We Are the Solution (WAS)--Building a Rural Women’s Movement for Food Sovereignty, Agroecology, and Gender Justice in West Africa
Lead Organization: Fahamu Africa
Partner Organizations: Réseau d’appui à la citoyenneté des femmes rurales d’Afrique de l’ouest et du Tchad (RESACIFROAT); Federation Nationale des Organisations Paysannes (FENOP); Association Guinéenne pour la Sécurité et la Souveraineté Alimentaire - Guinean Association for Security and Food Sovereignty (AGUISSA); Association Guinéenne pour l’Allègement des Charges Féminines (AGACFEM); Association Malienne pour la Sécurité et la Souveraineté Alimentaire (AMASSA); Rural Woman Farmers Association of Ghana (RUWFAG); Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD); Abono Organic Farming Projects (ABOFAP); Association des Jeunes Agriculteurs de la Casamance (AJAC Lukaal); Association des Organisations Professionnelles Paysannes (AOPP); Coordination des Associations et ONG Féminines du Mali (CAFO); Union des Groupements Paysans de Mékhé (UGPM); Fédération KAFO Guinée; and Women’s Group AKESE, part of the Ecumenical Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (ECASARD).
Location(s): Casamance, Thiès, Dakar and Fatick in Sénégal; Kankan and Kissoudougou in Guinea; Bobo Dioulasso, Ouagadougou and Kaya in Burkina Faso; Bamako, Ségou and Sikasso in Mali; Accra, Upper West and Techiman in Ghana; and Djalicounda, Oio region in Guinea Bissau.
Award: $100,000 over 12 months (2016-2017)
This project strengthens the rural women’s movement through building a widespread base of leaders and members to organize across five West African countries. The collaboration will promote learning exchanges to share lessons about how to expand a growing agroecology among rural women’s organizations in the region and advocate for government policies that will improve the environment, family farming and women’s status across the region.
- Advocate for policies which promote agroecology and women farmers;
- Promote peasant seeds and denounce regional seed laws that allow genetically modified organisms (GMOs);
- Finalize the process of making “We Are the Solution (WAS)” an autonomous movement; and
- Integrate WAS in continental alliances and platforms fighting for food sovereignty in Africa.
Challenges that the Collaborative faced(s)
- Language divide (French and English speakers), which could be a hindrance to strengthening WAS including better communication among WAS members;
- Weak management of national networks.
- The collaborative is more and more seen as a reference group in terms of dynamism, skills and approach to agroecology;
- In Senegal, the national coordinator for WAS was invited at the West Africa Democracy Radio to give WAS’s position on GMOs and denounce the Senegalese government’s decision to adopt them (GMOs);
- In Ghana, thanks to their contribution to the agroecology national advocacy, WAS members have been among first beneficiaries of organic fertilisers donated by the government in 2016;
- In Guinea, because of the community radio training workshop, a number of WAS members have been denouncing on air the impact of chemical fertilisers on soils to the extent that the agriculture minister said “the work you are doing is against the national agricultural program, you should stop your women”.
During the assessment of the training session in Techiman, Ghana a journalist said “I didn’t know women farmers have all those skills in agriculture. Now I won’t go to the officials of the ministry of agriculture to look for resource persons and pay them for public programmes. Because of We Are the Solution, I can easily get resource persons among communities and for free. Let’s just build their communication capacities”.