Participation and Leadership in Food Security Groups in Southeast Uganda: Determinants and Implications for Development Programs and Policies


  • Haroon Sseguya Makerere University
  • Robert E. Mazur Iowa State University
  • Jemimah M. Njuki International Livestock Research Institute
  • Francis Y. Owusu Iowa State University


participation, local groups, food security


Local groups are increasingly being promoted as a vehicle for effective involvement of community members in development initiatives in the Global South, with expectations of successful and sustained achievements. Previous studies on participation and leadership in groups yield mixed results, implying that some underlying and contextual factors influence participation dynamics. In this study, using 281 household interviews and discussions with 21 farmers' groups in southeast Uganda, we established that group participation is positively associated with age of household head, household size and proximity to trading and health facilities. Group leadership is positively associated with educational level of household head, land size and non-agricultural sources of income, the latter two indicating wealth of an individual. Implications for development programs and policies include special efforts to support participation of youth as well as dedicating extra efforts to reach remote households and groups. Regarding leadership, groups should make it easier for non-educated members to take up leadership roles, the young generation should be enabled to benefit from the government policy of Universal Primary Education, and measures to avoid elite capture should be established

Author Biographies

Haroon Sseguya, Makerere University

Lecturer, Department of Extension and Innovation Studies, Makerere University, Uganda

Robert E. Mazur, Iowa State University

Professor, Department of Sociology, Iowa State University, USA

Jemimah M. Njuki, International Livestock Research Institute

Senior Research Scientist, International Livestock Research Institute

Francis Y. Owusu, Iowa State University

Associate Professor, Community and Regional Planning, Iowa State University