Kumi Peter Korsuk was one of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars supported through RUFORUM who graduated this year on 11th January with Msc in Agri-enterprises Development at Gulu University, one of the TAGDev implementing Universities. As a way of supporting some of the graduates to advance their research findings by interacting with communities, RUFORUM provided a financial award known as The Field Attachment Program Award (FAPA). Peter, a beneficiary of the award shares his experience and what value the ward added to him and the community that he worked with.
The FAPA award was a life-changing experience that provided me with opportunities to share my research findings at the community level. This happened because RUFORUM intended to support graduates to interact with communities and different organization so that they would gain experience. The FAPA project on promoting solar drying technology was very beneficial to the targeted vegetables and fruits farmers in Gulu and Omoro districts. Farmers showed great interest and willingness in learning how to install solar dryers in their respective villages which gave them assurance of owning the technology. Women and youth farmers were very pleased to work hand in hand with carpenters so that they could learn all the important details about solar dryers, right from how it is built to its functionality. On the other hand, not only the targeted vegetable and fruit farmers who participated in the training were the beneficiaries but rather whole community including the local leaders like chiefs. They appreciated Gulu University for doing the community engagement to transform farmers’ livelihoods at the community level by sending students to teach such innovation. Lastly, the community requested the University to continue sending them more Agriculture graduate students and solar dryer materials (Ultra-violet sheet) in order for them to construct the solar dryer themselves. To them, that would be complete ownership and adoption of the technology
Fig 1: Training farmers on how to construct solar dryer in Palenga- Omoro
Fig 2: Group photo with the famers in Unyama- Gulu District
The awardee also worked with Sunrise in Action (SAS) in Omoro district who mostly focused on women’s empowerment through agriculture production i.e. providing agricultural inputs such as improved seed and value addition.
SAS is one of the organizations that support vulnerable women in Omoro district, they promote value addition in fruits and vegetable through the use of chimney solar dryers. They are interested in helping women to learn the use of solar drying technology effectively. Sunrise in action for stability contacted me (the awardee) to partner and install the chimney solar dryer in Omoro district (Palenga and Bobi). The partnership started as a result of interaction during the first Agri-entrepreneurship symposiums exhibition at Gulu University, where the awardee demonstrated the prototype of solar drying technology to participants, and one of the participants was a representative from SAS. During the partnership with SAS, a total of 76 women were trained on the installation of chimney solar dryer and also trained on how to use it in drying vegetables and fruits for value addition. The group were also linked to the market where they can sell their solar dried products. I the awardee also learnt and gained more knowledge on the design and the installation of chimney solar dryer (Fig: 3 and 4).
In addition, the research findings were further shared with Amazing grace children home in Adjumai district. This is due to the current unstable political situation in South Sudan, the organization mainly operate in Northern Uganda; providing care and support to orphans, widows, and disabled people.
Finally, dissemination of the research finding was extended to refugees and host communities in West Nile (Arua district) to supplement micro-based enterprise in Rhino camp Ofua III. This came as a recommendation from the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment to continue working with the refugees. The team managed to install and trained farmers on the use and benefits of solar drying technology that could help in drying vegetables and fruits in the camp.
The refugees were very happy to have such technology, they showed gratitude to Gulu University and RUFORUM hoping that this should not be the end and the also, request me (awardee) to send the thanks and gratitude to Gulu University at large and Faculty of Agriculture in particular
Kumi Peter Korsuk can be reached via +256-77-995-9419 / +211-915-063-508, firstname.lastname@example.org
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