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Women in rural Africa are on the front line of climate change.

Despite contributing negligibly to greenhouse emissions, they are the first to feel the impact of climate change as they struggle to feed their families. Increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather, such as droughts and floods, is already threatening the livelihoods of farming communities. It particularly affects women, who grow much of the continent’s food, and compounds the “resource gap” they face compared to male farmers in terms of access to land, training, advisory services and finance.

Climate disasters and drops in agricultural production linked to climate change make women and girls particularly vulnerable to hunger and exploitation, including early marriage as a negative coping mechanism for poor families. Climate change pushes girls out of schools, destroys school infrastructure, and accelerates the cycle of poverty.

Investing in female farmers and policy leaders is vital in tackling climate change.

Investing in female farmers increases resilience to climate shocks, nourishing school communities, protecting food supplies, and lowering carbon emissions.

Educated women can help their communities to cope with the effects of climate change, and lead on climate-smart agriculture, tackling hunger while protecting our planet, and keeping children in school.

They can launch sustainable food businesses, become role models for change, and – as local, national and global activists and policymakers – make the world a better place for everyone.

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Through CAMFED’s Agriculture Guide program, young women are leading grassroots action in their communities.

CAMFED Agriculture Guides are young women who have completed school with CAMFED support and who have expertise in sustainable agriculture. They draw on the knowledge they gained at secondary school – including the creativity, problem-solving and leadership skills cultivated through CAMFED’s school-based Learner Guide program – and combine it with “green economy” technical expertise.

Using a cascade model, our young women leaders are reaching thousands of people in rural Africa with techniques, information and affordable technologies for climate-smart agriculture, combining Indigenous methods with innovation. They focus on the ‘forgotten farmers’ among them – smallholders without access to adequate knowledge or finance to increase the productivity of their land or look after natural resources. These include Parent Support Groups, formed to keep vulnerable children in their communities in school by growing food for school meals, for example.

Agriculture Guides – including the women featured in this short film – are helping to raise productivity, combat hunger, build resilience to climate shocks, and lower greenhouse emissions, while tackling gender inequity in farming. The approach has huge potential to scale.

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Come behind the scenes at CAMFED’s climate-smart teaching farm in Chinsali, Zambia

Watch as Naomi, a CAMFED Association member and trained Agriculture Guide, gives a tour of our climate-smart teaching farm, which spans 254 hectares of land in Chinsali, Zambia.

The land was gifted to CAMFED Association members by the late Senior Chief Nkula, and is now operating with 150 women working in different roles – from beekeeping, to crop cultivation, to poultry and fish farming.

Naomi and other Agriculture Guides in our Sisterhood, the CAMFED Association, are leading climate action and education in the rural communities surrounding the farm, and joining forces with Learner Guides to bring climate education into the classroom.

Read the accompanying article on The Evening Standard website

Working with communities to implement low-cost, sustainable farming techniques 

Agriculture Guides train smallholders in sustainable farming methods, supporting their communities to adapt to the effects of climate change and improve yields. They respect traditional knowledge, combined with innovation, using materials readily available in local communities to implement techniques such as:

  • Drip-irrigation using waste plastic bottles to save water and recycle
  • Mulching, where compost is added to the soil to reduce erosion and improve nutrition
  • Inter-cropping, where two plants are grown on the same plot to enhance yields
  • Agroforestry, combining trees and crops on agricultural land to enhance yields, increase biodiversity, improve soil structure, reduce erosion, and sequester carbon

These approaches make effective use of scarce water resources, reduce surface water evaporation, improve soil nutrition and its ability to store carbon, and increase productivity by enabling multiple harvests on a single plot.

Agriculture Guides also work with schools, government and community groups to provide nourishing school meals, protect trees and biodiversity, construct cleaner cook stoves, heat water using solar power and plastic bottles, provide pot in pot refrigeration, recycle materials, and reduce waste.

CAMFED Agriculture Guides have won the confidence and support of local government Agricultural Extension Officers, who invite them to train alongside them.

The challenges women and girls in Malawi are facing makes me feel so sad, but also galvanizes me into action. We are teaching local farmers about climate-smart farming techniques like tree planting, intercropping (planting different crops and trees together) and mulching. We are explaining how to harness natural resources like water to use in times of drought, reduce risk of flooding, and improve the hydrology of the soil.
Malumbo, Climate-Smart Agriculture Expert, Malawi

The Agriculture Guide program in numbers

We are accelerating the growth of our Agriculture Guide program, supporting communities to build resilience to climate shocks and reduce malnutrition by equipping young women with the skills to develop thriving agricultural enterprises.

  • 1.2K

    By the end of 2023, 1,191 CAMFED Association members had trained as climate-smart Agriculture Guides.

  • x10

    Each trained Agriculture Guide reaches at least 10 young women in her local district with training in climate-smart agriculture. Together they reach hundreds more community members and farmers, helping build climate resilience in their communities

  • >100K

    By the end of 2022, Agriculture Guides and CAMFED Association Community Trainers had reached more than 100,000 people with vital information on climate-smart farming techniques.

