StepUp Success Stories: Nola


Madeleine Cuckson

Nola embraces StepUp and becomes the administrator of her local programme #StepUpSuccessStories

Nola lives in the village of Nyogo Anzupi in Uganda. Nola has lived alone for many years due to her husband Robert’s pursuits of casual work outside of the community, in order to support their family financially. This has left Nola with a large amount of responsibility both in the home and on their land. 

Robert’s decision to migrate is not uncommon, many men in Nola’s community leave due to farming challenges. The difficulties of trying to earn a sufficient wage in the community include the small sizes of land plots available, these plots often have poor soil quality due to decades of tobacco growth, using inorganic methods which leads to scarce harvests. Many households in Nola’s community live off the equivalent of 1$ a day. The village is often set back by the following: regular food shortages which cause malnutrition, regular occurrences of preventable diseases due to sanitation issues, high rates of substance abuse and many dropping out of school, which has led to a high rate of illiteracy.

With the help of the Step Up Programme, implemented by OCA, communities like Nola’s are provided with crucial practical training to help increase their incomes, improve health and general wellbeing. Nola has been a great asset to the programme, upon joining she has successfully implemented the skills acquired from training and has become the secretary to the programme in her village. Nola now grows many different fruits and vegetables and has improved the quality of her soil with organic farming techniques, additionally Nola has made significant changes to the infrastructure of her household – with the building of a dish drying rack, a fence to surround her home, a latrine with a bath shelter attached and has prepared burnt bricks to build a more permanent house. Nola has also planted over 250 agroforestry and timber trees to help the environment.

The Step Up Programme not only improves individuals’ lives but has the capacity to bring people together, as Nola has found that through engagement with the programme she has gained leadership skills and is a respected, powerful figure in her village with authority to make decisions – therefore, the goal is for the whole community to prosper. Nola and Robert now have high hopes for the future, they intend to send their children to better schools, Robert plans to return home and join Nola to help harvest even more produce, start a small livestock business and construct a permanent house.

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