Ending June with a Catch Up and Instagram

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My head has been spinning for the past couple of weeks, but more on why further on in the post. Things… The post Ending June with a Catch Up and Instagram appeared first on LEANNE COLE.

via Ending June with a Catch Up and Instagram — LEANNE COLE

Power of a spoken word

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Words are a strong weapon for a person. They can inspire, but they can also discourage. They can hurt, but they can also heal. Words can bring life, like a fountain of water, but they can also bring a great deal of violence. It is important for us to realize that our words affect those around us in many different ways. When we speak, we should be mindful of what we are saying. Yes, there are times when harsher words are needed, but they should always be spoken out of love, not hate. Speaking out of love may sometimes be hard, but if we are diligent in seeking the words God would have us speak, the words we speak will always be good and encouraging.
Are your words encouraging, inspiring, building, nourishing or rejuvenating?
Proverbs 10:11 is worth pondering in view of the above.

What makes you a unique Brand?

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Let me explain an amazing irony.
Most people want to be themselves — to express their uniqueness and true identity. We admire people that are bold enough to stand out from the crowd and live with authenticity.

But no matter how much we admire, aspire, and yearn for that kind of independence, we have so much trouble achieving it for ourselves.

That’s the irony. Being unique is viewed as a positive, but it is seldom practiced. Instead of being unique, we act as if conformity is the goal. We spend without hesitation and work without stopping so we can look just like our peer group.

I promise I’m going somewhere with this psychological moment of reflection.

The point I want to make is this: Being unique is the key to a powerful personal branding.

There is enormous value in growing one’s personal brand. The value isn’t just psychological. It’s economic as well. You can use your personal brand to improve the lives of those around you, grow businesses you care about, and create a positive force in the world.

But you can’t build a personal brand to begin with unless you are willing to be unique. Being unique is the path to personal branding effectiveness. Let me share with you the power of unique.

Being unique makes you memorable.
The only way to be remembered is to be different. No one is going to remember someone who looks like, acts like, dresses like, speaks like, works like, and thinks like everyone else.

Branding authority Marketing Donut explains, “to build a brand” you must “think of it as a person.” When you are building a personal brand, all you have to do is define who you are as a person, then live it out as authentically and unrelentingly as possible. The result is that you become memorable.

What does it mean to be memorable? It means to stand out from the crowd. It means that people remember you. It means that you come up in people’s conversation and thinking.

Being unique gives us an edge. It helps us stand out, above the noise instead of amongst it. If your personal brand is missing something, could it be uniqueness?

Being unique makes you truly appreciated. It’s a fact of human existence that we want to be appreciated.Humans who are appreciated work better, act better, live healthier, and thrive.

You want to be appreciated don’t you? We often fear to be unique, because we fear that we will be rejected or unappreciated. The reality is found in the opposite. When we assert our uniqueness, then we are appreciated.

People appreciate bold difference-makers. There is obviously a negative kind of different — criminals and morons. The vast majority of the time, however, you won’t be criminal or moronic; you’ll just be you. And when you do, you can expect appreciation to follow.

Being unique makes you valuable.
Few people are willing to stick out their necks and be unique. When someone finally does so, it creates an enormous source of value.

Whatever you want to be — an entrepreneur, a thought leader, a hot job candidate, or a mover and shaker — requires that you be different. The world doesn’t need more of the same. It needs different. It needs you.

The world’s most successful people are those who have decided to reject the status quo, rise above the masses, and be free with their unique talents, gifts, and skills.

Liz Ryan’s well-written essay on personal branding helps to unwrap the worn-out ways we try to fit in: If you describe yourself as a Results-Oriented Professional with a Bottom-Line Orientation, then you have really lost track of who you are. You’re slapping the same tired adjectives on your resume or LinkedIn profile that millions of other people slap on theirs. You’re saying “See, boss? I know the lingo!” Your real self disappears under the weight of all that corporate zombiespeak. We can’t even see you. You could be anybody, one of the faceless masses.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Not a member of the faceless masses, I hope.

