As part of the one-year training on gender inequality in farming and agribusinesses, our two participants, Peninah Kyomuhendo and Sylvia Byaruhanga, had a face-to-face coaching in their village on March 12th. Our local project manager, Julie Matovu, was also present to help facilitate, translate and support the implementation of the GVC (Gender Value Chain) actions. The coach, Pam Reynell, wanted to know more about Empowered Voices (EV), their background and their thoughts on the key issues that keep women behind. The meeting was held in the EV office.
These are some of the issues that came up during the discussion:
- A woman has to work on the home farm to please the husband so that she can be allowed to work on her own hired land.
- Any food crop with commercial value is under the control of the man. The woman can only harvest the poor looking/ underdeveloped banana bunches, scantly cassava plants and some few beans strictly for home use.
- The woman ploughs the fields with or without the help of the husband in the morning, does the home chores and then work in her hired field in the evening.
- It is becoming more and more common for women to cater for domestic needs, school fees, and clothing for their children even when they are not widowed so it is not so clear what most men use their income for.
When Pam asked them about what kind of support they envisaged they need to be successfull on this one-year training, they answered:
- We need resources, for instance if we could get some land for group farming for the women, say 3 acres, this could be a very good source of empowerment since some women still do not have access to land. This will be a strategic way to start addressing the problem of access and control of land by women. It will also create a platform for women to work together, talk about their challenges etc.
- Build strong leadership.
- Learn specific skills to run the project/capacity building e.g. bookkeeping, project planning etc to ensure that the leaders can handle scaling up and replication of projects.
The next meeting will be a learning event for the entire EV team held in April. We're looking forward to it!