Improving long-term resilience among women farmers in Sierra Leone
With our local partner MEWODA in Sierra Leone, Feed the Minds has set up another impactful project aimed at helping rural women. The project aims to sustainably increase the income and financial security of 1,000 marginalised women and their families in Mkarie Gbanti Chiefdom, Bombali District, Sierra Leone.
Monday Kargbo, Chair of the Sawulia Co-operative, one of 20 groups involved in the project.
Sierra Leone has a population of 7.5 million people and agriculture is a significant part of the economy. 70% of farmers in Sierra Leone are women. However, most women do not have control of the land that they cultivate. In Bombali District, where our project is running, 93% of the population are unable to eat enough nutritious food. Bombali District is one of the poorest and least secure areas to grow crops. However, 61% of the population in this region depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
1,000 women farmers in 20 co-operative groups are being trained on how to increase the quantity and variation of their crops. To combat low yield; the women are being given quality seeds (okra, pepper, cassava) and labour-saving tools. They are also being taught sustainable farming techniques including how to adapt to climate change and deal with harvest loss. These are all practical and delivered on co-operative farms to maximise learning. The co-operatives will also farm and sell together to ensure they can sell in bulk, negotiate with traders, avoid exploitation and obtain better prices. These activities will increase income and improve quality of life for many women.
The project will also support women from the co-operatives to form village savings and loans associations group. They will be trained in calculating financial contributions and loan management. These activities will help women save income from selling their crops and ask for a loan when needed. This will help with their financial security and resilience to unexpected challenges in the long-term. The benefits of this project will extend to the wider community. A farm open day will be held by the co-operatives where teachings will be shared. It is expected that 2,000 community members will benefit.
Find out more on our website.