The power of a $30 seed loan to improve a woman’s wellbeing
Each October, the UN observes three days that echo the heart of what we do at Love Mercy. The UN recognises these international days to raise awareness on certain issues, encourage action and celebrate the achievements of humanity.
What are these days about?
This year’s International Day of Rural Women highlights the essential role that rural women and girls play in the food systems of the world.
World Food Day promotes worldwide awareness of hunger and encourages action for the future of food, people and the planet. This year’s theme focuses on water as a finite resource, acknowledging the 2.4 billion people who live in water-stressed countries.
The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty recognises the millions of people living in poverty around the world and our shared responsibility to eradicate poverty. It’s about empowering all people to live in dignity.
Though extreme poverty has reduced globally since 1990 (and we celebrate that), 1 billion of the 7.89 billion people in the world still live in unacceptable conditions of poverty. Covid has slowed the decline in poverty rates, with an additional 97 million people living in poverty globally. Many of them live in rural areas.
For women in developing countries and rural areas, agriculture is the main source of employment. However, in many countries, the agricultural sector sits within the informal economy with little to no regulation or protection by the government.
“The ensuing cost-of-living crisis has acutely threatened women’s livelihoods, health, and well-being. The current disruption to the food and energy markets has only intensified gender disparities, causing rates of food insecurity, malnutrition, and energy poverty.” – UN Women
That’s why what we do through Cents for Seeds is more important than ever.
Since 2010, Cents for Seeds has empowered women in Uganda to build skills, develop financial literacy and generate income. The program equips women with priceless skills to forge a new path out of poverty.
And it starts with a seed. Well, a 30kg loan of seeds.
This seed loan enables women to sow and harvest the seeds from some of the most fertile land in the world. Through the harvest, these women can generate income and strengthen their access to food, health and security.
This solution is sustainable, and it works.
Kavina is a widow taking care of 7 orphans. She was in Internally Displaced People camp during the war. When she returned from her land she was living in a grass thatched house vulnerable to weather conditions. Kavina joined Cents for Seed 3 years ago. Thanks to the program, she was able to add an iron sheet to her home and protect it from the weather. She also receives ongoing support and teaching from the Cents for Seeds staff. Before Cents for Seeds, Kavina could only eat once per day. Now, she can eat two meals each day. Her children can also now go to school.
From 2010 until today, we’ve seen over 27,000 women like Kavina participating in Cents for Seeds. 2,551 women have graduated and are now farming independently in 3 districts. When the women we serve no longer need us, we’ve done something right.
But the Cents for Seeds journey isn’t an easy one.
In 2023, communities in Northern Uganda continue to face the pressures of the ongoing drought. From mid to late 2022, about 40% of the population experienced high levels of food insecurity. The low rainfall has had a significant impact on the farming businesses birthed through Cents for Seeds. This has resulted in the lowest ever return rate from seed loans.
According to the 2023 Impact Report, despite the challenging environmental conditions and a 16% decline in wellbeing since 2022, Cents for Seeds participants have a higher wellbeing than those not in the program. Women in Cents for Seeds experience a stronger sense of self-love, feel safer and are more hopeful than others in the community.
In the 2023 survey, women from Anepkide, Angetta and Anyanga reported a 16% increase in their capacity to provide for their family financially and a 10% increase in ability to adapt in response to unexpected events. Cents for Seeds has also helped participants create a safe environment at home, with women reporting a 10% increase in having peaceful homes.
Cents for Seeds is about more than empowering women. By putting seeds in their hands, you contribute to not just what is seen (food, education, health care) but also what is unseen (sense of purpose, hope, peace).
To our community and partners, we’re humbled by your continued generosity to Cents for Seeds. By opening your hands, you’re opening up the possibilities for women in northern Uganda to build a sustainable future.
You can read more about the impact of your giving here.