May 6, 2024 Faatimah Clarke

Finding a New Path as a Single Mother: Mary’s Story

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Namataka Sickora Mary’s resilience and determination were truly tested, as it upended her life as a single mother and school secretary in Nakirubi village. The closure of the school left her without a source of income, plunging her into uncertainty. It was precisely during this challenging time that fate intervened in the form of a Proteen extension agent who introduced her to the transformative Black Soldier Fly (BSF) project.  

How did Mary do it?

Living in a village amplified her employment barriers and limited access to opportunities, intensifying the struggle to provide for her family and herself. Most entrepreneurial ventures are capital-intensive and in the agricultural sector, Ugandan farmers are highly affected by low-quality agricultural inputs (i.e. feed and fertilizer) with uncertain supply chains and fluctuating prices.  

It was the success story of another single mother that inspired Mary. She saw a woman on TV who was thriving through the Black Soldier Fly (BSF) project and began to envision a brighter future for herself and her children. Through the support of a Proteen extension agent and funding from the CFYE initiative, Mary became a BSF farmer. She transitioned into a role harvesting mature larvae, an occupation that not only provided a steady income but also equipped her with essential skills, offering a newfound sense of purpose and financial stability. Witnessing the positive impact of the project on her land and finances, she gained confidence and ramped up her efforts, producing an impressive 144 kilograms of mature larvae every month. Motivated by the tangible results of her hard work and the positive impact on her family’s well-being, including the care of her sick mother, Mary found a new sense of purpose. This job became more than just a means to an end—it was a pathway to a brighter, more sustainable future. 

I encourage fellow young people to join the project as it is less capital intensive, it can be done alongside other businesses and thereby expands their level of income”  

  – Namataka Sickora (Mary), BSF Farmer 

How has life changed for Mary?  

Mary’s life underwent a profound transformation as a result of her involvement in the BSF project. Beyond financial stability, the project instilled in her a renewed confidence and motivation to succeed, leading her to expand her enterprise and cultivate her land more effectively. The income she generated allowed her to fulfil her responsibilities as a mother, daughter, and member of her community.  Mary’s journey illustrates that decent employment can empower individuals, transcending monetary gains to encompass increased confidence, a broader skill set, and a heightened sense of independence. Through initiatives like CFYE, lives are not only economically uplifted but enriched in ways that resonate far beyond the realm of finances. 

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