The true way to achieve personal value and value for the world is if you’re different.

Conclusion
Being unique takes some guts, but it’s the only way to personal branding power.

Perhaps one of the reasons why many entrepreneurs continue to struggle and to burn out is because they are trying to live their life in the soul-sucking pursuit of conformity. There is a certain mold, the ideal “entrepreneur,” and they try to fill it.

Trying to fill a mold is a fast track to disillusionment and failure. I’m here to encourage you to assert your uniqueness. It might feel weird at first, but soon you’ll be more comfortable with yourself than you’ve ever been before.

When you are finally free to be unique, you’ll reap the benefits — memorability, appreciation, and above all valuable. So what is your unique preposition?

The Versatility of my Job

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Prilla Basemera and I in the Labaratory

Did you know Communications is one of the most evolving careers in the world, did you also know that it is one of the most versatile careers?
It offers result oriented jobs such as Public Relations, Communications Specialist, Public Affairs, Corporate Communications, Integrated Marketing Communications(IMC), Media Relations, Brand Management work, Corporate Affairs not to mention the most recent – Marketing Public Relations (MPR) and the list goes on…..
I passionately love my job due to the the versatility that comes with it -in office and field work. I get to execute my other love – film and photography;

In December 2015, I spent some days traversing Implementing Partners of aBi Trust where I currently work to document success stories and to carry out a photoshoot to capture intervention progress as part of evaluation. It was an amazing journey across South Western Uganda.

Today I share a few of the moments behind scenes;
Meet Prilla Basemera (in top picture) a Biochemist with RPN laboratories, Kyenjojo District in Uganda; responsible for the tissue culture innovation of coffee and Matooke in Uganda. I Spent time with Prilla while capturing shots of their work in partnership with aBi.
she unanimously made it to January 2016 page. #Photoshoot

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Mitooma village is found in Bushenyi District along the cattle corridor of western Uganda and while agriculture is the main activity in this area subsistence farmers face challenges of financial access. As part of aBi Trust’ interventions is to mitigate this challenge through creating Village Loan Savings Associations(VSLA). During my trip I met a team of women that is part of Nyakagongo VSLA. It was such a moment listening to their stories form zero to millions of savings hence changing their livelihoods. They too made it to the aBi calendar, month of March.

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It is always an inspiration meeting and listening to stories of change……. below are some others that i met and made it to the pages of my work calendar:-

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That above was in Kabwohe, Sheema District.

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And here is Nuwagira Geofrey of Abesigana Kashari Co-operative whose milk production increased due to aBi interventions.

My job enables me to spend time with stakeholders such as the above and through creating rapport with such people my external relations tactics are enhanced. The versatility in me is also enhanced through the creative pursuit of communications.

#Photography #aBi #Nofilter #Agriculture #ilovemyjob

aBi Trust Registers Success in Boosting Uganda’s Coffee Value Chain

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Mogens Pedsen, Ambassador of Royal Danish Embassy in Uganda Interacts with a Coffee farmer in Mitooma, Sheema District

Coffee production in Uganda is expected to increase this year following intervention by aBi Trust through its coffee Value Chain Development programme.
aBi’s Value Chain Development programmes are aimed at supporting the Private Sector by building a self sustaining Competitiveness and Investment Climate Strategy in Uganda.
Coffee is Uganda’s traditional cash crop grown in most parts of the country by small holder farmers and a few large scale farmers, associations or organizations. It is a high impact crop on the incomes of households and is steadily grown for a specialized market.
Teopista Nakkungu, the Coffee Development Officer at aBi Trust said that interventions by aBi will in the long run build a self sustaining export led economy for the benefit of all Ugandans.
aBi Trust supports coffee interventions due to the crop’s growing demand and potential as a foreign exchange earner due to the fact that it is among the top priority crops that Government is promoting among farmers as a cash crop, explained Nakkungu.
She added that in the financial year 2014/15, Uganda earned USD449 million from coffee, affirming the potential of the crop to the growth of the economy.

