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Borel Global Fellows

Current Borel Global Fellows Program Recipients:

 

Francis Akitwine

Francis Akitwine
                                            Francis Akitwine
  • Major: Soil Science (Agronomy)
  • Major Professor: Dr. Lee Burras
  • Degree being pursued: Master of Soil Science
  • Anticipated graduation date: May 2022
  • Home City (and/or region) and Country: Kabale, Uganda
  • Schools previously attended and degree(s) achieved: Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda (Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Land Use and Management)

Previous experience with Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, ISU-Uganda Program:

  • I was a service learner in the summer of 2017, then became a student leader the following summer (2018). I had an opportunity to work with two groups of semester-long students (Fall 2018 and Spring 2019). I worked as a volunteer in the Nutrition Education Centers where I worked with the graduated mothers to form support groups and conduct trainings, primarily in crop management, nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation.  

Aspirations/plans after graduation from ISU:

  • I have a passion for Agriculture and working with people to improve their quality of life through farming. With a Master's degree in Soil Science, I hope to be in a better place to address issues that pertain to soil management and improve agricultural productivity in the rural communities of Uganda.

Graduate research topic: Pedological characteristics and classification of the major soil series in Kamuli District, Uganda.

  • Understanding the soil resource is central to sound land management, but the availability of and access to soil knowledge is a problem in the major rural areas of Subsaharan Africa. An assessment of the potential and limitations of soil for different land uses provides the basis for formulating the appropriate management strategies to improve crop production, soil, and water conservation strategies. This information is generated by a detailed biophysical characterization of the soils in a given area. The aim of this study is to identify specific morphological, physical, and chemical properties that limit plant growth and diminish potential agricultural uses of the soils of the Kamuli area. This work will be carried out in the Kamuli District by describing soil pits in the field. Samples picked using the classical horizon by horizon method will be taken for laboratory analysis. Classification using the two internationally recognized classification systems i.e.  United States Department of Agriculture System Soil Taxonomy and the World Reference Base for Soil Resources will be done. The soils identified at Mpirigiti Rural Training Centre will be mapped using GIS so as to understand the soil-landscape relationships at this facility and an attempt to develop pedotransfer functions to predict Cation Exchange Capacity will also be done. This evaluation will create a less expensive and more efficient method through which people of Kamuli can have access to soil data.

Shillah Kwikiiriza

Shillah Kwikiiriza
                                       Shillah Kwikiiriza
  • Major: Horticulture
  • Major Professor: Dr. Gail Nonnecke
  • Degree being pursued: Master of Horticulture Science
  • Anticipated graduation date: May 2022
  • Home City (and/or region) and Country: Bushenyi District, Uganda
  • Schools previously attended and degree(s) achieved: Makerere University- Kampala, Uganda (Bachelor of Science in Agriculture)

Previous experience with Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, ISU-Uganda Program:

  • Before joining graduate school, I worked with the Iowa State University-Uganda Program as a Community Innovations Officer, facilitating projects to generate income from community-based innovations with female youth (both in-school and out of school) and mothers. These projects involved crafts making, soap making, tailoring, and bookmaking for out-of-school female youth and mothers and home gardening projects for in-school female youth. I ensured that these community members organized themselves and worked in smaller manageable groups to develop business plans, receive training, and implement these projects while sustaining themselves by operating as independent community-based organizations.

Aspirations/plans after graduation from ISU:

  • On completing my graduate studies at Iowa State University, I plan on continuing to work with farmers, especially females, in the rural communities of Uganda to demonstrate creativeness and innovation in agriculture for increased food production and income generation. I plan to integrate the results and knowledge obtained from my ongoing research with the existing farmers’ knowledge in Uganda for their adoption of research-based and new innovations in agriculture.  New innovations can enable smallholder farmers access to good quality seeds and improve their crop production management practices while working in farmer groups for better market access. Establishing a smallholder commercialized horticulture farm is one of the other plans I have, which will demonstrate how “cool” farming can be – especially to youth farmers.

Graduate research topic: Improving the production and marketing of squash by smallholder youth farmers in Kamuli Uganda.

  • Squashes, locally termed as pumpkins in Uganda, are one of the vegetables that are underutilized in Sub Saharan Africa despite their wide spectrum of nutritional contribution to the diet. Squashes can be consumed as leafy vegetables, fruits, and seeds, and are characterized by high yield and long shelf life, thereby helping to minimize nutritional food insecurity. Despite their potential, squashes in Uganda are not widely grown and consumed, yet they could improve nutritional dietary intake and create farm income. Squash production in Uganda is characterized by few management practices and low yields. Challenges involved include low soil fertility, changing climatic conditions, unimproved cultivars, minimal horticultural management practices, improper post-harvesting methods, and inadequate market processes. The study will assess the feasibility of soil mulching and available traditional and improved cultivars, and market accessibility by the smallholder youth farmers of Kamuli, Uganda. Field experiments will be conducted in two sub-counties of Kamuli District. Two surveys also will be conducted with youth farmers in Kamuli and market vendors in the main food markets of Kamuli and Jinja districts, Uganda. Research is targeted at smallholder youth.