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The WIFE Project: The Path to Women's Socio-economic Empowerment through Climate-Smart Agriculture

Introduction to the WIFE Project and its mission to reduce women's level of poverty via socio-economic empowerment and gender-sensitive climate-smart agriculture
by

Poyi Liu

on 6 February 2014

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Transcript of The WIFE Project: The Path to Women's Socio-economic Empowerment through Climate-Smart Agriculture

The WIFE Project: The Path to Women's Socio-economic Empowerment through Climate-Smart Agriculture
Introduction
The Women's Initiative for Education & Empowerment (WIFE) Project was initiated in 2011 by Global Unification, The Gambia.

The project seeks to use innovative community-development and gender-sensitive climate-smart agricultural techniques to build the capacity of local women in the Gambia.

We seek to identify and use the best practices to address the continued challenges of poverty, social exclusion, and gender- and family-based violence.
The WIFE Project Pilot in Dongoroba Village
The WIFE Project Team has piloted the initiative in Dongoroba Village, Jarra East District, Lower River Region. The pilot addresses:

Lack of education of women in the community
Poverty
Traditional gender role prescribed to women
Harmful traditional practices/ FGC/ Early Marriages
Land tenure system that does not allow women to own land
Low level of participation in decision-making and leadership role
Exploitation by middlemen who capitalise on poverty of these women
Climate-Smart Agriculture and Sustainable Development
Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is very location specific and knowledge intensive.

It integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. According to the FAO (2010), it comprises three pillars:

The sustainable increase in agricultural productivity and incomes;
The adaptation and built resilience to climate change;
The reduction and/or removal of greenhouse gasses emissions, where possible
Gender Impact
To ensure the socioeconomic empowerment of women and the closing of gender gap in agriculture, the WIFE Project has incorporated a gender framework to its climate-smart agricultural practice. This is what makes it 'gender sensitive'.

The gender impact we are striving for involves safeguarding women's access to and control of resources, cementing their central role in agriculture, maintaining their food security and livelihoods, and promoting their access to education, knowledge, networks, and available markets.
Po-Yi Liu
Communication Officer
| The WIFE Project
The Gambia

Linking Knowledge with Actions to Achieve Real Impact
The WIFE Project involves participatory action research, shared leadership, social and collaborative learning, and iterative processes. Through these elements, we can shape existing knowledge and expand upon best practices.
Local Partnerships and International Collaborations
In implementing the WIFE Project, we also work closely with the Women Cooperative Society of Dongoroba Village (Women Kaffoo) and the Dongoroba Village Community Based Organisation (DCBO).

It's all from the bottom up.
What's Next?
The WIFE Project will continue to be funded through 1%Club, an online crowdfunding organisation based in the Netherlands. We are looking forward to collaborating with 1%Club and Accenture on their 1% Student Battle, where we get to co-create solutions with business and economics students.

We are also seeking to expand our team by recruiting the right talent. The women in Dongoroba Village need not only financial but also technical assistance with their agricultural management and preserved food products.


What's Needed?
More varieties of good seeds for each planting season
Proper gardening tools and materials
Two wells to be constructed for easier access to water
Agricultural pest & disease management training and plan
Storage facility for produce
Solar-powered irrigation system
Well-designed business & marketing plan
A much needed logistic strategy plan
Music by Chris Zabriskie
"Cylinder Nine"

http://chriszabriskie.com/
And all of these socio-economic issues can be addressed through
Gender-Sensitive
Climate-Smart
Agriculture
"But how?" you might ask
300 women in Dongoroba Village came together and rebuilt a once abandoned community garden.
And we help train them in garden management, entrepreneurship, and climate-smart strategies
As well, provide them with seeds, garden tools, and resources needed to
jump-start their agribusiness
Most importantly,
we try to connect them to markets and networks
and help them transition into becoming decision-makers and leaders at village level
Hopefully someday, at the national level too
What used to be a community garden is now an agricultural plot owned by these 300 women
It took a long time for many men in the village to accept that their wives are not only working to earn a living
The men are gradually seeing the benefits of having women participate in society and the economy
They challenged the existing land tenure system, which till this day, excludes women from land ownership and inheritance
Photography by
Laura Dem and Sutura Sowe
Project Design by
Ebrima Dem, The WIFE Team, and the women of Dongoroba Village
I grew up in a community where women had minimal access to the most basic form of education and are denied land ownership rights. Through this project we’re turning these same women into entrepreneurs.


Ebrima Dem, Project Manager
http://onepercentclub.com/en/#!/projects/empowering-women-and-reducing-poverty-level-with-climate-smart-agriculture-the-gambia
... but also owning land.
The size of the plot grew, as the confidence in these women grew.
Let's co-create together
Full transcript