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Nankungu explained that aBi decided to intervene after realizing that the coffee sector was faced with challenges ranging from low quality coffee, lack of market, limited access to improved seeds and agro inputs, low consumption of coffee locally among others.
The interventions in the coffee value chain, according to Nakkungu are financed to improve the performance of the crop focusing on production and productivity, quality enhancement, value addition, market development and access, improving the accessibility of agro inputs and plant materials to farmers in addition to promoting coffee consumption culture in Uganda.
This is done through creating projects and capacity building through training, provision of quality and the necessary tools needed in coffee farming with an aim of increasing coffee yields.
As a result, a total of 40 projects have been implemented, over 70,000 farmer household have been reached, over 10 business plans from SMEs are being supported, Centers of Excellence (CoE) established and Coffee Wilt Disease Resistant(CWDr) clean planting material is being produced using the Tissue culture laboratory among other achievements.
Besides the above,3,000 demonstrations cites have been established with experts to support the farmers in learning best practices needed in coffee production right from the nursery to the point of sale, added Nakkungu.

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Statistics from aBi Trust indicate that the coffee sector employs a total of 1.2 million farmers and this has reduced house hold poverty among those families. Gender issues are improving while farmers are incorporating climate-smart agricultural tactics through Green Growth initiatives introduced to them.
When it comes to yields by tree, there is a general increases in average yield the two types of coffee; for Arabica coffee, farmers now harvest at least 0.5 kilograms of the red cherries per tree, and for Robusta coffee, a farmer is capable of harvesting at least 1.5 to 8 kilograms per tree of red cherries.
Average acreage of participating farmers has also increased from 0.5 to at least 2 acres. Average outcome has also improved from 45% to 58 % (Kiboko to FAQ) and exportable grades have improved from 78% to at least 85%, of which the target for Robusta coffee is 95 %.
aBi has further supported the provision of clean planting materials, over 40 coffee nurseries have been supported and licensed to produce and sell clean planting materials, established mother gardens and one tissue culture laboratory with the capacity of 2 million seedlings per anum.
Farmers have also been trained over the years on how to handle coffee to ensure quality. In addition 12 central washing stations have established, plus 6 motorized pulper to help in wet coffee processing, supported secondary grading facilities, and 3 primary processing facilities among others.
Nakkungu however adds that despite the progress made in coffee sector so far, there is still a challenge of low uptake of production and quality enhancement technologies, price volatility, which makes marketing hard, adverse effects of climate change, low skills uptake among farmers, unstable exchange rate which leads to high cost of farm inputs among others.
The other challenge is inadequate extension staff to promote Good Agricultural Practices(GAP) and address quality issues, coupled with pests and diseases like the twig borer and coffee wilt disease to mention but a few.

aBi was founded by Governments of Denmark and Uganda and is funded by DANIDA, SIDA, USAID, UKaID, EU and Kfw

Three Thoughts on Sustainable Blogging Resolutions

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How to set goals you’ll be more likely to keep.

Source: Three Thoughts on Sustainable Blogging Resolutions

aBi TRUST REVAMPING UGANDA’S COFFEE CROP: RAYS OF HOPE FROM WESTERN UGANDA

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Mother Garden for Coffee tissue culture at Royal Plants and Nurseries.

