StepUp Success Stories: Hope for Widow Gotiliva


Madeleine Cuckson

IRT volunteer Madeleine Cuckson writes about how Gotiliva transformed her life with StepUp as part of our #StepUpSuccessStories series.

Gotiliva is one of many beneficiaries whose life has been turned around with the help of IRT’s Step Up programme in Uganda. After losing her husband, Gotiliva was left devastated with little hope for the future. She had no financial support and lived within very basic means, describing how she had ‘no dish drying rack, no latrine, no refuse pit for dumping rubbish’. Gotiliva used traditional farming methods to cultivate her land but this incurred large amounts of time, excursion and didn’t achieve a good harvest, leaving Gotiliva with close to nothing to survive off.

The StepUp programme provided Gotiliva with the building and agricultural training necessary to live a full life again, earn a good wage and harvest crops using more effective farming practices. Gotiliva has now constructed a high-quality latrine with a washing facility attached, a dish drying rack and a better kitchen with a larger variety of vegetables on raised beds. Not only does Gotiliva feel happier with her home and livelihood, she is a self-sufficient member of her community – “I dress better and eat well…I am so much respected in the community”.

Gotiliva poses with her old latrine, and new, improved latrine that she was able to save for and build through StepUp.

The real impact of StepUp’s life-changing work is always shown through our programme beneficiaries’ stories. For Gotiliva, the programme has provided her with a new lease of life and a powerful future:

“I have followed my dreams to achieve a permanent house, serious savings to acquire those household items that I do not have now, such as better bedding, utensils, plant more fruit, agroforestry and timber trees. My dream is to live a better life and die a happy woman, a woman of value and substance who will always leave a legacy in the community for other women to follow.”

As Step Up continues to expand, we aim to bring our training and support programme to even more communities, with the help of our dedicated partners at OCA who implement this programme in communities across northern Uganda.

IRT needs donors to be able to continue our valuable work.

If you would like to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable farmers in northern Uganda, please consider donating today. You can do this through our website at or by calling our office on 020 8994 9120. Thank you!