Empowering rural women farmers in Northern Sierra Leone

In Northern Sierra Leone, we’re supporting 500 rural women farmers living in severe poverty through practical agricultural skills training. The women will increase crop quantity and diversity, whilst halting degrading agricultural practices.

Empowering rural women farmers in Northern Sierra Leone

This one year project, which began in March 2018, is funded by the Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission and will indirectly support 2,450 people, including over 1000 children and infants in rural communities in the Bombali District – one of the poorest and most food insecure regions of Sierra Leone. We are working with our local partner organisation, MEWODA, to implement this project.

The training we’re providing will encourage a culture of saving and fair loan associations, increasing shock resilience, for example should a drought, flood or market fluctuation occur. And, we will work to advance the sustainable agricultural management skills within ten women farmer cooperatives, helping to break the cycle of land degradation and poor crop yield.

Women will also be trained in business awareness and financial literacy and will be formed into 10 village savings and loans associations groups. These activities will help women to engage in the market and to increase financial security and resilience to shocks for long term sustainability.

Okra, pepper and cucumber seeds will be provided with appropriate tools to each cooperative, with seeds from the first harvest collected in seed stores for sustainable seasonal planting. Crops are high in Vitamin A and K, have a short growing season, they are condition appropriate, and in demand; increasing income potential, enabling access to wider markets and increasing nutrition at household level.

Although our project is focused on supporting women, men are also key stakeholders. 10 community sensitisation meetings will be held in each co-operative community to directly address patriarchal gender norms. Any negative perceptions regarding women’s increasing financial management will be challenged, helping to ensure long-term change in the community also from a gender equality perspective.

The project will enable women to continue farming sustainably, increasing income for basic needs provision at a household level, and access to nutritional food at a community level. Long-term improvements in health, payments towards medical care and education will also be felt.