Title: Empowering Rural Women Small Scale Farmers with Mobile Phone Skills to Access Market Information in Bugisu Sub-Region, Eastern Uganda

Author(s): Wamundu Muzamil
Final project
Year of publication:
Women's Empowerment
Number of pages:


The skyrocketing of mobile phone ownership in low and middle-income countries as reported by Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA), provides an opportunity for farmers to access information and practical advice on the farming and livestock strategies when and where they need it (GSMA, 2010). Empowering women farmers in rural areas with mobile phone skills represents an enormous social and commercial opportunity in improving the standard of living for members of society (GSMA, 2010). Uganda´s current population is at 34.9 million people, with the proportion of female and male populations at 17.9 female and 16.9 male million respectively (NPHC, 2014). Mobile phone access has also reached a record 52.3 percent, as reported by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC, 2014); as with many other African countries, such developments present unique challenges that continue to stress government structures and agencies (Brandie Lee, 2011). The bulk of Uganda´s population (87%) still resides in rural areas, 85% of whom are involved in subsistence agriculture (FAO, 2010). Nationwide, 90% of all rural women work in agriculture (as against 53% of rural men) with mixed farming systems as the main source of livelihood (FOWODE, 2012). In Uganda, socio-cultural stereotypes are still the main constraints to the full participation of women in political and economic empowerment (FAO, 2009). The government‘s policies on agriculture, aiming at promoting priority areas of the National Development Plan (NDP, 2010/11–2014/15) and bridging the equity gap in the agricultural sector, is undermined by the persistent of poverty in rural communities. This negative trend is likely to continue if key constraints to agricultural information and extension services to small-scale rural farmers are not addressed appropriately. The project intends to pilot the use of agricultural mobile phone apps for rural small-scale farmers as an alternative means to access agricultural information and extension services and to link them to potential traders to buy their produce. The main goal is to improve the livelihoods of twenty thousand rural small-scale farmers, both men and women, selected from three districts of Mbale, Manafwa, and Bududa, with sustainable incomes to benefit their families and the communities, and reduce the equity gap by at least 15% within a period of five years. It is expected that the success of the pilot mobile phone project will lay the ground to expand similar services to other districts country wide. The project will use the gender participatory approach with the aim of better benefit sharing for both men and women. The expected outcome is reduced household income gaps in rural small-scale farming communities in Mbale, Manafwa, and Bududa districts in Bugisu sub-region in Eastern Uganda.

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