This is the fourth in a five-part series of my visit with the Ecumenical Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development and the projects they support in southern Ghana.
Danielle Nierenberg with members of the Abooman Women's Group in Ghana. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)
The Abooman Women’s Group in southern Ghana, “started off as a mixed group,” of women and men, says Fatima Addy, the Group’s leader. But today the group consists mainly of women working together to help one another. And says Fatima, “the women’s group performs better than the men’s group” by getting higher incomes from their products, especially in the off season.
The Abooman women have worked with the Ecumenical Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (ECASARD) and Heifer International to learn how to raise and care for dairy cows, make yoghurt, and pasteurize for milk for sale to the local community and for sale to schools. Some of the women also raise bees.
“Change is coming gradually,” says Fatima, “and it takes time to build up where you can safely say you can earn an income.” And while the market for milk products in the community is growing, the women still have some challenges. They talked about the need for a better storage and processing facility and a freezer, as well better storage for the feed for their cows.
Fatima says that they’re “putting all our effort into making the groups sustainable” to not only find ways to improve their production and incomes, but also help them face the “challenges they face from men trying to prove us wrong.” Credit, for example, has been for men, not to women. As the women become better organize, however, they’re becoming more successful farmers and business women.
Stay tuned for more about ECASARD’s work with grasscutter and rabbit farmers.