Lessons in Leadership

“Raising The Village has been an eye opener for me, helping me do more than I thought I could do at this age. I am a leader, vegetable grower, animal rarer, and I have reached a point where all the basic needs in my home can be obtained without external support. My leadership position has taught me public speaking skills, and RTV has taught us that women can hold leadership positions. All people have the capacity to develop—all they need is an opportunity to do what they are good at.”

Maria Bashkiria is the Raising The Village chairperson for the agriculture group in Kigaaga village, in the Ngara cluster. Driven by compassion and dedication, she works in this capacity pro bono, citing the satisfaction of offering her services to villagers and helping her community achieve their goals as all the pay she could want.

Our relationship with Maria began in January of 2019, when like many members in her community she participated in the trainings and projects that were part of our village partnership. She quickly became very involved and attended all the possible trainings we offered, before being elected to take on a leadership role on her community’s RTV committee.

Maria found success in agriculture when she applied the new skills and techniques she learned, and began to work with the different and improved crop varieties she received. She was able to reap a large harvest, significantly improving her income, and allowing her to purchase 5 hens. In the second season of the year she began farming on 0.25 acres of land where her onions and eggplants had great yields earning her about $119 USD in sales.

Although women in Ngara face many challenges when it comes to land access and ownership, Maria is not deterred. Her goal is to purchase and own a substantial amount of land to use for commercial farming. This is quite ambitious but Maria is working hard and saving all she can to work towards this dream. Thanks to financial literacy training, Maria has learned how to save and invest her money.