In the village of Kyofa, Kibuye, Kyegegwa Sub County lives Mrs. Mutembeya Juliet, born in 1955. Mrs. Mutembeya commonly referred to as Abwooli.

Mrs. Mutembeya is a true success of KRC’s long walk, working with smallholder farmers. The 66-year-old caught the attention of KRC Project Officers during a youth training of trainers that was conducted in November, 2021 for youth champions who had been selected as group representative under the Young Africa Works-Markets for Youth program. At the crowning of the 4-day training, Mrs. Mutembeya who had been preparing all the meals for participants during the 4-day event held in Kyegegwa requested for an opportunity to share her personal testimony with the youth before they were released to return home.

KRC Project Officers gladly accepted her request, raising curiosity about what she would share with the youth. To everyone's surprise, she revealed how she had been a beneficiary from one of KRC’s projects during her earlier years, encouraging the youth to put into practice all they had learned in the four days. She exhorted the youth to live exemplary lives, how to keep peace in their home and always seek for opportunities for personal and family development.

Even at her advanced age, Mutembeya vividly recalls the lessons she learnt from a KRC intervention that she was part of in 2003. In a follow up personal interview, she revealed having been part of a female group of 25 members. She recalls narrates how a team from KRC visited her group with a white man called Maurice. " They had come to visit other groups in Kibira and we made a request to also be visited. I was a farmer at the time growing beans, ground nuts and bananas. Unfortunately. I do not recall the name of the project but they taught us good farming practices and how to do agriculture as a business, " recalls Juliet. From that project, the locals were taught how to make good banana plantations, kitchen gardens, how to care for children and to have a vision and plan.

With a smile on her face, she attests how KRC transformed her life by empowering her to express her views in public which she was previously afraid to do.  Having been taught how to maintain peace in a home, she reconsidered her decision to divorce her husband and dedicated her all to rise children. "Turning agriculture into a business enabled me to educate my children and now they have built for me a new house in my old age," says Juliet.

Mrs. Mutembeya recalls that she followed the training well and was recognized by the project team and given the opportunity to be a community-based trainer in charge of 5 groups and would earn an income after every field visit.

From the 5 groups under her leadership, a farmers’ cooperative (Kibuye Organic Farmers Association) was formed, formally registered and has received support from various people since then. She recalls that the motivation for forming this cooperative was to maintain the good agro-practices and to sell their produce collectively.

KRC supported the cooperative with training in book keeping, learning visits and even contributed some funds to open up a produce store in 2004 which is located in Kibuye.

The project by KRC ended in 2006 but her group of women still exists with 15 members. She narrates how passionate she is about supporting the youth in her community so that they can have the opportunity to be transformed like she was.  At the moment, her group comprises of women from the entire parish of Kibuye and she supports in training the community in human rights especially for children and women.  She also passes on the knowledge learned while with KRC to youth in the community by teaching them how to work in groups and encouraging them to save and importantly do agriculture as a business.

Mrs. Mutembeya continues to do agriculture as a business, a tour around her new home reveals the various projects that she has undertaken to sustain her household nutrition and income flows. From vegetable gardens to banana plantations, piggery and most impressive fruit growing. Even her children and grandchildren have taken up agriculture as a business by starting up projects around the family home which she partly manages with them and most impressive is the passion fruit garden lying in more than a hectare of land.

Mrs. Mutembeya attests that by doing agriculture as a business has been instrumental in maintaining a dignified life for her and her children. The acknowledgement of this fact drives her passion to support youths with her knowledge and experiences so that they can be transformed and be able to attain a decent life just as she did.



Photo: Mrs. Mutembeyi piggery project. In the fore ground is a vegetable garden



Title: Soldering on since 2003. 66-year-old Mutembeyi shares her inspiring story with young people

Author: Edlyne Kakibogo,

Category: Agriculture

Publish Date: 2022-02-07

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