Justine has been a member of Muwumuza women’s group since 2014. 31 years old, married and mother to 4 children aged between 2 and 17 years, she is also a daughter of a late member of the group who passed away in 2020 due to challenges to access medical care during the COVID-19 lockdown.
While growing up, Justine watched her late mother provide services for events with other group members. Her mother was also a KWDT tank mason trainer and the proceeds from all her work made a difference in the welfare of Justine and her seven (7) siblings. So, when she came of age, she was determined to join the same group as her mother to benefit from the group.
Justine applied to the group to become a tank beneficiary the same year she joined the group. She received a positive response, and a water tank was constructed on credit at her marital home. This helped her in solving her water problems severely because she previously she had to walk 3 kilometers to and from the nearest water source. During that time, her children were still too young to help with fetching water so she often had to ask for money from her husband to buy water for domestic use which would deplete their meagre household income.
After 4 years as a member, Justine applied again for a cow from KWDT through her group and acquired one named ‘Raffles’ in 2018 with support from KWDT UK. Raffles was an in-calf when Justine first got her and few months later, she gave birth to another calf providing her family with milk for their first time. On top of the improved nutrition, the family also earns a steady income from the sale of milk.
“I feel very happy because Raffles has greatly improved our nutrition with milk, improved my garden with manure and income from the sale of the bull calves. So far, she has reproduced three bulls. Its only unfortunate that I have not been able to pass on a female calf to another group member as is the regulation within KWDT but I hope that in the future she will give me a female calf to pass on. Currently, she is giving us an average of 8 liters of milk per day which enables me to pay for the cow keeper’s salary, pay for the veterinary services and save some money to supplement my children’s schooling.
“I feel very proud of myself that I can decide which schools my children should go to. When my husband provides a certain amount of money to take the children to school, I supplement what he has offered and instead take my children to a quality primary school. I would not have been in position to do it without Raffles. When Raffles gave birth to the first bull calf, I sold it off after 4 months and used the income of UGX 1,000,000 (£221) to renovate our house which was had no shutters and plaster on the walls. I now have two bull calves and I am looking forward to complete payment for my plot of land with the savings I accumulated during lockdown when children were not going to school so that I can increase on the food production for consumption and sale. As for KWDT, I only have praises for their wise decisions that have improved the livelihoods of people like me, otherwise where could I have got the money to construct a tank and buy a cow?” wondered Justine.
KWDT has completed a new strategic plan that will include focus on female youth. Justine’s story is inspiring and a strong example for young women in the villages who seek to achieve economic independence. She has also already created employment in the community by employing the cow keeper, all important achievements we wish women to contribute to. I will commend her to mentor other female youth.” remarked Margaret Nakato the Coordinator of KWDT Uganda .