I was motivated to become a climate activist after witnessing how droughts and floods affect not just my own community, but the communities and businesses of CAMFED Association members across Zambia. Now I’m equipped with knowledge to educate others on the causes of climate change and help them to build resilience to changing weather patterns.
Chise, Agriculture and Learner Guide, Zambia
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CAMFED's award-winning Agriculture Guide program multiplies investment in women-led agriculture

CAMFED’s Agriculture Guide program was recognized with the 2019 UN Global Climate Action Award.  It highlights the leadership of members of our CAMFED Association, our powerful peer support network of young women who are spearheading action on climate change in Africa.

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Read about CAMFED’s UN Climate Action Award
It is our pleasure to award CAMFED’s breakthrough initiative. Their project serves as a beacon, guiding us towards a more resilient future for all. Their project trains young women from poor, marginalized farming communities across rural Africa – and in turn provides a shining example of a scalable, effective climate solution, that’s led by young women.
Niclas Svenningsen, Manager of the UN Climate Change Global Climate Action Program

Our Climate-Smart Farming Experts in the Media

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Article: CAMFED's Agriculture Guides featured in Triple Pundit

February 2024

In this article by Riya Anne Polcastro for online news platform Triple Pundit, she explores how CAMFED’s Agriculture Guides are cascading climate-smart farming knowledge to rural, underserved communities. These young women are supporting farmers to adopt multiple climate-smart techniques and combine them with Indigenous practices, to improve crop yields and food security for their families. 

Its Possible Podcast with CAMFED Esnath Divasoni

Podcast: Esnath Divasoni on the Future of Food - UN Climate Change Podcast

March 2023

Hear CAMFED Association member Esnath Divasoni, on the 5th episode of the “It’s Possible” podcast series presented by Sarah Marchildon from UN Climate Change, three experts discuss the future of food.

Esnath joins Peter McGuinness, CEO of Impossible Foods, and Earlene Cruz, Founder and Executive Director of Kitchen Connection Alliance.

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Article: Hear from 7 of our climate-smart farming pioneers

October 2022

Global Citizen’s Khanyi Mlaba highlights 7 female leaders in the sustainable agriculture space that you need to know about. From mushroom farming to food preservation techniques, these young women are fighting climate change, tackling inequality, and supporting girls through school in their rural African communities, all through climate-smart farming. 

 

Hear from our climate activists

Meet some of our sustainable agriculture experts

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FilmZimbabwe

Video: Patience’s Story

Patience, a CAMFED Association member and Agriculture Guide from Wedza district in Zimbabwe, demonstrates how increasing productivity in agribusiness has supported her household and community to thrive.

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StoryZambia

Naomi

I’m Naomi, a game changer in the CAMFED Association of women leaders educated with CAMFED support in Zambia. I am respected in my community and beyond for my activism on big issues like girls’ exclusion from education and climate change.

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StoryZambia

Chise

Growing up in rural Zambia, every day in education was a challenge to me. Today I am an advocate for girls’ education, working with stakeholders to improve the lives of others and achieve my dream that all girls in Zambia have access to quality education and become independent leaders.

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StoryZambia

Dorcas

Dorcas is a sustainable agriculture expert from Zambia who is developing mobile Aquaponics units to support community nutrition and resilience to climate change.

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StoryTanzania

Mwanaisha

Agriculture Guida Mwanaisha demonstrates simple interventions – like using manure and growing crops in rotation – to increase yields while protecting the soil.

More resources on African women's climate action

Watch videos, download brochures and read news articles about CAMFED's Climate-smart Agriculture Guides

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NewsMalawi

New research reveals the impact of young women climate leaders in Africa

1,078 CAMFED Agriculture Guides and the 9,262 agripreneurs they trained and supported across three countries, have reached more than 100,000 community members with climate-smart techniques.

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A report: Advancing climate justice through girls’ education at CAMFED

Christina T. Kwauk PhD – a gender, education, and climate change specialist – examined our development of this bespoke climate education program in her report Advancing Climate Justice Through Girls’ Education at CAMFED, and found our approach resulted in a program that is contextually relevant, practical and sensitive to the needs of the girls, young women, and communities we support.

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Young women’s leadership on climate action

This booklet catalogs the activities of CAMFED’s pioneering climate-smart agriculture champions — some of the first young women to train as sustainable agriculture experts with CAMFED’s support.  Today they are continuing to lead action and cascade their knowledge to thousands more women in some of the most marginalized areas of Africa.

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NewsZambia

Senior Chief Nkula launches our climate-smart demonstration farm in Chinsali, Zambia

After gifting 304 ha of land to our young women leaders in recognition of their efforts and potential as agriculture entrepreneurs, Senior Chief Nkula launched CAMFED’s first large-scale climate-smart demonstration farm in Chinsali, Zambia. The aim of the farm is to be a climate-smart teaching hub for the area, helping communities to grow resilient crops and scale up sustainable farming efforts across Zambia. 

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CAMFED's Zimbabwean Garden in Central London: Bringing the power of our Agriculture Guide Program to life

The CAMFED Garden at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower shone a spotlight on the life-changing effects of supporting girls in Africa to go to school, and young women to start climate-smart agricultural businesses after graduating, nourishing their school communities.

The garden lives on at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, supporting our campaign to launch tens of thousands of female-led, climate-smart agricultural businesses.

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