Sustainable support for farming women

We are working with International Centre for Environmental Education and Community Development (ICENECDEV) to increase the livelihoods of rural women in the villages of Tole, Bolifamba and Muea, in Southwest Cameroon. We are building their capacity in vegetable farming by using a pioneering peer training and training of the trainer (ToT) methodology, delivering high quality training in literacy, numeracy, business, and agricultural management skills to increase the income and livelihood opportunities for women farmers. To compliment this, the project will establish a women’s network or co-operative to ensure sustainability and easy, reliable access to information, training and agricultural tools.

A long lasting effect

The establishment of a women’s network will provide rural women with reliable access to vegetable market information and ensure ongoing peer training on literacy and farming tools and techniques. Through the ToT approach, trained women farmers will further train other rural women from surrounding villages. The advantages experienced by these farmers will encourage them to reinvest and share profits within the network. Feed the Mind’s pioneering functional literacy model will ensure participants build their capacity in farming-related literacy and numeracy skills. This will not only empower rural women to participate in the agricultural market arena and increase their household income, but will also inspire them to engage in decision-making activities and send their children to school.

According to Cameroon’s formal education data, only 21% of women receive a secondary school education in contrast to 35% of males.

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Despite a reduction in Cameroon’s urban poverty level, nearly half of the country’s population live in rural areas where poverty is on the rise- affecting almost 6 million people or 55% of Cameroon’s rural population. Agriculture plays an important role in Cameroon’s economy, making up 20% of its overall GDP with over half of Cameroon’s men and women working in the agricultural sector (IFAD, 2011). Women comprise the main agricultural labour force where they have a key role in food self-sufficiency and security. Today, rural women remain the subject of a constant concern in Cameroon’s economic policies due to numerous economic, social and cultural obstacles which have left them dependent on a subsistence economy (56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in Cameroon, 2012). There is a great need to build the capacity of rural women to cope with challenges associated with eradicating poverty and hunger and an even greater opportunity to harness the energy of disengaged rural women to contribute to the economic development of Cameroon.