Empowering rural women farmers in Kenya

Rural women farmers in Kenya often do not have access to land, finance or training. Gender disparities in society additionally lead to women not receiving the full proceeds of their hard work. The climate crisis worsens the severity and frequency of droughts and floods in Kenya and East Africa, as well as variations in temperature and rainfall, which directly impacts the livelihoods of rural communities.

The Rural Women Cultivating Change (RWCC) program aims to address these issues by providing training in agro-ecology and seed diversity to improve the livelihoods and resilience of rural women.

Improving rural women’s incomes through resilient agricultural practices

The program emphasizes the importance of seed diversity and preservation through initiatives like the Seed Savers Network. This network conserves local, native, and traditional seeds, promoting a more balanced diet and healthier soils. Additionally, farmer-to-farmer extension models and grassroots organizations like GROOTS Kenya support women farmers to transition from monoculture farming to diverse crop cultivation and organic farming practices, enhancing food security and income generation.

Alleviating poverty and increasing women’s resilience to climate change

Farming knowledge and techniques, such as efficiently collecting and utilizing rain water and the importance of crop diversity, taught to the women can also help with issues such as climate change.  They have been able to revitalize land that was previously considered unusable by the community, enabling it to be restored back to productivity. By working on the water systems, they have been able to plant diverse trees in the land. The local community and farmers are impressed with the learning from the farm.

Kennedy Mugochi, Regional Director East Africa explains: “The program connects our work on gender equality and climate justice. We reach out to women and look at how we can improve their lives […] so at the end of the day their livelihoods are improved.”

Women are capable of influencing immense change for themselves, their families, and communities when they come together and learn from each other. Watch the short documentary now to learn about the RWCC program and the challenges faced by women in rural farming communities in Kenya.