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news | March 10, 2016 | Chad |

Empowering women farmers in Chad: Mariam’s story

@ACTED Chad / 2016 - Training of IGA's members to turn local products into new meals

Mariam, a 40-year-old woman farmer, lives in Chorane and runs a household thanks to her cereal production and few goats. It used to be enough to meet her daily needs. However, for about ten years, home production is no longer enough for her, as for many other women farmers in Chad.

Find alternatives in a changing environment

Indeed, for the past ten years, her family’s plot yield has decreased due to the irregularity of rainfalls and multiplication of pests that have ravaged her crops. As a result, she has been struggling to feed her family and earning some money by selling the leftovers of her production. In order to secure some food, her husband has had to leave their household for 6 months every year to harvest in regions less affected by regular drought. He has been paid in kind in exchange for his work, and once the harvest is over, he can return to their village with a couple of bags of cereals to feed his family until the next harvest.

"Before, I was able to secure life-stock in case of droughts", Mariam said, "However this emergency solution has become a routine and my life-stocks are now empty".

Train women famers to gain more independence, resilience and food security

Because many women have difficulties facing the increasingly longer leaning period and have to rely on food loans, ACTED started to develop activities to strengthen women’s own living means by encouraging the creation of income generating activities. Women like Mariam are trained to turn local products into new meals such as donuts, dried meat or fruit juices to sale them on weekly local markets. ACTED also organized trainings in marketing technics and bookkeeping to enable them to be more independent and secure daily meals in the long term.

"Thanks to ACTED, I can now ensure my family eats three times a day”, Mariam says.

The organization of women in groups has allowed women to cooperate to face difficulties. Those strategies are a very positive sign to demonstrate growing resilience in this changing environment.

Since 2014, ACTED has supported 40 women’s organizations in Oum Hadjer and Ngouri, whose approximately 800 members are vulnerable women affected by the hunger gap and food and nutritional crisis in Sahel.