Scaling Smallholder Farmer Empowerment: Lessons from the Lifelong Learning Program in Uganda


  • Rebecca Kalibwani Bishop Stuart University
  • Medard Kakuru
  • Alexis Carr Commonwealth of Learning
  • Moses Tenywa Commonwealth of Learning



Lifelong learning for farmers, Empowerment, Propensity Score Matching, Uganda


An evaluation study of the Lifelong Learning for Farmers (L3F) program was undertaken in two sites; in the central and northern regions of Uganda. Propensity Score Matching (PSM) was used to measure the impact of the program on crop and household income, as well as the empowerment levels of its participants. The two sites had differences not only in geographical location but in historical background and implementation of the program, which may have influenced the livelihood outcomes. Despite these differences, the results of the study confirm the potential of the L3F approach to raise participants’ crop and household income relative to non-L3F counterparts, significantly so for women participants. There is also sufficient evidence to confirm that L3F positively contributes to farmer empowerment, and, subsequently, their livelihood. The paper draws lessons for scaling the empowerment process using the lifelong learning for farmers’ model in Uganda.

Author Biographies

Rebecca Kalibwani, Bishop Stuart University

Dr. Rebecca M. Kalibwani is a Senior Lecturer at Bishop Stuart University, Mbarara, Uganda.  She is an economist and a specialist in Agricultural Economics. She supports development projects in formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Her research interests include socio-economic research, rural development, agribusiness, entrepreneurship, and impact studies. Email:

Medard Kakuru

Medard Kakuru is a development economist and an agricultural economist. His research interests are food security, poverty, climate change, unemployment, agricultural policy analysis, agribusiness development studies and impact evaluation. He works at the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) as a Research Analyst. Email:

Alexis Carr, Commonwealth of Learning

Alexis Carr is the Monitoring & Evaluation Manager for the Commonwealth of Learning (COL). She supports COL in the areas of project management, research, and monitoring and evaluation. She has authored or co-authored numerous publications and peer-reviewed articles based on COL’s research. Email:

Moses Tenywa, Commonwealth of Learning

Dr. Moses  M. Tenywa serves as the Education Specialist; Agriculture and Livelihoods of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) since 2019. He is a long-term proponent of Open Distance Learning (ODL) and use of ICT. Before joining COL he served as a Professor of Soil Science at Makerere University, Uganda. Currently, he is promoting open distance learning in the lifelong learning for farmers model across the four regions of the Commonwealth. Email: 



How to Cite

Kalibwani, R., Kakuru, M., Carr, A., & Tenywa, M. (2021). Scaling Smallholder Farmer Empowerment: Lessons from the Lifelong Learning Program in Uganda. Journal of Learning for Development, 8(2), 431–447.



Case Studies
Received 2021-02-23
Accepted 2021-06-15
Published 2021-07-19