Rural Women's Day celebration in Ghana. Credit : Naana Nkansah Agyekum/ Oxfam

Rural Women's Day celebration in Ghana. Credit : Naana Nkansah Agyekum/ Oxfam

Rural Women: A Classic Definition of Resilience, Tenacity and Adaptability

I have always admired the energy and strength our rural women exhibit on the farm and at home as they go about their daily activities. These rural women are increasingly becoming the backbone of our agriculture sector, in spite of the numerous barriers they face in accessing arable lands, soft loans and most importantly the burden of unpaid care work.

Rural women’s day celebration on every October 15 therefore comes as a key moment for us to share in their joy and struggles. Oxfam and its partners marked this day with women in Asamankese Yaraga N02 and Mbana Yili in the Eastern, Upper East and Northern Regions respectively. It was not just a day to interact and celebrate with them but to launch three pilot projects under Systems Innovation for Women Economic Empowerment (SIWEE) initiative.

Oxfam partnering with Mondelez, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, Shea Network and Tungteiya Shea Women Association will in the next six months work with 30 women from each community on soap, butter and organic fertilizer productions. Using a social lab approach, the SIWEE project created space for women to explore opportunities within the cocoa, shea and sorghum value chains. The entrepreneurial training hopes to bring additional income to the women.

As I interact with some of the women, they showed that grin for being acknowledged globally on such a day. Their needs come endlessly as an attempt to find out their pressing issues resulted in a long list from road construction to supply of farm machinery. Whichever way we see it; I believe there is a lot we can do to ease their stress to empower them economically. What about making roads leading to farmlands more motorable to cart their produce easily. What about adding value to our agricultural produce to avoid the glut that we see when certain foodstuffs are in season. What about making their access to farm machinery and input a bit much easier. The list can go on and on.

But in the face of all these challenges, they still appreciate the very little NGOs and district assemblies do for them.

“I am happy we are being celebrated on this day. I am ready to participate fully in the activity we are launching today. Training is always important for us because with the needed skill, we can do a lot”; Anita Boateng from Adiembra community, Eastern Region          

Having been a granddaughter of a rural farmer, I have always admired the hard work women put in tilling, planting till harvesting of their produce. If you are enjoying a sumptuous meal today, give a pat on the shoulder of a rural woman!