Fellow Since 2003
East and Central Uganda Intergrated Farmers Union (ECUIFA)
This profile was prepared when Benon Sebina was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Benon believes that the prevailing approach to rural development in East Africa overlooks the real needs of subsistence farmers and results in wasted resources and potential. Farmers become reliant on cash-strapped governments and aid programs that do not work well. Benon shows subsistence farmers that they are best served by using local resources to realize dramatic increases in income, as well as the social and health benefits that accompany them. His approach prioritizes women and stimulates individuals and groups of farmers to take on income-earning initiatives–production of local feed for domesticated farm animals; use of manure to enhance soil quality; and collective efforts that increase yield significantly. The result is more productive farm animals, healthier food for rural people, and increased self-confidence in farmers who, by putting local resources and ideas to work, earn more money and realize the importance of initiative in other areas of their lives.