When he dropped out of school about two decades ago, Wilson Kabebe resorted to coffee growing on a one-and-half acre piece of land located in Muwelo village, Isule parish, Maliba sub-county in Kasese district.
Kabebe, who dropped out at the end of his O-level due to lack of school fees, then reaped about 70 kilogrammes of the cash crop every season lasting about six months. From his produce, Kabebe would smile his way home with about Shs 3,000 for each killogramme as extended by the middleman.
Sometimes, the middlemen would book the 39-year-old’s plantation as soon as it flowered.
“I realized that the prices offered were less than those earned by farmers in organized groups,” he reminisces with a tinge of regret.
COOPERATIVES KICKING OUT MIDDLEMEN?
Realising that middlemen were exploiting them, Kabebe and his fellow coffee farmers organized themselves into a cooperative society: Isule Cooperative society which comprises 778 farmers – 132 females and 646 males.

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Women sorting coffee beans at Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperative Union, Kabwohe, Sheema District, Western Uganda

The cooperative initiative has paid off: Kabebe now earns more money per kilo compared to what he was bagging before joining the cooperative. While he was previously paid about Shs 3,000 per kilo, the prices now range between Shs 5,000 to 8,500 per kilo, thanks to better bargaining power that comes with selling as a cooperative.
Besides the exploitation, the middlemen are partly responsible for the poor quality of coffee according to John Nuwagaba, the general manager of Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperative Union (ACPCU) Limited located in Kabwohe, a trading centre located about 350km outside the capital Kampala.
“The middlemen buy the coffee while still in the plantations and pick it before it ripens,” he says. “They also add extraneous materials such as stones, poor grade coffee and dust.”
The middlemen have no doubt been taking advantage of the collapse of cooperatives. When ACPCU started registering success, the cooperative began encouraging others such as the Banyankore-Kweterana to revive their operations and save the farmer from exploitation by middlemen.
But Nuwagaba admits that the revival of cooperatives will require government intervention, especially regarding the recapitalization of the unions since “most of them lost their working capital”.
Previously a backbone of the Ugandan economy, cooperatives collapsed in the 1970s with ascent to power of President Idi Amin Dada who chased away Asians, forcing expatriates and capable leaders and managers of these unions scampering into exile.
Nuwagaba also requests government to stop interfering in the operations of the farmer organizations except where the intervention is to demand accountability and check corruption.
“There is also need to train leaders of these unions in leadership and management skills,” he adds.
Nuwagaba’s assertion is grounded in the fact that the final nail that drove in the coffin of cooperatives unions was the political interests of those that managed the farmers’ organizations.
Since their collapse, it seems governments have been suspicious of the unions – perhaps because of their history of protest against the Asians’ and Europeans’ dominance of the economy in colonial Uganda and their mobilization of power – and are therefore reluctant to breathe life into them. The ongoing revival is being engineered by coffee farmers countrywide with support from aBi Trust a multilateral donor entity founded by the Governments of Denmark and Uganda.

FARMER FIELD SCHOOLS
Even when they have greater bargaining power for their produce, coffee farmers need to produce more quality coffee – and perhaps the Farmer Field Schools in Kasese supported by aBi Trust a good example of training farmers on how to achieve this.
When we visit the group Kabebe belongs to, a session is underway in Kabebe’s plantation.

1 Wilson Kabebe sharing Knowledge with fellow coffee farmers during a farmer field school
Kabebe participates in a farmer firld school in Isule, Kasese District, Western Uganda.

