is okay,” says Yovita Kawage, a smallholder farmer from Mlanda, Tanzania. Accompanied by her daughter Rehema and her niece Karoline, Yovita walks proudly amidst the healthy maize stalks in her field. As a One Acre Fund farmer, this year she received high-quality seed and fertilizer delivered right to her doorstep, and training on how to use them effectively. Her investment in the One Acre Fund program will allow her to grow more than enough maize to feed her family, with an additional surplus left over to sell at market.
Yovita may live in a remote part of Tanzania, yet in many ways she is no different from parents worldwide. She takes great pride in her children, and works hard every single day to ensure they have healthy and happy lives, full of opportunities.
In honor of the International Day of Families 2015, we asked Yovita and a few smallholder farmers who work with One Acre Fund in East Africa to tell us why family is so important to them, and what they hope for their childrens' futures:
“The best moment of my day is when I sit down and enjoy food with my family. I feel very proud as a mother when my children are all healthy and laughing.” –Maria Luma, from Sadani, Tanzania.
“I work hard on my farm every day because the thought of my family going hungry scares me a lot. If everyone eats and is satisfied, then as a mother, I also feel satisfied and happy.” –Jemima Ayiema, from Masongo, Kenya.
“Family is very important to me, and I do everything I can to make my family happy. As a mother, raising my children well and building a bright future for them is my number one priority.”— Christine Wasike, from Marakaru, Kenya.
“I always try to teach my children how to become productive members of society. My parents taught me everything I know, and if I fail to teach my children then I will feel like I’ve let my parents down.” –Teresa Osebe, from Masongo, Kenya.
“Having peace and love in my family is better than any wealth in the world. I don’t wish for anything else as long as everybody in my family loves each other and works together.” –Emmanuel Nzasiyenga, from Karongi, Rwanda.
“I want my children to have a better life than me. I invest everything I have in their education because I know when they complete school they will get good jobs and live a better life than I did.” – Ferdinand Nkundakozera, from Nyamasheke, Rwanda.
“When I was growing up, I wanted to be a doctor, but I did not achieve this dream because I was not educated. Now I enroll all my children in school to ensure they achieve their dreams.” – Andrew Kavulude, from Kamuli, Uganda.
Whether it’s providing for our basic needs when we’re young, or offering advice and support when we’re older, families play an important role in every culture. In rural East Africa, smallholder farmers must overcome significant challenges, such as degraded soils, poor training, and lack of access to quality seed and fertilizer, just in order to feed their children. This International Day of Families, we honor these farmers’ hard work in seeing their children’s hopes and dreams fulfilled.
I HAD 20+ YEARS OFFICE AND FIELD EXPERIENCE ON VARIOUS POSITIONS AND UP TO THE GRASS ROOT COMMUNITY AS AN EXPERT, TRAINER, PROJECT DESIGN TEAM COORDINATOR, N/GO PROJECT EVALUATING TEAM MEMBER, COMMUNITY-BASED PARTICIPATORY PLANNING TEAM LEADER, ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND CONSERVATION,......
ULTIMATELY…AT THE TIP OF MY WORK EXPERIENCE I HAVE WRITTEN MY PAPER WHEN STUDYING MY ECONOMICS : ON HOW THE NON-TO-VERY-LITTLE-EDUCATED SMALLHOLDER FARMER BE GREATLY BENEFITED FROM AND WOULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE RURAL DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS BOTH AT MICRO/VILLAGE LEVEL AND MACRO/COUNTRY LEVEL THROUGH A NEW OF ITS KIND PARTNERSHIP FARMING MODEL AS A COMMERCIAL FARMER…..I CAN SUPPLY A SUMMARY OF THIS NEW APPROACH IF REQUESTED…..
I HAVE FOUND THIS PLATFORM AS A VERY RELEVANT AND BENEFICIARY OUTLET TO ADDRESS THE MULTIPLE-LAYERED SMALLHOLDER DIVERSE CHALLENGES…...I APPRECIATE WHAT IS ALREADY BEING DONE AND BEING TRIED TO DO…..