November 25th marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Women are often victims of physical and sexual violence and this is especially the case for women in developing countries. Dorcas aims to improve the position of women in their societies through several projects in Eastern Europe and Africa.
One of these projects is the very successful Farmer Field School, an agricultural project in rural Egypt. Egyptian women meet weekly and together, they have to opportunity to learn about agriculture practices. The women have access to a small piece of land of their own where they can practice what they are learning. Most people only use their land to grow some of their own food. By increasing production, women in this project are able to earn income on their fields on top of providing for their own families.
The training is a huge success. Women learn about agriculture and about personal development. Dorcas employee Peter visited the project after having witnessed its initiation three years ago. The change he has seen these women’s lives is profound. He says ‘the first time I saw them, they barely spoke with each other. Many women just stared at the ground. Now that I visited them again, to assess the results of the project, most women where so enthusiastic that we had to slow them down. They really were eager to share the difference the project has made in their lives and the lives of their families. Normally women in Egypt don’t have a lot of influence but because of the results they yield, others in the community approach them and ask for their advice’.
Because the Farmer Field School is doing so well, a follow-up programme, the Farmer Business School, has now started. This training emphasises topics such as sales and understanding the market. Peter shares: ‘by continuing this project, we want to assure that the impact will remain after the women have completed the project. This way the women can flourish even more’.
28 November 2016