Meet Godfrey

Godfrey’s farm is 20 minutes away from the main road of Ngogwe, Uganda. He is a farmer and a father of two children. He has been using m-Omulimisa SMS Services since early 2017 and knew how to use the platform from a training session conducted by World Vision Uganda. 

In the last several months, he has sent many inquiries to m-Omulimisa regarding different plant diseases that he discovered on his farm. One time, his maize garden was attacked by the Fall Army Worm and some of his maize plants were eaten up by the worms overnight. He sought immediate help and sent an inquiry text to the platform on the same day that he found out about the worm. Later, in the response from the extension officer, a chemical called Dudu Fenos was recommended to spray on the maize plants. As soon as he can, Godfrey purchased the recommended chemical in the closest store and applied the solution to his maize garden. 

Now, the maize plants are growing well on his farm and he is waiting to harvest later this year. He exclaimed that he would have lost all his maize without the help from m-Omulimisa. Besides his commercial plants like maize and orange, he also grows avocados and pumpkins only for his family. With his limited English, Godfrey told us that he wanted to “make his children strong” by planting these nutritious plants. 

m-Omulimisa 2015 Field-testing Kick off

2015 has been a year of transition and surprises for m-Omulimisa SMS Services team. The team is kicking off this round of field-testing on Dec 19, 2015 in Masaka, Uganda! With our incredible videographer, Kirk Mason, the team will be presenting the field-testing and farmer stories in Uganda through this blog.

Here are some brief updates on the project team. In this student-founded project, Daniel and Linlin graduated from Michigan State University in 2015. To continue the work of m-Omulimisa, they reached out to different universities and local organizations for partnership. Fortunately, the team is receiving a grant from Texas A&M University ConDev Center and the award payment from Big Ideas Contest. Also, m-Omulimisa platform received attention from some local NGOs, like Sasakawa African Association and Women Network of Uganda (WNU). Besides that, the team has three new members on board in 2015.  

 

Platform Update

The team upgraded the platform's functionalities through the Big Ideas award payment. What's EXCITING is that the platform can track down the geo locations of incoming farming questions and generate different stats report by different filters. These upgrades enable the platform to oversee the agricultural challenges in Uganda and predict potential outbreaks of contagious diseases in farming. More importantly, the bulk messaging function in the platform can accurately send out disease alerts to farmers in different districts and subdistricts of Uganda. 

Through some prior local trainings in different districts with Sasakawa and WNU in West Uganda, 350+ users, including smallholder farmers and extension officers, are on the platform. The team is very excited to introduce the platform to more farmers in Central Uganda from Dec, 2015 to Feb, 2016. 

    Mapping Agricultural Challenges in Uganda

    Mapping Agricultural Challenges in Uganda

Platform Training with Farmers and Extension Officers

Platform Training with Farmers and Extension Officers

Team update

The project team is having three new members on board in the following field-testings! 

Tian Cai, a Michigan State University doctoral students specialized in participatory video training, will be the training consultant in the project. Her prior field experience in African countries and knowledge of ICT4Ag will be invaluable assets to the project.

Kirk Mason, a Michigan State University recent graduate and an experienced videographer, will be working with the project team to document the implementation and local impact during the field-testings. The evidence and media content will open a new door for the whole project.

Dr. Richard Miiro, a Senior Lecturer in the department of Extension & Innovation Studies at Makerere University, will be the project consultant during the field-testings. He has been working closely with agricultural extension officers and farmers as well as in closing the knowledge gap between researchers and farmers. 

What's Next

The team will continuously work with smallholder farmers and extension officers for sure! 

Dec, 2015 - Feb, 2016: Field-testing and trainings scheduled in Central Uganda

On the other side, the project team is seeking partnership and grant opportunities to keep this project sustainable and hopefully launch it as a non-profit organization in the future. 

Special thanks to UC Berkeley Big Ideas Contest team, ConDev Center of Texas A&M University, Sasakawa African Association, Women Network of Uganda, Michigan State University, and all our supporters! Stay tuned!