Advancing gender equality through technology
At Canadian Feed The Children, we can see how the communities we work in are moving towards achieving gender equality and transforming the lives of smallholder farmers - especially women. The CLIMATE project has not only helped women farmers leverage technology to increase their yields and income, it has also transformed community attitudes towards women's economic participation - men included.
Women like Madam Lardi and Madam Ayisha in Ghana are using digital technology to transform the future not just for themselves, but for their children, families and their entire communities. Read on to learn more.
Climate change is making farming hard for women in northern Ghana
In Ghana, climate change is posing an increasing threat to food security, with 12.3% of the Ghanaian population experiencing severe food insecurity (GSS QR, August 2022).
This situation is worse in northern Ghana, with the average food insecurity rate at 25%. In rural communities, women form about 52% of the agricultural labour force yet, face more severe constrictions than men in terms of control of productive resources and access to climate resilience information and adaptive skills.
The CLIMATE Project helps farmers - especially women - leverage digital technology
Through the CLIMATE Project, funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and CFTC's donors, women smallholder farmers are now leveraging digital technology to increase their resilience and adaptive capacities to climate change.
CLIMATE Project impact:
- 7 Agromet Automatic Weather Stations were installed in key locations in northern Ghana to measure data like temperature, rain, air humidity and plant wetness - essential knowledge to help farmers manage their crops.
- 241 farmers trained to become Dissemination Agents. Their role is to share sustainable farming information and weather technology access with their local farming communities
- Farmers received access to e-platforms to get critical daily weather updates from the Ghana Meteorological Agency, which refresh every six hours. This is important to help farmers protect their crops when weather becomes erratic or suddenly severe. For those without access, trained agricultural agents gather the reports and visit farmers daily to pass on the crucial information.
- Community-level communication channels and radio stations are being used to provide agriculture education campaigns and information to farmers and families on how to adapt farming practices to the increasing threat of climate change.
Donor support helped install 7 Agromet Automatic Weather Stations
These stations help farmers across northern Ghana access critical and timely weather updates to protect their farms against erratic weather caused by climate change. We thank the African Development Bank and all our CFTC donors for helping make this possible.
Madam Lardi can expand her rice farm thanks to digital weather updates
Madam Lardi is a rice farmer who says that the weather updates she receives thanks to the CLIMATE project have transformed her farm - and her family's food security. She told us:
“With the weather information, I am now able to plan and make better decisions on the type of crops to plant and the planting time so that the crops can mature before the cessation of rains. This encouraged me to go into rice farming.
My rice farm is nice because I had adequate information. I am sure of a good harvest and food security for my household this year.
I am encouraged to expand my rice farm size in the next season because I have the right farming information that gives me the goodwill to do more! Weather information has indeed been made available and farming has become more engaging.”
"With the weather information, I am now able to make better decisions on the type of crops to plant and the planting time. I am sure of a good harvest and food security for my household this year."
The CLIMATE project is bridging gender gaps
Thanks to new access to weather forecast and farming advisories, smallholder women farmers are making better informed farming decisions and increasing crop yields. But the transformation does not end there.
The project also is helping to bridge gender gaps in agriculture. More women are also venturing into rice and maize farming, which was previously dominated by men.
Madam Ayisha, another CLIMATE participant, says that using digital agriculture technology has opened up new farming possibilities.
"We were never aware that dry season farming [could] thrive on our land. It was said in the past that our land had some soil-borne disease and that any crop will fail in the dry season.
But there has been a breakthrough for us due to e-agricultural extension services.
Women now have vegetable gardens. We have enough vegetables to prepare nutritious meals for our children and to sell some to earn an additional income.
I do not struggle to provide educational supplies for my children in school and take care of myself too. I feel I am becoming more productive and economically empowered and my voice is heard in the household and community."
"I feel I am becoming more productive and economically empowered, and my voice is heard in the household and community more than before."
Adapting digital agriculture technology to other major farming projects
Adapting simple, widely used digital technologies to climate-adaptive farming can be just as transformative as a sophisticated Agromet weather station.
Learning from the experience of the CLIMATE Project, CFTC is joining with our partners to incorporate e-agriculture in the SHINE Project, which supports female agribusiness development in Ghana and Ethiopia.
In this case, the innovation is simple: 48 farmers and Agricultural Extension Agents created a WhatsApp group where members are sharing tips on improving vegetable production.
The SHINE project is funded by the Government of Canada along with donations from CFTC supporters, and is helping to boost food security and gender equality for over 560,000 community members in Ethiopia and Ghana.
Thank you for supporting women's access to digital agriculture technology through your gifts
Donor support like yours has been essential to helping women farmers farm effectively and sustainably in the face of climate change. We'd like to thank our funder AfDB, our local partners RAINS, TAI, TUDRIDEP, GMet, SARI and Farm Radio International, and all our family of donors for making this possible.
Thank you for feeding and nourishing children who need it most through your gifts!
Listen to our podcast First Comes Food, where we go on a journey through Indigenous food forests in Saskatchewan, farming communities in African countries and early childhood community programs in Bolivia to meet the people who are growing food security for everyone. Their stories may surprise you.
First Comes Food is now streaming on our website and wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.