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Overcoming Loss through Agroforestry

Written by Charity Nalwoga
Waneloba Loy is a nursery school teacher in Mount Elgon, Uganda. When schools closed in early 2020 because of COVID-19, the 64-year-old was out of work. At the same time, she was adjusting to life without her husband, he died from a chronic illness shortly before the pandemic. 

“The first half of last year was very tough for me after losing my husband and not being able to go back to work for some time,” she recalls.

“Waneloba Loy cares for nine people, including her grandchildren.”

Loy had to find a way to provide for her five children and nine-person household. Facing monumental challenges, she joined TREES’ Mount Elgon 1 project in June of 2020. 

“I am grateful for the knowledge we are getting to make our farming more profitable,” Loy says. In addition to training, “Trees for the Future supports us with tools and seeds which is very helpful as we farm.” 

Since joining the four-year farmer training program, Loy has become a standout farmer in the project. Her living fence is known as one of the best in the area and her harvests are enabling her to support her family.

“Loy’s living fence is known as one of the best in the area.”

“From the vegetable [seeds] we were given in 2020, I managed to sell most of them to buy groceries for my home like sugar, cooking oil and soap,” Loy shares. 

Loy is the lead farmer of her farmer group. Lead farmers help TREES staff coordinate and communicate with the group. Loy was recently asked to train other farmers in compost making given her strong grasp of the technique. 

“I was very excited. I know I was selected because of the knowledge and training I was applying from Trees for the Future. I even called my teacher, Miss Christine to share the good news,” Loy says with a smile. 

“It is exciting to see farmers thrive like this and even share knowledge and skills we teach them with other farmers. It makes us proud as technicians,” says Christine Namutosi, the TREES assistant technician in Loy’s project. (Technicians like Christine are typically referred to as “teachers” by farmers in the program.)

“Christine Namutosi (front) trains farmers in Mount Elgon, Uganda.”

Loy will continue learning agroforestry techniques from Christine and other TREES staff for a few more years, at which point she will graduate with the knowledge she needs to continue managing a thriving Forest Garden for years to come. 

Stories like Loy’s are made possible by donor support. Become a monthly donor today and help Christine and other TREES team members reach more farmers across sub-Saharan Africa. 

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