The United States, through the Feed the Future Advancing Local Leadership, Innovation and Networks (ALL-IN) program, has launched a new research project that will build evidence on what works to strengthen the empowerment and resilience of smallholder women farmers in Uganda.

The three-year, $450,000 project, led by Makerere University, will test ways to transform and improve smallholder women farmer’s resilience to agricultural shocks and enhance their economic empowerment. The project will focus on stress-tolerant seeds and fertilizer, training on climate-smart agriculture, business skills, and low-cost crop insurance. The project will be implemented in the Isingiro and Alebtong districts in Uganda, where rural families can benefit from opportunities to improve their crop yields, incomes, nutrition and resilience to agricultural shocks.

“This project integrates multiple approaches with a focus on improving women’s livelihoods as well as their economic empowerment,” said Dr. Florence Kyoheirwe Muhanguzi, the project’s lead principal investigator and an associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Makerere University. “This research will build evidence to guide the development of policies in Uganda and across the region that effectively address women’s vulnerability to agricultural shocks through interventions that will increase their agricultural productivity, help diversify their incomes and improve the wellbeing of their families.”

Women are critical to agriculture in Uganda, contributing about 90 percent of the nation’s food. Yet they are more vulnerable than men to agricultural shocks caused by the effects of climate change. The majority of women farmers live in poverty, are subsistence-oriented and depend on basic farming practices that generally produce more low-value crops.

This project is being implemented using a mix of research methods. Detailed interviews will help the team to understand local concepts of women’s empowerment and the agricultural shocks women face. The team is implementing the main project interventions as a randomized controlled trial (RCT), which compares outcomes of farmers who receive the interventions to similar farmers who do not, which will show the true impacts of the individual interventions.

The project supports United States efforts in Uganda to achieve a well-nourished population, understand key drivers of vulnerability, increase households’ capacity to manage risk, and diversify community and household assets.

Dr. David Ameyaw, President and CEO of the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED), said that improving agricultural productivity is critical at this time, considering forecasts that poverty will increase even more due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Through this project, we believe that women’s empowerment and food security will be enhanced in the region,” Ameyaw said.

Feed the Future ALL-IN was established by USAID as a partnership between ICED, with offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Accra, Ghana, and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk & Resilience (MRR) based at the University of California, Davis. ALL-IN funds researchers at African institutions to lead large-scale international research collaborations, leveraging their local knowledge, skills and ideas to build actionable evidence for promoting resilience and inclusive agricultural growth. For more, visit:

“With the growing capacity in African universities and other institutions, it’s time for more of our local partners to take the lead,” said Dr. Michael Carter, director of the Feed the Future MRR Innovation Lab. “We anticipate that doing so will enhance the relevance and long-term impacts of the research.”

Read the project summary here:

This report is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Feed the Future ALL-IN and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. USAID administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.


Media contacts:

Dr. Florence Kyoheirwe Muhanguzi:
School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University

Dr. David Ameyaw:
President and CEO, International Centre for Evaluation and Development

Alex Russell:
Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk & Resilience

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