Northern Uganda’s economy is almost entirely agrarian, yet the vast majority of its people lack sufficient farming skills. Twenty years of conflict displaced most Acholi into IDP camps, where nearly two generations lost key agricultural know-how. Many new refugees from South Sudan were nomadic cattle herders with no prior farming experience.
Subsistence farmers are severely impacted by climate change, which is creating increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather patterns that can leave crops decimated by flood or drought. Meanwhile, poverty and poor agronomic knowledge drives people to clear the land of trees for firewood and farmland, leading to devastating land degradation.
Culturally, it is women who bear the brunt of the burden of making sure their family is food secure.
AWR focuses on building the soil health and fertility of farmers’ fields, as well as the harvesting and “banking” of all the rainwater that falls on their fields. It’s simple, effective and life-changing.
Stabilize the land hydrology
Rebuild soil biology
Create biodiverse “food forests” that yield harvests in both dry and rainy seasons
Community mobilizers work with farmers for up to three years, empowering them to adopt agronomic techniques through hands-on practice. Farmers learn to stop burning fields, use mulch, dig swales to slow, spread and bank rainfall, and grow a diversity of crops and plants. This new knowledge goes hand in hand with a rise in environmental stewardship as they plant new trees and learn to manage and care for those already on their lands.
AWR pioneered this approach built on regenerative agricultural principles across conflict-affected Northern Uganda, and was one of the first to successfully implement it in a refugee setting. The model was subsequently adopted by USAID as best practice and has been adapted into training manuals.
Our regenerative agriculture work goes a step beyond sustainability to actively replenish and rebuild degraded water, soil and tree systems. It consists of community-led, participatory agricultural training, tree planting and food forestry, and a research, training and demonstration site.
On the farm and at the homestead, our model allows women and their families to thrive from the rich food and land stabilization that regenerative agriculture provides.