Giving Women Farmers in Sudan the Seeds to Grow the Future
Posted on: Monday, June 11, 2012
We recently had the pleasure of hosting our partner Fatima Ahmed, the head of our sister organization in Sudan, Zenab for Women in Development. During her visit, Fatima talked to us about Zenab’s remarkable achievements over the past year—and we’d like to share some of her updates with you!
Zenab empowers women farmers to fight for resources usually reserved for men. Through our partners, MADRE provides them with what they need to grow food for their families. Last year, Zenab provided women farmers with the seeds, tools and training to increase their harvest, which benefitted nearly 3,000 women in 53 communities throughout Eastern Sudan. Its profits were immediately put to use to combat poverty and hunger, drastically improving community health and nutrition.
For example, one of Zenab’s cooperatives used the harvest’s profits to build a well, a vital addition to the community. It provided families with access to crucial supplies of clean water, and spared countless women the grueling, hours-long journey to fetch clean water.
Fatima also informed us that Zenab launched a successful micro-financing loan service, enabling hundreds of women to rent land and sell their crops. Many women are using these profits to send their children to school.
One local woman farmer, Atoma, started with Zenab. As a result of Zenab’s micro-lending and support, as Fatima said, Atoma “no longer needs our help!”
But in spite of Zenab’s many accomplishments, Fatima is always brainstorming ways to move forward. Next year, she aims to introduce new crops, better seeds, improved tools and new production techniques to increase their harvest. She is confident that women will use these profits to pay for their daughters’ educations—breaking the cycle of poverty and increasing their chances for further political, economic and social empowerment.
Sudanese women farmers hold the key to the future of their communities. For centuries, they have harvested and cultivated the food their families need to survive. And now, thanks to Fatima and Zenab’s dedication, they have never had a stronger voice. We thank Fatima for her visit—and can’t wait to hear what news she brings next!