Honduras: Women Taking the Lead in Community Development
Part 2 of 2, August 2017
In last month’s Women’s Empowerment Initiative story, we introduced Seed Programs International partner, FIPAH (Foundation for Participatory Research with Honduran Farmers), who is working with local farmer groups in field schools and community-led farmer research teams (CIALs) over five regions in Honduras.
The CIALs have 53 participants, a majority of which are women — 37 women and 16 men from 21 communities. To highlight their work, we shared how Dona Bertulia, a farmer from the region of Jesus de Otoro, learned how to save seed [link to July 2017 post, Part 1 of 2] and immediately adopted the idea as a way to ensure her community has access to quality seed for generations to come. This month, we’re sharing Ana Josefina’s story.
Ana, a single parent with a 12-year old son, lives with her two unmarried sisters and their parents. Ana has been a member of a FIPAH local farmer research team (CIAL) since the early 2000s, first in a neighboring community, and now in her own, Union Praga.
Ana was one of 14 women selected in the region of Jesus de Otoro to participate in training in vegetable seed selection and production in 2015, and one of 9 selected for a second year in 2016-2017. She recently participated in second-year training that focused on vegetable seed production specific to each of the five regions where FIPAH coordinates field schools. Ana’s region, Jesus de Otoro, focuses on white radish, coriander, and sorghum. Their goal is to save enough seed at her field school to supply her own region and also to eventually exchange for seed from each of the four other regional schools that each specialize in different types of seed.
Ana and her sister, Doris, have always enjoyed saving seed. At her parent’s home, they both have their own separate ‘huertos’ or vegetable gardens. Fenced-off to keep out the chickens and other animals, the gardens are watered with a simple hose pipe and produce seed in soil enriched with coffee bean residue taken from their family’s coffee plot.
Here, you can see Ana and her sister, Doris, displaying the white radish (nabo), coriander (culantro), and sorghum (sorgo) seed that they have produced through seed saving in their gardens. They have already shared this seed with other members of their team so it could be planted before the annual rains arrive in May and June.
Ana with flowering white radish (nabo) plant
Ana is also saving seed from the earlier training session, which focused on several different vegetables, including eggplant, shown above.
Like Dona Bertulia, Ana is learning more refined techniques that will build her community’s resilience against environmental changes that can threaten vegetable crops. By participating in FIPAH’s field schools and producing quality seed for her community, she’s laying a foundation for self-sustainability that will support her community for generations to come.
Honduras: Women Taking the Lead in Community Development
This month’s Women’s Empowerment Initiative story comes from Honduras, where Seed Programs International partner, FIPAH (Foundation for Participatory Research with Honduran Farmers), is working with local farmer groups to lay a foundation for self-sustainability through community-led education and local seed production. Farmers are organized into field schools (ECAs) that train community-led farmer research teams (CIALs) over five regions in Honduras.
A typical woman in Liberia has a lot of work on her plate in addition to the work of managing her household. And to be clear, this is work, often unpaid and unacknowledged — gathering firewood, fetching water, cooking, hand washing clothes, and taking care of family members. Household work can be a huge burden that limits a woman’s ability to take on paid employment or broaden her skills through training and education.
Women Passing It On
This month’s program highlight brings us back to Liberia, where SPI partner REAP (the Restoration of Educational Advancement Program) is providing women with access to resources and education.
One way REAP facilitates empowerment for young girls and other students is by integrating school gardens and agriculture training into primary school curriculums. More than 30% of students in the schools return to rural areas to farm for a living after graduation.
Did you know that women farmers produce more than half the developing world’s food, yet own less than 2% of land?
Did you know that if women had the same access to quality seeds, tools, and knowledge as men, the increased agricultural output in 34 developing countries would lead to 150 million fewer hungry people (UN)?
Women’s Empowerment Initiative- Graduating from Maize to Vegetables
Esther is a farmer from Makongo village and a member of the Makongo Farmers Network in south-central Kenya, where she owns ½ acre of land. She was forced to relocate from Eldoret in western Kenya due to political instability during the 2007-2008 Kenyan Crisis , which displaced about 600,000 people. A single mother, today she supports eight children, five of whom are in school.
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