Women’s Group of Bong County, Liberia

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)?

They say “teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime,” but 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 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. While women have an important and ever-increasing role in rural economies throughout Africa, most agricultural support and extension services are directed at programs for men.

In Liberia, the area hardest hit by Ebola, women who received training and seeds provided by SPI grew vegetables in their kitchen gardens for their families and their communities. When quarantines prevented food and other resources from coming into the area during the outbreak, most program recipients and their families did not go hungry because there were so many women growing their own food.

In an ongoing effort to keep women engaged in gardening, one of Seed Programs International’s long-time partners, Church Aid, hired two female extension trainers as part of a Women’s Empowerment Program. Female agricultural extension agents bring a unique perspective and temperament to the work that helps reach women who might not seek these resources otherwise. Their approach, background, knowledge, commitment, and ability to reach female program participants and keep them engaged surpassed all expectations.

Program Director Miatta Sirleaf shared, “Hiring women to work in the field as agricultural extension trainers has encouraged more women to become extension trainers in the future.” This has been an important step toward not only providing support services to women, but also for providing training to women who will pass it on.

Your support helps us balance access to resources for women and helps to provide women with learning that lasts a lifetime. Thank you!

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