EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES THROUGH URBAN FARMING, KUNIHIRAs INSPIRING JOURNEYPUBLISHED — 18th, September 2023
It is 2pm in Katala Village, Kawempe Division and the sun casts a warm glow over Maureen Kunihira's poultry farm. Her infectious smile welcomes us as she leads the way to her bustling poultry house, where a remarkable transformation is taking place.
Kunihira is one of the beneficiaries of the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) urban farming initiatives under the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS).
In 2013, Kunihira made a life-altering decision: she quit her construction job with a vision of self-sufficiency and a burning desire to make a difference in her community.
Armed with determination but limited resources, she embarked on a poultry farming journey, starting with about 500 layers.
The early years were far from smooth sailing, she lost most of her birds. Kunihira's lack of experience led to these setbacks and financial challenges forced her to reevaluate her strategy. However, her unwavering spirit and relentless drive fueled her desire to succeed.
In 2015, undaunted by previous failures, Kunihira took another leap of faith, this time venturing into broiler farming. Pouring her heart and soul into her newfound venture, she faced yet another setback in 2021 when she lost every single chick. It was a moment of despair, but Kunihira's spirit remained unbroken.
“I love farming, but at that moment I felt like giving up. Things were not paying out,” Kunihira says.
Her persistence paid off with the Kampala Capital City Authority's (KCCA) Urban Farming Initiative in 2022. This innovative program, executed through the NAADS, aimed to empower city dwellers like Kunihira to practice urban farming by providing them with essential resources and knowledge.
Kunihira became one of the fortunate beneficiaries of this initiative. She received 350 chicks and underwent comprehensive training in poultry rearing, along with access to legitimate drug stores, all at no cost.
“KCCA gave me free chicks and feeds. They also trained me on how to manage my poultry farm, mix feeds, vaccinate which is key in my success as a poultry farmer,” Kunihira says.
This time, luck was on her side, as she lost only two chicks, swiftly replenished with the profits from her thriving poultry business.
Today, Kunihira's farm boasts over 600 healthy chicks. She has not only secured her financial future but also ventured into entrepreneurship, utilizing her poultry farm's income to establish a juice company. This diversification of income sources not only strengthens her financial stability but also contributes to the local economy.
“The profits from the poultry farm have helped me expand to other business. I wouldn’t have been able to raise this capital to expand if it wasn’t for the support from KCCA,” Kunihira said.
Kunihira’s success story is more than a personal achievement; it's a testament to community empowerment.
She is passionate about sharing her knowledge with fellow farmers, forming valuable connections with others eager to learn from her experiences through the KCCA program.
"I express my deepest gratitude to KCCA for the support that has transformed my life," Kunihira says with a smile. "This program has enhanced my quality of life, provided me with a second business and increased food consumption in my home. I encourage more people to participate in these programs to benefit as I have."
Kunihira's journey, from encountering setbacks to achieving remarkable success, serves as a testament to the remarkable potential embedded within community initiatives like KCCA's Urban Farming Program. It shines a spotlight on the indomitable spirit of individuals who are steadfastly dedicated to instigating positive transformations within their neighborhoods.
"Many individuals remain unaware of the existence of such programs or harbor misconceptions about them," Kunihira passionately expresses. "I aspire to encourage them to take that first step, to explore the possibilities and to seek the support they may not even know is available."
As Kunihira continues to nurture her poultry farm and expand her burgeoning juice company, her story resonates as a poignant reminder that with unwavering determination, a strong support network and an insatiable thirst for knowledge, anyone can breathe new life into their own existence and elevate their community through the remarkable medium of urban farming.
It serves as a potent lesson that should inspire each one of us to plant the seeds of change within our lives and communities, fostering a brighter and more sustainable future for all.
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