Journal of Social Development in Africa

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Sociocultural context and the success of international aid on National Agricultural Advisory Services program in eastern Uganda

Samuel Bernard Ariong, Mel Gray, Kate Davies


This paper examines the shifts in multidimensional discourses on international development aid policy and poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa, drawing on a qualitative case study of the Ugandan National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) program. While Uganda has benefitted from substantial global donor funding, poverty, famine, and hunger remain widespread. This study highlights the importance of the sociocultural context for determining the success or otherwise of high-level programs at a local, rural level. The paper draws on data from individual interviews with 15 successful progressive farmers in the three rural districts of eastern Uganda that have benefited from the donor aid-driven NAADS program. Preliminary analysis of this data has identified interacting economic, political, geographic, and sociocultural factors at work in the implementation of this program. Determining 'what did and did not work' for the progressive farmers is useful not only to policy makers, but also to other smallholder farmers still entrenched in poverty and wanting to access the NAADS program.

Keywords: Aid, development, poverty, agriculture, sociocultural factors and progressive farmers

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