A partnership between the PepsiCo Foundation – the philanthropic arm of one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, and CARE – a global humanitarian organisation, has improved the food and nutrition security of thousands of poor, rural households in Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts in Uganda.
In 2018 the PepsiCo Foundation, made a seven-year, $18.2 million investment in She Feeds the World (SFtW), CARE’s flagship programme aimed at tackling gender inequality in agriculture. The multi-million-dollar grant aims to provide resources and training to five million women farmers and their families around the globe to help them increase crop yields and income. SFtW is currently underway in Egypt, Peru, Thailand and Vietnam, and future programmes are in development.
Active in Uganda since 2018 to 2022, SFtW has reached over 540 000 people in Kyegegwa and Kyenjojo, exceeding its target of 490 000 as a result of the Foundation’s $2 million investment in the country. While the Foundation has concluded the programme’s funding, SFtW in Uganda leveraged its impact, including securing over $1-million from other funders to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the programme.
Commenting on the programme’s success, Devendri Adari, PepsiCo Foundation Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa, says, “As the PepsiCo Foundation we believe in feeding potential and leveraging the strengths of our partner organisations on the ground to drive sustainable change. Our approach is to empower and equip communities that we support to be self-sustaining well into the future. It is heartening to see how this programme has transformed the lives of these community members. We are also proud that local governments and other entities are keen to replicate it to drive social and economic change in other communities.”
Echoing this sentiment is Apollo Gabazira, the Country Director for CARE in Uganda, who says, “The approach and outcomes of this programme were multi-faceted and have laid a solid foundation for continued growth and transformation. Through various interventions, the programme was able to improve crop yields, increase sale of agricultural produce, improve food security, and transform community gender norms for sustainable, long-term change.”
Recognising that food security and nutrition cannot be addressed in isolation, SFtW adopts a holistic approach to tackling the challenge, including empowering men to serve as change agents to challenge harmful gender norms in their communities, and equip women with leadership skills.
She Feeds the World success stories
Below are two women whose involvement in the programme helped them break barriers and step into leadership positions within their homes and communities. In 2021, 96 women ran for public office for the first time, and 64 won the positions they were contesting. “This demonstrates that removing barriers to leadership for women can help them achieve their goals and contribute to creating more diverse, equitable and inclusive societies,” concludes Adari.
Jenifer Atuhaire and Agnes Isingoma challenged gender stereotypes and roles by standing for political office in their communities. They both overcame many hurdles, including convincing their respective husbands that they could run and possibly win. Here are their stories.
Through the leadership workshops offered by SFtW, Jenifer gained tools which helped build her confidence and realise her self-worth. At the same time, Jenifer’s husband took part in one of SFtW’s “Male Action Groups,” aimed at improving gender relations within households.
As a result of her new-found confidence and encouragement from her husband, who now supports her professional pursuits as a result of the Male Action Group, Jenifer ran for the Councillor position in her area during the Ugandan General Elections in 2021, she won and was elected as a Councillor for the 2021 to 2026 term.
Agnes and Pius Isingoma
Agnes and Pius, a couple living in Western Uganda improved their marriage through the support and training they received from SFtW’s various initiatives, including one run for men and boys called “Role Model Men” (RMM).
This programme teaches participants about gender equality and empowers them to challenge harmful gender norms in their communities. As an RMM participant, Pius learnt how to let go of patriarchal beliefs and practices that prevented Agnes from pursuing her goals.
Between gaining more support from her husband and a sense of empowerment from the leadership training, Agnes ran for a Councillorship position during this year’s elections. She also won and is now a public office holder.