How Ntajumba Bernard Uses Music To Make His Voice Heard

9. November 2022|In Stories, Uganda
Ntajumba Bernard aka Ben Beauty

The Fairventures Family consists of many special human beings from all around the globe. But it is safe to say that there is nobody quite like Ntajumba Bernard, aka “Ben Beauty”. Bernard has dedicated his life to greening his community. To raise awareness for climate change, he is making use of his voice in a truly extraordinary way.

Ntajumba Bernard grew up in Bwera, a small city in Western Uganda. When he was born, his father had already died, leaving him and his siblings alone with their mother. To support his family, Bernard did not go to school right away, but instead took on his first job at the age of ten years. A few years later, his oldest brother, by then working as a tutor, helped him with his school fees, enabling Bernard to get educated and even study at university.

But when he graduated, there were no jobs available. “I even tried joining the army or the police, but they never gave us a chance,” Bernard recounts. He started farming, and in 2016, he decided to additionally run for political office and was elected town councilor in his village. That is when he got in touch with Fairventures staff for the first time. 

“When I heard about Fairventures’ projects, I was impressed to make a song”

For the last two years, he has been supporting our team as a Farmer Training Facilitator (FTF), instructing his fellow farmers on how to best make use of their land. In this job, he benefits from the experience he himself gained as a smallholder farmer over the last decade. Recently, Bernard managed to plant two acres – approximately the size of a football field – which he uses as a test field to experiment with different tree species and intercrops.

“At first,” Bernard recounts, “we used to plant any tree.” Smallholders never knew which trees would go well with specific crops like beans or bananas. Here is where our staff was able to make an impact: In Farmer Field Schools, our Ugandan team explained the concept of agroforestry including Good Agroforestry Practices (GAP) so that the farmers can now combine tree planting with agriculture. 

Bernard is standing in the middle of his field, a big smile on his face. He is proud of what he has achieved over the last couple of years. “My trees are growing,” he notes, pointing at a textbook example right behind him. “I planted this tree three years ago. And now it’s tall like that!”

When asked about the importance of trees for his community, Bernard tells the story of “River Chance”, a river flowing through a nearby valley. “When it is raining, that valley kills people,” he explains. During the rainy season, water masses are running down the hillside, breaking the soil and surprising unsuspecting people who are passing along the valley. 

To prevent casualties and protect the soil from breaking, Bernhard has made it his mission to mobilize his community and start planting the slopes.

Being around Bernhard, one can feel how passionate he is about the environment and his mission: to green his community. He radiates positive energy like few others do, and he is using his charisma to influence his community. However, Bernard is a man of many talents and the work he is doing as part of our team is only a small part of what makes him so special.

When he is not in the field, Ntajumba Bernard turns into “Ben Beauty”, his rapping and singing alias. “When I got to this project, when I saw how it is helping my community, I was impressed to make a song.” So he started writing and composing a track about his relationship with our organization – one that is just as vibrant and positive as his personality.