They say "teach a man to fish feed him for a lifetime" , in this case it's teach a woman how to grow food feed her and her family for a lifetime.
Research has shown that when women have better access to resources like training, they tend to invest more in the nutrition, education, and health of their family, causing a ripple effect of benefits that can extend to the entire community.
Although women farmers produce more than half of the food grown in the world, they are often not able to benefit from available resources because of institutional and cultural barriers they face. According to the UN statics, worldwide, women receive only about 5 percent of agriculture extension services and own about 2 percent of land worldwide.
While women play important and ever-increasing roles in rural economies throughout Africa, unfortunately, most agricultural extension services are directed at programs for men.
In Liberia – The hardest hit by Ebola – women who received training and seeds provided by the Seed Programs International, are growing vegetables in the kitchen gardens for their families and their communities. During the Ebola outbreak, when quarantines prevented food and other resources from coming into the area, most program recipients and their family did not go hungry because there were so many women growing their own food. In an effort to keep women in engaged in the Liberia seed programs, our partner Church Aid has taken the lead in hiring trained female extension trainers in January of 2016.
Church Aid Women’s Empowerment Program recently hired 2 female extension trainers for the women’s seed program. On a recent skype call Women’s empowerment program director Miatta Sirleaf said “Hiring women to work in the field as agricultural extension trainers has encourage more women to become extension trainers in the future.”
The presence of women on agricultural extension teams has enabled our partners to reach a greater number of women.
Female agricultural extension agents bring particular characteristics and unique perspectives to the Skills and Seeds for Women projects. Church Aid reported that the participation and commitment of female agricultural extension agents, the quality of their work and their ability to reach women in the community has been successful. Female extension trainers’ approach, background, knowledge, commitment and ability to reach female program participants and keeping them engaged surpassed all expectations.
REAP another SPI partner in Bentol Liberia, helps to empower young girls and other students by integrating school gardens and agriculture training into primary school curriculums. More than 30 percent of students in the schools return to rural areas to farm for a living after graduating. While both young boys and girls benefit from the training, it is especially important for young girls to learn these skills, says Mayor Christine Norman of Bentol – “This helps the girls avoid dependence on men for food and financial security, and they can share what they learn.” Mayor Christine Norman also added "passing these skills to future generations, the children who are often under the care of women helps to create similarly self-sufficient and empowered future farmers who are prepared to feed themselves and their community”
With your support SPI has provided good seeds and much needed access to training to a group of women who now have skills and seeds to help themselves and their families. Thank you!
In September of 2015, the women’s program in Liberia hosted an agriculture and nutrition learning and recipe exchange event entitled Proper Nutrition is Powerful. This two-day event hosted 35 women and provided workshops on the Food pyramid, cooking lessons, recipe exchange and sharing sessions, and most important of all child nutrition. The program-driven group workshops focused on strengthening, and aligning traditional food and cooking methods with vegetable varieties grown with SPI seeds. By engaging a mix group of older women and young mothers the event offered opportunities for knowledge exchange, sharing of cooking styles, and learning how to select and cook ingredients that will improve nutritional intake.
SPI Liberia partner reported that the women in attendance all mothers, who all understood and agreed that children who are well nourished, are more likely to be healthy, productive and able to learn. As we all know, malnutrition is devastating. It blunts intellect, saps productivity, and perpetuates poverty for any family and society it touches. On a recent Skype call with SPI staff Ms. Miatta Sirleaf, lead trainer for the women’s program said “This year awareness of nutrition issues, particularly stunting in children, has increased, because of advocacy and access to resources made available through SPI’s support.”
Thanks to the generous support of our donors, Liberia women’s program is expanding their reach and teaching some very essential and important skills so women can go beyond surviving to thriving.
Over 60 percent of Liberia’s agricultural producers are women; yet, men still tend to receive more and better training, and women’s training is often inappropriate.
Through the partnership of Seed Programs International and Church Aid Liberia a lot has changed at the village level and in the lives of the Women’s Empowerment Program recipients. The bottom-up approach has empowered the women. They are actively involved in various aspects of program management such as conducting meetings, collectively selecting training topics and presenting groups needs to Church Aid Liberia staff.
