Woman Farmer Foundation Profile
The Woman Farmer Foundation (WFF) is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 2007 with a goal is to improve rural women and youth’s incomes and promote sustainable livelihoods through sustainable agriculture. The Woman Farmer Foundation is registered NGO under the Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organizations in Eswatini, and operates under the Food and Security Consortium and the Gender Consortium and also affiliates with the Coalition of Informal Economy Associations of Eswatini.
The Foundation was established to promote and advance the interests of Eswatini women in the agricultural sector from subsistence to commercial farmer level. When the foundation was established its main focus was strictly on women empowerment especially those based in the rural communities but as of 2017 it started developing projects that are also inclusive of the youth both male and female. Since the inception of the foundation, more than 5000 women, youth and community members have benefitted direct and indirect from the organisation’s various interventions.
What We Do
Our mandate is to empower, equip, promote and advance the interests of Swazi women in the agricultural sector from subsistence level to commercial, especially the women in the rural areas, subsequently increasing food security and mitigating the issues of poverty and hunger in the country. Woman Farmer Foundation has a national focus to its implementation and work in Eswatini. The ultimate desire is to affect and touch communities in all the 55 constituencies of Swaziland through innovative, practical and sustainable developmental strategies. WFF therefore endeavors to empower women through expanding their knowledge base through the dissemination of information by means of workshop trainings at the constituencies or at arranged venues. Our work contributes to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by directly or indirectly working to achieve them, especially that to promote gender equality and empower women (goal number 3) and eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.
Who we are
Woman Farmer Foundation is a registered non-governmental Organization under the act of Eswatini. It was founded by Sonia Paiva in 2010 and it started as a woman farmer competition of the year in 2007. Her passion was to see women growing in the agricultural sector.
Enhance and improve the lives of people in all communities around Swaziland and beyond as well as improving the quality of life and health for all.
Riders Ranch Sidvokodvo along Manzini, Nhlangano road (Pebbles farm 28)
The following are a number of sectors which WFF is compounded under:
Food Security and Agriculture
The organization empowers woman farmers to have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. This we believe also works to improve the social status of the woman in the rural communities. WFF links woman farmers to various markets to enable them to improve their productivity as the demand for agricultural products and by products is never ending.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Diseases related to inadequate (or unsafe) water, sanitation and hygiene pose a huge burden in developing countries as the innovative capacity of the citizenry is compromised and thus the developmental progress. Schools with poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions are high risk environments for children and staff with the intense person-to-person contact and this worsens the susceptibility to environmental health hazards. With this in mind, the Woman Farmer Foundation has been involved in a water development project in the Lowveld area of the country. The Lowveld is characterized by dry spells and scarcity of water in some locations.
Women in African societies are generally sidelined when it comes to issues of community development and also being included in decision making bodies. WFF believes that empowering woman and youth is empowering the whole nation, that because women are also responsible for nurturing the future generation of the country citizens. The inclusion and empowerment of women requires profound changes in the mind and hearts of people and in the various structures of society. It begins with the understanding that the equality of women and men is more than a desired condition to be achieved for the common good, but it is a dimension of women in reality. Agriculture is the backbone of any developing or developed nation and thus is the basis for advancement in science and technology, and also provides for innovation and industriousness within a population. The organization strives for such realizations with its membership. To ensure the inclusion of women in decision making bodies, the organization comprises a technical working committee that is constituted by the woman farmer competition first prize winners, and currently has 9 members (a summation of the winners from inception of the annual competition to date). These women have become mentors in societies and communities at large.
WFF believes that if knowledge is replicated, especially to the young generation, it will surely go a long way in advancing development in the country and also in improving the socio-economic status of the rural youth. The organization will be undertaking a youth empowerment project as a means to ensure that livelihoods are improved not just for women but also the youthful girl and boy. Focus in this project will mostly be with the feminine youth, however with no intent to be prejudice over the males. Focus on the female youth is because of their susceptibility and vulnerability to social ills such as being taken advantage of by lustful older males (a common thing now in most developing countries). A youth farmer of the year competition will also be hosted as part of the initiative to mentor the youth partaking in agribusiness. We aim to establish and host the youth competition annually in an effort to incentivize youth participation in agribusiness and in the value chain of agro-products.
Impact of the Woman Farmer Foundation
The organization has had a positive impact on the lives of more than 3500 of its members over the initial annual competition and as a functional non-governmental organization, as it is now renowned among local communities, local and national government officials, and international donors for its pioneering work in women’s development and upliftment of rural enterprises. A majority of our members have established their businesses and others have expanded leading to improved household incomes, which in-turn means improved life standards and education for their children.
Feedback received about the training and monitoring programs is that there is enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem, that their agricultural activities have mobilized their participation in local community decision-making bodies and also influence their local economies. The personal intrinsic benefits gained by the woman farmers are perhaps the most valuable and sought after by the development practitioners. Self-confidence, self-esteem, motivation, ambition, courage, and self-reliance are all essential Entrepreneurial qualities demonstrated by the Woman Farmer Foundation.