Thursday, March 8, 2012

8th of March : the international women's day

Today is the international women' s day, a day to remind that in African rural areas women are the voiceless pillar of African agriculture. Women do a lot of the field work, carry wood and water over very long distances and take care of children and families. They are the silents guardians of food security. Have a look at this article : article on women in African agriculture

So for today, i wanted to take a minute to remember all these women I met during my field trips, who have shown me what it means to be a woman in the Ethiopian rural context : a small chance to give them a voice...
Visiting our study site in Jeldu, this woman and her kid have looked at me for the whole hour... I wished i could read her thoughts.
A girl fascinated by my gps... will she ever understand what a gps does? Another girl i wished i could convince to go to school and take my place in future.
This is a landless woman who rents land in the dry season and has developed her own irrigation system to plant potatoes. In this way she can earn her own money...
 A very common picture : women carrying water or wood. Women can be such a good replacement for donkeys :-(
Talking to a woman in a very well managed watershed, unfortunately she faded a bit behind her husband, she did not say much except that she wants to have a picture with me...
This woman has lost her husband years ago, and she works very hard on her farm so that she can earn enough money to send her children to school. She owns more land than she can cultivate, and therefore rents out land, which also allows her to get some cash.
 This woman also lost her husband and survives from her plot of land. She relies a lot on labor exchange organization to help her to get things done on her farm.
These women are living in a community that depends partly on food aid. They express they despair of not being able to feed their families (with an average of 8 children).
This woman just gave birth to the child she is carrying on her back. She went to fetch some wood some 3 km away. I carried it for her for a while. When I was carrying it at least 5 men wanted to carry the wood for me, but none of them would have carried it for her...

Can't we do more to give those women a voice?

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