The Research agenda focuses on institutional and behavioral economics and management studies.
Agriculture and Rural Finance Program (AGRUFIN)
Research: The impact of financial literacy training among market vendors in the Rwenzori region (2015 -2016)
To establish the impact of different delivery methods of financial literacy trainings on financial knowledge and behavior of small scale entrepreneurs.
The research is done by three partner institutions: GIZ AGRUFIN, DIW Berlin and Mountains of the Moon University. DownLoad the Paper here
The role of boards of directors in the performance of savings and credit cooperatives (2014-2016)
Since 2005, savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) have been assigned an important role by Government of Uganda in its rural development strategy, in particular financial inclusion. However, there are concerns about the capacity of the members of these SACCOs to form effective boards of directors which are at the centre of organizational governance.
This project is carried out by Mr. Bernard Muhangi as part of his PhD-course at Uganda Management Institute (UMI).
Financial literacy evaluation (FL-Eval, June 2015 – Dec. 2016)
This is an experimental study (randomized control trial – RCT) of the impact of different FL-training formats. It is carried out in 84 market places in the Rwenzori region (about 1,200 respondents) in three ‘waves’ (baseline and 2 follow-up surveys).
FL-Eval is a partnership project between MMU, the University of Kiel (Germany) / German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and the Agricultural and Rural Finance (AGRUFIN) programme of German International Cooperation (GIZ).
Project team (operations): Mr. Mawenu Robert (MMU), Mr. Tim Kaiser (DIW), Ms. Provia Tumuramye (MMU), Ms. Esther Nanjovu (GIZ)
Project steering committee: Prof. Lukas Menkhoff (DIW), Dr. Moses Muhumuza (MMU), Ms. Julia Kirya (GIZ)
Governance structures and performance of agricultural value-chains (2013-2016)
This research identifies pattern of relationships (governance structures) between the three stages of agricultural value chains (VC) – here: dairy farmers, transporters/pre-processors, processors; and to find out if different government structures influence the performance, in particular quality of various dairy products.
Data was collected between September 2014 and February 2015 in three major milk sheds of Uganda, i.e. Rwenzori region, South Western region and central region. A total of 140 triad VCs (three VC-stages). After data cleaning, analysis considered 115 triad chains thus 345 respondents.
The project is carried out by Ms. Joanita Kataike under a PhD-scholarship under MMU’s partnership with the University of Ghent (Belgium), funded by the Flemish Inter-University-Council (VLIR). Her PhD-supervisors are Prof. Xavier Gellynck (UGhent) and Dr. Oliver Schmidt (MMU). Joanita has presented papers at conferences in South Africa and India.
FISH FARMERS PROJECT
Project Manager: Mbabazi Grace
In 2016, Mountains of the Moon University (MMU) received funding from VLIROUS for a South Initiative (SI) to implement a project on strengthening the business practices of fish farmers in the Ruwenzori region. The SI is reaping synergies of the TRIAS experience, the financial literacy training and research experience of MMU’s School of Business & Management Studies (SBMS), and the ongoing agronomic aquaculture research under the IUC between MMU and UGent The SI will build capacity of at least 350 farmers to improve their individual fish farms and improve on marketing strategies. The fish farmers will also be trained in how to start and manage groups, and link them to financial service providers. The project is using a tested TRIAS model of “Enabling Rural Innovation (ERI)” to engage the fish farmers groups and work with them to empower them adopt effective farming practices, find appropriate markets, and develop strong fish farming enterprises. ERI is a solution focused approach which stimulates farmers organized in groups to (re)discover their existing resources (natural, social, financial and personal) and enables them to find innovative solutions and make informed decisions on marketing, production and consumption. Whereas in many other approaches, farmers are seen as ̕beneficiaries̕ and passive recipients who need to be told what to do participants were informed that ERI looks at farmers as active or potential agro-entrepreneurs who can take matters into their own hands. It is up to them to choose what they need and want after being supported in acquiring objective information. This approach has been used by TRIAS in other districts in Uganda such as Masindi, Hoima and Buliisa to strengthen business practices of the farmers with a considerable level of success. A number of project activities have so far been implemented.
The Enabling Rural Innovation (ERI) Workshop
The workshop was meant to equip the MMU staff with knowledge and skill in ERI approach, before they could begin their engagement with the fish farming communities. The workshop was held on the 23rd to 27th January 2017. The overall objective of the workshop was to equip participants (MMU staff) with facilitation skills in using the ERI approach. This would enable them to work effectively with fish farmers in the Ruwenzori region and empower them to develop their fish farmer enterprises. Overall the objective of the workshop was achieved. Workshop participants have so far used the skills from the project to implement project activities.
As proposed in the funding proposal, we have undertaken a baseline survey with the fish farmers in all the districts (Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Kasese and Bundibugyo) covered by the project. The aim of the baseline survey was to ascertain state of affairs among the fish farmers pertaining the understanding of the fish farming business, the link with financial institutions and enterprise development before our intervention. We will be able to measure the success of this project in a post project evaluative study based on this baseline survey.
Farmer Participatory Market Research
We mobilised and engaged farmer groups in all the districts covered by the project in conducting market research to identify and analyse profitable markets and enterprises. In the most markets visited the farmers also discovered that the traders were considering expanding their businesses. Based on these findings, the traders were resolved to strengthen their groups so as to increase production. The farmers also noted that they were empowered by the participatory process to conduct market research on their own. They noted that the participatory market research process had been rewarding and empowering since, they were able to know the species of fish most wanted on the market, the demand of fish as shown by the amount of fish sold, the pricing process and the sources of the fish. They also noted that if they were to capture the market, they needed to ensure good quality of fish using effective methods of food preservation such as salting smoking and sun drying. The discussion was dialogical involving every member of the group. They noted with great concern that two species of fish namely Emale and Semutundu were scarce on the market. They emphasized that Emale was one of the two main species farmed in ponds in Uganda but was lacking on the market. They concluded that there would be a lot of potential in their fish farming businesses especially if they concentrated on getting the Emale species to the market. The traders were pleased to discover that much of the fish in the market was obtained from lakes by middle men. The farmers concluded that there was generally high demand for fish in their local areas and were inspired to produce in large quantities. They argued that if they produced fish in large quantities, they would be able to out compete the middle men.
Upcoming project activities
By the time of writing this project overview, an activity on strengthening farmers groups through training on governance and leadership is ongoing. Other planed activities include, Financial literacy, Marketing, Business planning, and record keeping (January, 2018), mapping of financial service providers in the Rwenzori region, linking farmers to financial institutions, preparing a networking event with value chain actors among others.