The training has been made possible with help from aBi Trust, a development partner that funds private sector agribusiness through Implementing Partners such as Hanns R Neumann Stiftung. Support from aBi Trust also extends to cereals, horticulture, dairy, pulses, oilseeds and coffee.
Sevelino Bwambale, the facilitator, is leading members on the lesson about the prevention of coffee pests and diseases. Team members are allowed to contribute knowledge and ask questions on the day’s topic.
Kabebe, one of the best farmers in his farm group is attending this session and has learnt better agronomic lessons – such as planting, harvesting and post-harvest handling – from the previous training sessions.
“Unlike my neighbours,” Kabebe says pointing at the next plantation whose coffee plants are visibly competing with the weeds for nutrients. “I now take weeding seriously, I have dug contours to prevent soil erosion and I prune my coffee plants.”
Consequently, the father of four has put Bwambale’s lessons into practice, translating into higher yields. To improve his farm, Kabebe borrowed Shs 6m from Centenary Bank to revamp his plantation. He would later payback the loan but the subsequent harvests were worth the effort.
“I now harvest almost three times the amount I used to reap before I joined Farmer field schools,” he reveals with a grin.
CHALLENGES OF FARMER FIELD SCHOOL (FFS)
Despite the successes such as those highlighted by Kabebe, the field school has faced some setbacks.
According to facilitator Bwambale, who also grows coffee on the three acres of land he owns in the same area as Kabebe, the attendance of some of the FFS sessions is normally low on Tuesdays because this day coincides with the area’s market days. In fact on the day of our visit, eight of 15 members of this group are absent, most of them males.
“People also expect us [the facilitators] to give them hoes, machines and tarpaulins. For us we give them ideas – not money,” the 41-year old facilitator adds.
REPLACING OLD COFFEE PLANTS
Coffee production in Uganda has suffered a setback for over two decades now and consequently shrunk the country’s earnings from this major export.
The decline of this major cash crop in Uganda the largest producers of coffee – only second to Ethiopia and the ninth the world – has been attributed, among other factors, to the aging of the coffee plants.
With most of the coffee planted about five decades ago – yet the plant is only economically viable for 40 calendar years. Even with the new plants, pests and diseases have been affecting both the quantity and quality of yields.

PIC 7 Prilla Basemera a bio technician at Royal Plants and Nurseries examines a coffee tissue culture process in the laboratory

Prilla Basemera a bio technician at Royal Plants and Nurseries examines a coffee tissue culture process in the laboratory, Kyenjojo District.

According to Chris Kaijuka, the Managing Director of Royal Plants and Nurseries in Kyenjojo district, Uganda needs about 300 million plants to revitalize the sector.
Using funds extended by aBi Trust, an entity that funds private sector agribusiness, Royal Plants and Nurseries has supplied over 59,320 Coffee Wilt Disease resistant (CWDr) planting materials developed at their Kyenjojo tissue culture laboratory in a space of nine months.
aBi Trust fund has helped in the production of plantlets for Robusta coffee, grown in lowlands by over 70 per cent of the country’s coffee farmers. Arabica coffee, the other variety that grows in highlands is resistant to the coffee wilt disease that has decimated plantations.
The support from aBi, worth about Shs 2.6bn, helped in the purchase of laboratory equipment, upgrading of the laboratory and expansion of nurseries.
The scientists are using a pest-resistant variety developed by the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) that has difficulty in multiplication.
Farmers all over the country have accessed these coffee planting materials through the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), a government agency established 25 years ago, to improve coffee quality and market the cash crop.
“UCDA gives these [plantlets] to farmers at a subsidized price; it’s almost free,” says Naboth Edongat, the Royal Plants’ laboratory manager. “Farmers are then helped to establish mother gardens to get more plantlets.

NOT GMOS
Edongat also defends the plantlets, clarifying that they are not Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). In Uganda, the debate on Genetically Modified Organisms is a controversial one and most farmers are likely to shun seedlings associated with genetic alteration.

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Naboth Edongat, the Royal Plants’ laboratory manager.

“Tissue culture does not change the genes; it only helps in the multiplication [of the coffee plants]. We do not do genetic engineering,” he explains.
Royal Plants and Nurseries Ltd, located about 250km outside the capital Kampala, has taken up the challenge to give Uganda’s coffee sector a lease of fresh air.
Through plant tissue culture, a biotechnology through which plant cells are developed into new plants, the company is now producing planting materials that are disease and pest-resistant.
On the whole, although it is clear that with aBi’s support the revival of the coffee sector will sustain the hope it is steadily giving to the farmers, it is clear that revamping of the cash crop depends on the restoration of cooperative unions; training of farmers in good agricultural practices; and replacing old plants that are no longer productive.