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My Visit With Rural Farmers In Wundua, Ghana
Today, in the predominantly Muslim – and extremely rural community – of Wundua in the Northern Region of Ghana, I met an amazing group of farmers who are being trained by CARE on better farming techniques, including conservation practices.
The farmers have already experienced significant improvement in community well-being through the practices they've taught their neighbors as community-based farmer agents. The group is made up of 16 people – 13 men and 3 women. This is a significant difference from the Climate Adaption Committee yesterday, which was mostly comprised of women.
Abdulai Ayishetu and Imoro Fati are two of the dynamic and strong women in the group who I have the privilege of talking to this morning. Imoro is 45 with six children and Abdulai is 52 with 7 children. I could tell from the first moment I saw them that they were hard workers, interested in learning about new agriculture practices and improving their well-being and their children's. They both make a living off the land and, though this has been extremely difficult in recent years with pests, the drought of 2006 and the floods of 2007 and 2008, they are encouraged by the new conservation agriculture techniques they are learning.
Through CARE's LEAD project, one year ago both women were given two pregnant sheep and, six months ago, Imoro was given guinea fowl (a small bird similar to a chicken that provides eggs). With the livestock, the women are more secure in their ability to earn income in the future by selling the offspring of their sheep and the eggs provided by the guinea fowl. The women were very proud to show me their new animals and very grateful to CARE.
Imoro explained, "Last year during the flooding, CARE immediately came to support us [and it has] brought us up again. It was a turning point. This really helped us, and we are very grateful to CARE supporters. Livestock and other help from CARE is helping us to have a better life. What is better than this – to be able to feed yourself?"
If at any point during my time at CARE, I have forgotten why our work is important, this moment brought me to the realization of how much we can and do help provide both urgent assistance and sustainable means to fight poverty.
Imoro and Abdulai are excited about their positions as community-based farmer agents. Not only do they learn new techniques for themselves, but they pass this information to their community, especially women.
At the end of our time together, the women expressed interest in a new kind of support from CARE – the formation of women's groups. They explained that men in their community have support and are able to afford to be part of groups, while it is more difficult for women. Thankfully, CARE will continue to work in their community through agriculture, livestock and, very soon, village savings and loan groups will be formed specifically for women.
Abdulai Ayishetu proudly holds one of the sheep she was given by CARE last year. This sheep is very important to Abdulai as the sheep provides economic and food security in case of a low harvest this year. (Â© Sarah Blizzard/CARE)