A New Kind of Partnership to Better Serve Women Farmers

June 20, 2022

Around the world, women farmers play a disproportionate role in growing food for their families and communities. They are the ones looking out for local food security, and their work creates the backbone of local economies. Women also play a lead role in preserving seed biodiversity and caring for their ecosystems, thanks to their careful tending of their seeds and land. 

Mohamed Mapalala, from our partner organization PELUM, gathers baseline data from Rural Women Cultivating Change participants from Mamire, in the Manyara region of Tanzania. Photo credit: Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM)

With your support, SeedChange has been supporting women farmers around the world for decades already. Our focus has long been to help them defend their rights and reduce the barriers they face as farmers, by seeking equal access to land, credit, and training in the ecological farming practices that help them most. 

But women farmers also face barriers beyond the farm. Like the cultural norms that prevent little girls from reaching their full human potential. Or the risk of violence that women and girls face, at home and in the community, simply for being women.

In 2021, you helped us facilitate a cutting-edge new program called Rural Women Cultivating Change

This new 6-year program will support 30,000 farmers of all genders in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia. The goal: empower women to tackle all of the barriers they face, both on-farm and off-farm.

What’s exciting about this project is that for the first time, we paired local organizations with expertise in women’s empowerment with other local organizations with expertise in agroecology and rural economic development. Together, our 8 new partners are working to merge their expertise and offer better support for women farmers as they work to cope with climate change, defend their rights, and change the cultural norms that hold them back.  

In the program’s first year, our partners interviewed 700 farmers to ask them about their needs, their concerns and their ideas for this program. This careful ground work is how our partners will shape projects that truly support local aspirations and address women’s most pressing priorities.  

Global Affairs Canada is the key funder of Rural Women Cultivating Change, but it’s your donations that made it possible for us to invest our time in facilitating this exciting new program, and to cover SeedChange’s financial contribution to the work. In other words, we couldn’t have done any of this without you. 

Thank you for your powerful support for women farmers!