YICE: Youth Initiative for Community Empowerment
Regenerative Learning Center: YICE Uganda empowers people, conserves biodiversity, scales up sustainable solutions, and promotes collaboration.
When Noah Ssempijja founded YICE in 2012, he would not have dreamed of the successes the Youth Initiative for Community Empowerment celebrates today. The organisation implements practical regenerative farming activities in rural Uganda. The team has impacted over 1,500 smallholder farmers, raising their incomes by 20-46% and jointly saved almost 12t of CO2 with regenerative practices. Their focus target group is last mile smallholder female and young farmers, including displaced people and host communities.
Uganda is home to 1.4 million refugees, settled in 14 refugee settlements across the country. Refugees and host communities conflict over farming land, forests, water, and other resources. This is why it needs a regenerative approach so that people can nourish themselves without depleting the soil and their environment, but by enriching the soils and their communities.
„A world where all vulnerable smallholder farmers and their families thrive in a sustainable way is what we believe in and work for at YICE Uganda.“
YICE team members at the newly built Regenerative Learning Center in Kassanda destrict, Uganda in 2023.
YICE Uganda promotes food security, regenerates biodiversity, achieves climate change adaptation, and improves incomes for smallholder farmers. The team supports community-led activities: Practical farmer training in permaculture and regenerative farming, trainings in water harvesting, production of organic fertilisers and pesticides as well as a mobile low cost drip irrigation kit, and mobilising beneficiaries into savings groups.
The households reached by YICE achieved food security with at least two meals per day and increased incomes through sale of farm produces. In addition, they regenerated soils due to the use of organic fertilisers, water harvesting and improved farming practices. YICE raised over 80,000 USD in grants to support these activities.
As a result, YICE has received several awards including the Lush Spring Prize in 2019, the UNDP Climate Smart Challenge, East African Agribusiness Award in 2016, SEED Africa Entrepreneurs Award in 2016, the Tony Elumelu Fellowship Award in 2018 and was long shortlisted for the Ashden Awards 2021.
The 4 Principles of YICE Uganda
1) Empower People
of beneficiaries having at least two nutritious meals in a day
2) Conserve Biodiversity
increase in incomes by sale of vegetables
3) Scale Sustainable Solutions
(of those refugees: 780)
4) Working with Others
YICE Uganda believes that they cannot accomplish big goals alone. Through sharing, partnerships and guidance from others they seek to achieve more. Supporters of YICE include Regenerosity, Re-Alliance and Lush Fund.
tons of CO2e greenhouse gas emissions saved
A naturally fenced tree seedling next to the YICE demonstration garden at the police station in Nakivale refugee settlement, Uganda.
What does YICE currently need to scale and achieve the next goals?
Build a Regenerative Learning Center
RE-Farm: Regenerative Farming for Displaced Farmers
“Re-Farm is an integrated regenerative farming project targeting women and young refugee farmers in Uganda. The project aims to contribute to achieving healthier lives, regenerated soils and more resilient livelihoods for refugees and host communities”, explains the YICE team. The lack of food leaves vulnerable women, children and the elderly at risk of becoming malnourished. This can compromise their immune system and make them more susceptible to infections. Hence, the Re-Farm project wants to “build the capacity of refugees to produce organic nutritious food as well as increasing incomes for refugees and host communities through permaculture designs, food forests and access to finance”.
The Mobile Drip Irrigation Kit
YICE Uganda manufactures the Mobile Drip Irrigation Kit locally in collaboration with and youths and women in local communities. They only use materials locally available in Uganda: a water tank (150 – 200 litres), drip irrigation pipes and a raised metal stand which increases water pressure. The kit’s production costs are around $67 and it is sold so smallholder farmers for $80 – $100.
More than 40 YICE demonstration gardens are now showing local farmers, how they can grow vegetables without chemical pesticides and fertilisers. And there is more to come – with the support of everyone, who can!
Pictures: taken for Generation Restoration on an educational trip with Regenerosity and Re-Alliance, 2023.
Do you want to learn more, get involved, or simply keep informed?
Sign up to receive updates on Refugees & Restoration!
Copyright © 2023 Generation Restoration – Let’s restore 🙂