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International Women's Day 2021: we choose to challenge

05 March 2021

International Women's Day 2021: we choose to challenge

Monday 8 March marks International Women’s Day (IWD), a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

The theme of the IWD 2021 campaign is #ChooseToChallenge.

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

People all over the world are showing they commit to choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality by raising their hands high to show they're in.

Here, Farm Africa’s three female Country Directors tell us why they choose to challenge gender bias and inequality, and how projects in the programmes they lead are working to empower women: 

Ethiopia: Shewit Emmanuel, Country Director

Shewit Emmanuel, Country Director, Farm Africa Ethiopia“Many mothers tell us their first priority is their children. When they earn money, they invest it in their children’s education or feeding their families better. By empowering women, we are also empowering the next generation. I choose to challenge the status quo. I choose to help empower women economically.

“Through our Livestock for Livelihoods project, funded by UK aid from the UK government and Jersey Overseas Aid, Farm Africa is supporting women to set up their own goat-rearing enterprises.

“For many women taking part in the project, the goats they receive from Farm Africa are the first property they have ever owned. The income they make from their goat rearing enterprises is the first money they’ve ever earned in their own right.”

Dawunda holding a goat in Ethiopia.

Tanzania: Mary Batterman, Country Director

Mary Batterman, Country Director, Farm Africa Tanzania“I choose to challenge the barriers that are holding rural women back from thriving.

“The potential of female smallholder farmers across Tanzania is being thwarted by a lack of training in agricultural skills, inadequate access to markets and under-representation in farming cooperatives.

“Farm Africa has embarked on a new project in partnership with UN Women focused on economically empowering women working in the sunflower sector in the Singida and Shinyanga Regions.

“The project will give women the support they need to apply good agricultural practices and increase their yields. We’ll help women work collectively to market their produce.

“Despite accounting for 68% of the workforce in the Tanzanian sunflower sector, women currently only represent 17% of members in these cooperatives. We are working to change this. We’ll help women not only join cooperatives, but fulfil leadership roles within them. We’re proud to help give female sunflower farmers a brighter future.”

A female sunflower farmer in Tanzania.

Uganda: Petronella Halwiindi, Country Director

Petronella Halwiindi, Country Director, Farm Africa Uganda“Closing the gender gap in agriculture could lift 100-150 million people out of hunger and poverty. Women contribute over 70% labour in agriculture and yet they receive a small fraction of productive assets compared to men. I choose to challenge the social, cultural, political and economic divide that is holding back our progress.”

“With support from UK aid from the UK government, Farm Africa is helping female farmers in Kanungu in western Uganda gain access to the land they need to grow coffee on, set up savings associations so they have access to finance to invest in developing their businesses, and take on leadership roles within their local coffee cooperatives.

“With our support, women in Kanungu are moving from solely providing menial labour harvesting coffee to assuming positions of responsibility, actively engaged in adding value to coffee, marketing it and securing good prices from the international speciality coffee market.”

Grace Arineitwe, a coffee farmer from Kanungu, Uganda

Will you #ChooseToChallenge on #IWD2021? If you choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality, you can show your support by posting your own photo on social media with your hand held high. Tag @FarmAfrica on Twitter or @farm_africa on Instagram to show us your photos.

Empowering women across eastern Africa Empowering women across eastern Africa

Will you also choose to challenge by showing your support today? Donate now and support women to grow brighter futures this International Women's Day.

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