SUPPORT AND ENGAGE WOMEN
A strong focus on tailored community development initiatives
As a first step, before recommending a course of actions and a timetable, FarmStrong Foundation undertakes a detailed local situation assessment with a systematic analysis to understand the specific challenges and bottlenecks faced by farmers, their families and their communities. Through reverse engineering, FarmStrong Foundation identifies both root causes as well as roadblocks that could be lifted, however deep they are rooted or however heavy they are.
This phase is key to the success of the program. There may be many generalisations that can be made in cocoa, coffee or nut growing countries, but each community will have its own challenges, being it social, economic, cultural, historic, environmental or a cocktail of all of them.
Undertaken together with local producers, economic partners and authorities, the comprehensive situation analysis provides a true description of the structural challenges faced by communities. This provides FarmStrong with the foundation to build tailored programs that then translates into a series of economic, social, and environmental key interventions. The approach transcends the traditional supply chain boundaries, while positively impacting farmers, families, and communities.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES THIS MEAN IN THE FIELD?
Women are foremostly the drivers of change and development in communities. They are responsible for managing households, reproductive tasks, raising children, feeding them, caring for the sick and providing a more than significant share of the (farm) labour. At the same time, they are the key factor to achieve lasting changes in the communities.
As such, our programs promote gender inclusion, (vocational) training, formalisation of women associations, Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) and Income Generating Activities (IGA) in the communities.
Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) and Income Generating Activities (IGA)
An important aspect of the process is to free-up time in their full daily programs to allow them to develop income-generating activities and promote the production of food and cash crops. The setting up of micro-businesses helps raise the household income of the farmers families especially off-season. Within these activities an important role is reserved for a successfully tested women association driven community intervention.
One successful intervention entails community vegetable greenhouses near the primary schools with its three-way impact on:
IMPROVEMENT OF NUTRITION WITH THE FAMILIES
IMPROVEMENT OF NUTRITION OF CHILDREN AT SCHOOL
WOMEN’S INCOME GENERATING ACTIVITIES
INTRODUCTION OF VSLA SYSTEMS ENHANCING BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL SKILLS
VOCATIONAL TRAINING & PROFESSIONAL INTEGRATION
Part of the Income Generating Activities, the women’s associations run the greenhouses with substrate culture and drip-irrigation with cultivation of tomatoes , peppers, cucumbers, among others. Women are trained and monitored through every step of the project and they learn to manage the total project.
It is important that these new tasks do not represent yet again an additional burden for women and contribute to their exhaustion. A balance must be found so that they can earn a decent income without putting in so much of effort that could have an adverse impact on their lives.