Growing Activism – Women taking the lead on climate action and food security in rural Zambia - Video Transcript
Voiceover Climate change is already damaging the food security of people in rural Africa.
Janet Namutowe, Chinsali Farm-trained Agriculture Guide We are experiencing water shortages. In the area where we live, we receive inadequate rain. This is posing a challenge to our water sources. We draw water from shallow wells. The wells dry up because of low rainfall. We are experiencing food shortages because the harvest is lower than what is expected.
Voiceover As major producers of food, women are disproportionately impacted by climate related weather shocks.
Janet Namutowe, Chinsali Farm-trained Agriculture Guide The food is not enough at household level. Children are not getting enough food. This is leading to nutrition deficiency diseases.
Voiceover 25 million people are already being displaced by climate events yearly. The World Health Organization predicts climate change will kill 250,000 people every year between 2030 and 2050. The majority of those at risk are in Africa, in the poorest communities, like those where CAMFED operates. Within these communities, girls are often the most vulnerable to climate change impacts.
Martin Mwamba, Government Officer, Ministry of Agriculture When we have these dry streams, you know, women walk longer distances and as such, they feel it. So if you give them leadership, they should be able to actually disseminate that because they understand it. Women are more influential than men.
Voiceover To take action against this crisis, in 2013 CAMFED launched the UN Global Climate Action Award winning Agriculture Guide program.
Naomi Chanda, National Chairperson, CAMFED Association Zambia I chose to learn about agriculture, because agriculture is the backbone of our economy system, whereby it provides food supplies to every human being.
Voiceover The Agriculture Guide program teaches young women from marginalized farming communities to become champions of sustainable agriculture. Guides improve the productivity and sustainability of their own farms, as well as teaching other women practical, affordable, climate-smart farming techniques. Impressed by the effect the program was having, District Education Board Secretary Tesho Pardon resolved to see what he could do to support it.
Tesho Pardon, District Education Board Secretary, Chinsali District I decided to help CAMFED and the CAMFED Association in this project because of the passion that I developed for CAMFED. And they have the passion to help the vulnerable children, especially the girls. We organized with my teams the community meetings. Finally, we went to see the chief. I should not fail to mention the late Chief Nkula. He was very, very cardinal. He understood the purpose and joined hands with CAMFED and with our team at district level.
Voiceover In 2019, Chief Nkula gifted the CAMFED Association 254 hectares of land in Chinsali, Machinga Province, Zambia. They aim to create a Climate-smart demonstration farm that could springboard the guide’s reach.
Tesho Pardon, District Education Board Secretary, Chinsali District The Chinsali Farm is important because apart from just letting the CAMFED Association members grow what they want, it is a demonstration farm. It is a center where others should be able to learn, discuss, and come up with interventions to do climate-smart farming. It is not just regional, it is actually for our whole nation. We are open to the whole country.
Clarah, CAMFED Association and Chinsali Farm Volunteer I volunteered to work at the Chinsali Farm. Firstly, I wanted to be part and parcel of it. It is here in Chinsali and I’m a CAMA [CAMFED Association] member here. So since I’ve already a passion about agriculture, I know that there’s a lot of things that are that are going to happen in that site.
Voiceover Chinsali has been built as a laboratory where skilled young women agriculturalists can trial climate-smart farming techniques, and female farmers can learn how to employ those that work best. The fields are planted using a variety of innovative techniques to protect and improve yields in extreme weather. It is a place where experimentation can take place without the risk that failure will mean food scarcity.
Naomi Chanda, National Chairperson, CAMFED Association Zambia The most important thing that I’ve learned about smart agriculture is that I’ve learned water management. I’ve also learned about when to plant different types of crops. If there is drought, I know the suitable seeds to use.
Priscilla, Chinsali Farm-trained Agriculture Guide I’ve learned a lot about climate-smart agriculture. I’ve learned about crop management, animal husbandry and water management and tree planting. The main [farming] system is the cutting down of trees and it has affected our land. So we’re encouraging more farmers to start planting trees in their fields.
Voiceover The Guides trained at Chinsali Farm share their knowledge directly with other women, who in turn pass it on themselves. The model allows life changing information to quickly ripple out to thousands of people. An Agriculture Guide project in Zimbabwe saw 320 guides reach more than 40,000 members of the Agriculture Community.
Martin Mwamba, Government Officer, Ministry of Agriculture Trained Agricultural Guide is so amazing. They are actually needed so much in the community.
Janet Namutowe, Chinsali Farm-trained Agriculture Guide As the CAMFED Association, the step we have taken on climate-smart agriculture is to educate people on the changes we are observing is the presentation of weather patterns due to climate change.
Naomi Chanda, National Chairperson, CAMFED Association Zambia We always engage the community whereby we go to the headman or the head woman of that community. We want to teach about climate-smart agriculture. So we work together with community leaders. That’s how we engage them.
Petronellah, Chinsali Farm-trained Agriculture Guide I’m helping my fellow farmers in my community about this productivity in terms of teaching them type of seed to plant because of the changes of weather patterns. I do this practically. I help them practically. Sometimes we can go at the farm or the gardens so that we show them how to plant, how to reserve water.
Janet Namutowe, Chinsali Farm-trained Agriculture Guide I am confident that people living in villages that surround this farm will have a chance to get information from our operations when we invite them to work with us at this farm. We will guide them on how to water the crops, when to fertilize the soil, aerate the soil and weed the crops. And we guide them on what to do, they will learn and practice the same at their own farms. The community will keep developing, the people will not be the same, there will be no hunger. The community will grow positively through this farm.
Voiceover Chinsali Farm opened its doors as a training center in mid-2022 and already this early in its life, hundreds of marginalized women are benefiting from its facilities. It is supporting women’s leadership in climate-smart agriculture to reshape communities and shift ideas of women’s role in agriculture and society.
Alice, Chinali Farm-trained Agriculture Guide What I’m proud of in my role as an Agriculture Guide is that I can bring change. I’m able to bring change.
Esther, Chinsali Farm-trained Agriculture Guide Women are agents of change. So when they take lead in agriculture, in climate-smart, they spread information to a lot of farmers in the community.
Petronellah, Chinsali Farm-trained Agriculture Guide I’m achieving my goals. I’m helping the community, teaching them about climate change and when to plant and to be alert.
Winfridah, CAMFED Association member, Chinsali Farm volunteer The community action, especially young women, who think farming is for men can see me as an example. They realize that agriculture is for anyone. Any person can take part in practicing agriculture. They will know that agriculture is a source of income and get interested.
Tesho Pardon, District Education Board Secretary, Chinsali District The future is bright.
Winfridah, CAMFED Association member, Chinsali Farm volunteer What I like about the farm, what delights me is that we are knowledgeable about farming. At that farm we have learned how to farm a variety of crops and we have learned how to harvest fish. There is nothing that has not helped me. Everything at the farm makes me happy.