Somewhere along the north eastern corridors of Ghana, in the Chereponi district, women were not given the opportunity to own a land, let alone farm for themselves. They had the sole responsibility of preparing and nurturing vast acres of land belonging to their husbands. The men’s only responsibility was to sow the seeds after the women were done with land preparation. The men then take a long leave of absence from farm duties till it’s time to harvest. They show up for the harvest and after taking up and storing their investment, awaiting a buyer, they offer the women a bag of maize, supposed to cater for their entire household. This renders the women without a source of income and thus totally dependent on the men.
In 2007, Ernest and Nicholas, nucleus farmers in the area, were concerned about the living standard of these women and therefore decided to form a women’s farmer group. Their intention was to afford the women an opportunity to own at least an acre of farm. This is what started the now successful and impactful Kukunanshor and Anoshe Soya Bean Women Farmer Group (KASBWFG).
They were dedicated to economically empowering women to go into farming by encouraging husbands to lease out at least an acre of land to their wives for farming.
Starting with 25 women and an estimated 25 acres of land, Ernest and Nicholas provided the women with tractor services for clearing the land, training programs and workshops to acquire knowledge. They also supported them with subsidized seeds and other inputs. Choosing soya bean as a major crop by the famer group was strategic because of its economic and nutritional value and its natural preservation tendencies.
Five years down the line, the impact has been so great and the women farmer group has grown from 25 women to 2000 women in 34 communities in the Chereponi district. It has given the women an opportunity to provide their children with healthy diet whilst generating revenue which caters for school fees and other school reading materials. This has induced a positive behavior change among the men towards women and has empowered the women.
The men now appreciate the efforts and value the women play in the community and family.
Through support from donors like USAID/ADVANCE, KASBWFG, now boast of 5 tractors which now serves over 196 villages.
Today, as a result of the efforts of Nicholas and Ernest, women are now economically empowered all year round with an added advantage of a micro credit scheme from revenue generated by the services they render to the women. The women can now indulge in other trades during the dry season whilst waiting for a new farming season to begin. Their illiteracy, as far as basic reading and writing is concern, has also been improved through an adult educational activity being organized for them occasionally. Today, the over 2000 women can read books about farming that have been translated into their dialect.
Additionally, with their efforts, they are able to invite NGO’S and other organisations to hold workshops and training programs with the women on processing of soya bean into other food products for consumption. With the intervention of KASBWFG, the women in Chereponi are set to be able to support their husbands cater for the wellbeing of the family.
Today, Kukunanshor and Anoshe Soya Bean Women Farmer Group looks forward to expanding by acquiring more machines, diversifying in other crops, investing more into the micro credit and creating an education endowment fund for brilliant children of the women so they can pursue tertiary education. With the growth of Kukunanshor and Anoshe Soya Bean Women Farmer Group, poverty is eventually becoming a thing of the past as the standard of living in most families has increased.