Church Aid Liberia women’s group training provides a structure that enables women to share training information. Equipping women with the skills to improve production and manage change and support each other. We believe access to information and training are the most powerful tools for women’s empowerment. We provide a community based solution that gives women access to knowledge, skills and self-confidence they need to seek out economic opportunities paths out of poverty to self-reliance.
Church Aid Liberia’s Women’s Empowerment programs incorporates agricultural training with Business management training, to help women take advantage of new agricultural opportunities, and to manage and market their vegetable production more effectively.
A recent 6 week training funded by Seed Programs international, included session on:
Church Aid Liberia’s Women’s Empowerment Program staff and volunteers help women to engage and encouraging them to create groups based on need and interests.
Delivering training through groups increased the number of women who are able to benefit from training. During the training, exchange of experiences among participants is encouraged as an important step towards securing livelihoods and reducing poverty by working together.
The training was facilitated by Church Aid Liberia staff and contract extension trainers hired by Church Aid Liberia.
On completion of the course the women are able to understand amongst many other things:
As part of the training, the participants are encouraged to submit proposals for agribusiness projects that they intend to carry out in their communities. Church Aid Liberia provides ongoing support.
75 women were in attendance. Participant were selected base on their interest in gardening in addition to those who have previously received seeds (80 to 90 (%) percent of the women have received seeds).
We are all grateful for your support of our women's gardening efforts in the most impoverished countries worldwide including Madagascar, Guatemala, and Liberia. By providing top-quality vegetable seeds and locally-driven support, seed programs give women a path to empowerment, income, and nutrition.
The women of Chajul, Guatemala project are all working hard to make their garden a success. They extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for your support.
" Thank you , Thank you. No one has ever before given us the opportunity to help ourselves. We are proud of our ability to work the soil in the Mayan way and thank you for believing in us."
They received orientation instructions in their own language of Ixil Mayan in a high school classroom . This was a very exciting day, especially because they’ve never had the opportunity to go to school. They were very attentive and entered into good discussion with relevant questions about the project.
The vegetable gardens were prepared and planted the week before Palm Sunday. The project paid for the assistance of 2 unemployed youth with no education and 2 unemployed youth who are earning tuition for their University course work in agriculture.
Students and professors at the regional Rural University advised the project and advised on the crop selection. Local ixil Mayan farmers donated plots for use by the women who did not have access to a garden plot of their own. The women are looking forward to having vegetables to add to their families’ diets of mostly tortillas and beans.
There is a long waiting list for the next vegetable garden project.
Your contributions make all the difference.
There are many ways that you can support our effort to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the women participating in Seed Programs gardening project. GlobalGiving offers nice e-cards, printable paper cards, and mailed cards for giving in honor of Mother’s Day, a birthday, or any other occasion.
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Again, we thank you for your continued support!
Empowering women and growing gardens
Empowering women is essential to ending poverty and advancing gender equality. Due to war, natural disasters and gender inequality, women often have no way to escape poverty and malnutrition for themselves or their children.
When a woman learns a new skill, her whole world opens up. At Seed Programs International we are proud of our partnerships that allow us to advance the economic empowerment of women. With your help, vegetable seeds provided by SPI will grow vegetable gardens for women and children in great need of nutrition and income. Seed Programs International has helped grow over a million gardens since 1998. With your help we can provide support such as seeds, tools, and horticultural knowledge so women can grow food and provide for their families.
The long-term impacts are many; improved nutrition especially among children, renewable income from the sale of surplus vegetables, antidote to helplessness by providing hope for the future as they create their own gardens. When women are empowered, the benefits ripple outwards and bring benefits to many others. We encourage everyone to join us and be part of this exciting initiative. With our partner organizations we are focusing on women's gardening efforts in the most impoverished countries worldwide including Syria, Columbia and Haiti.
A report from our partner organization Ayiti Konsevet in Haiti stated “In Mena, located in the commune of Plezans, northern department was where home gardens were most successful. All participants agreed that their gardens were producing food they never were able to buy or grow. Some have never owned any garden tools, those who did shares them with those who lacked. Now thanks to SPI, all participating families have a full set of tools.”
We’ve raised $295.00, enough to produce a training video and plant ten gardens.
Your gift keeps on growing!
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