Click here to watch MADRE's video, "Sudan's First and Only Women Farmer Union"!
Video description: In Sudan, young women identify gender discrimination and climate change as their two greatest obstacles to farming. But a Women Farmers Union, supported by MADRE, overcomes these barriers.One woman named Fatima Ahmed, a local agronomist, saw how women farmers grow most of their families' food, yet are denied crucial support that the Ministry of Agriculture gives to men.The women found a solution: Sudan's first and only Women Farmers Union. They organized to obtain tools, seeds and training. They pooled resources to buy a tractor, and they share their sustainable and profitable farming strategies.With a focus on young women, the Union allows women farmers to boost family nutrition, earn income and improve farming practices for the future.
Fatima Ahmed, director of MADRE’s sister organization Zenab for Women in Development, recently shared some success stories from the Women Farmers Union. Together with Zenab, MADRE supports over 3,000 women farmers, giving them the tools, resources and technical assistance they need to sustain their families for the long haul. Keep reading to learn how this program is helping transform women’s lives:
Your support truly strengthens our sisters in Sudan, their families, and their communities. Thank you!
Our partners at Zenab for Women in Development recently shared with us that the women of Women Farmers Unite are working hard to obtain oil mill machinery in order to process their sesame seed and groundnut crops. Oil is extracted from sesame seeds and groundnuts by mechanical pressing, and is a lucrative product in local markets. Obtaining oil mill machinery for these women farmers will offer increased income-generating activity and self-employment. Rather than packing seed crops and transporting them to and from the city for mechanical pressing, the women farmers will be able to save time, money and energy, and maximize their profit, by eliminating third party oil millers. We look forward to bringing you more updates once the oil mill machinery is in use!
October 16 was World Food Day. This year’s focus was on agricultural cooperatives—powerful examples of active, life-changing community engagement.
Worldwide, women and girls are primarily responsible for feeding their families. Women are disproportionately, overwhelmingly impacted by the expanding global crisis of poverty. Climate change exacerbates food insecurity, causing droughts one year and floods the next, and forces people from their homes. These conditions all exacerbate poverty—and again, disproportionately impact women.
MADRE advocates for food sovereignty, meaning that every person has not only the right to food, but the right to choose what food we eat and an understanding of where that food comes from and how it is produced.
Women Farmers Unite, our partners in Sudan whose work to promote food sovereignty allows them to feed their families and support one another through the many challenges they face, are an inspiring example of the power of agricultural cooperatives. By embracing sustainable farming practices, women and their families have the opportunity to support themselves for generations.
Unlike emergency food aid, Women Farmers Unite gives women the tools, resources and technical assistance they need to sustain their families for the long haul. With our Sudanese partner organization Zenab for Women in Development, we provide women farmers with organic seeds and supplies, including plows and a tractor. A special focus on young women helps ensure their generation continues to provide a local, sustainable food supply.
Women gain the resources they need to grow and produce food, alleviating hunger, improving health and nutrition, and fueling local economies. By working together to grow crops, participants build a network of women farmers who share resources and boost their economic status. Elder women transmit skills and lessons to younger women. Many participants are using their increased incomes to pay for their daughters’ educations, breaking the cycle of poverty and increasing the chances for further political, economic and social empowerment.
Just yesterday, Fatima Ahmed, the director of Zenab for Women in Development, our sister organization in Sudan, came to MADRE to share some exciting updates from the Women Farmers Union. And we’d like to share them with you!
The Women Farmers Union, the first of its kind in Sudan, started working with 300 women farmers in six communities in Eastern Sudan. Today, it unites over 3,000 women farmers from over 50 communities—and it continues to expand! By providing seeds, tools and resources, Zenab supports these women so that they can grow the food their families need to survive.
Last year, we were excited to announce that the Women Farmers Union had purchased their first tractor. Not only did the tractor save time and labor, it improved the chances of a good harvest.
With so many women farmers and just one tractor, it was hard to meet the need. But just recently, Zenab was able to purchase a second tractor as well as a new disk to help with planting! Already, these new tools helped 1,000 women clean, plow and prepare their fields for a successful harvest. The women are thrilled to have a second tractor!
Fatima also shared with us that in June, Zenab organized a forum where over 500 women farmers attended. She told us how the women farmers were able to discuss their needs as well as provide recommendations for the Union.
One of the biggest challenges the women farmers face is unpredictable weather patterns created by climate change. Last year, the women struggled through persistent drought. This year, excessive rain has triggered floods that threaten their harvests and that spread disease through communities. The members of the Women Farmers Union share strategies to deal with the flooding, like planting trees as a natural barrier to protect farmland.
We thank Fatima so much for visiting MADRE and for sharing these exciting updates and accomplishments from the women farmers. We can’t wait for her next visit!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.