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CAMFED is delighted to announce the launch of our first large-scale climate-smart demonstration farm in Chinsali, Zambia. The farm was opened last month by Senior Chief Nkula, who has gifted 304 hectares of land across two plots to our young women leaders, in recognition of their efforts and potential as agricultural entrepreneurs. This exciting venture will strengthen CAMFED’s award-winning climate-smart Agriculture Guide program — currently active in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia — empowering more CAMFED Association members to create and grow sustainable farms that benefit entire rural communities.

“I would like you to use this land to sustain and support girls and youth. It has a perennial stream where young women can do fish farming and grow crops all year round. You can build a training center for young women and all the youth to learn agriculture and other skills.” - Senior Chief Nkula upon gifting the land

This project is being spearheaded by members of our CAMFED Association of women leaders educated with CAMFED support, in close collaboration with community stakeholders. Ahead of the launch, young women met with the CAMFED Community Development Committee, traditional leaders, including Senior Chief Nkula, and other community members to set out plans and establish a Resource Team for the farm.

We have also received endorsement from the Dean at the nearby Kapasa Makasa Agricultural University and established dialog with district heads of the Ministries of Agriculture; Fisheries and Livestock; Youth; Community Development; and Health. These relationships are already helping in the preparatory stages — the university is assisting with soil testing and setting up a water reticulation system, and the Ministry of Agriculture helping with irrigation and water furrows.

“The support from Senior Chief Nkula, community members, relevant ministries, and Kapasa Makasa Agricultural University speaks volumes about the faith our partners have in young women’s leadership in climate-smart agriculture. Together we can improve food security and nourish school communities, while protecting and respecting our precious resources.” - Dorothy Kasanda, National Director, CAMFED Zambia

The first phase of activity will include training 40 CAMFED Association Agriculture Guides, who will in turn cascade their knowledge to hundreds more rural residents, mostly young women. The Guides will participate in sessions on beekeeping, crop farming, poultry farming, and fish farming amongst other specialist areas. Six months into the project, the young women will be able to access grants enabling them to purchase agricultural inputs including seeds, livestock, and equipment, to launch their own businesses.

This work will be overseen by experienced CAMFED Association agriculture experts like Annie, who was one of 14 pioneering young women supported by CAMFED to attend a tailored 6-week course in Sustainable Agricultural Systems at EARTH University, Costa Rica, in 2014. Since then she has become widely renowned in Chinsali for her knowledge of climate-smart farming. She supports small-scale farmers to grow drought-resistant grains such as millet, to mix grains with vegetables and legumes to conserve water, and to construct fuel-efficient stoves.

Climate-smart agriculture expert Annie with her maize harvest.

Climate-smart agriculture expert Annie will help train new CAMFED Association Agriculture Guides in Zambia. (Photo: CAMFED/Patrick Hayes)

By showcasing techniques like these, and by developing sustainable water management and solar power systems, CAMFED’s vision is to build a regional hub of best practice in climate-smart agriculture. Not only will this provide increased crop security and enable future expansion, but it will bring improved prosperity and nutrition to communities and families, meaning that together we can support more children to learn and thrive in education.

The launch of the demonstration farm comes less than a year after CAMFED was recognized with a UN Global Climate Action Award in the ‘Women for Results’ category. Recipients of the award represent some of the most practical, scalable and replicable examples of what people, businesses, governments and industries are doing to tackle climate change.

Learn more about why gender equality is at the core of effective climate action