Yaya Adoum, a 45-year-old widow, is president of the Koudah women’s group. Supported by a livelihoods development project, her association obtained a mill to process peanuts into oil for sale. Before the mill arrived, Yaya lived with her four children in a straw-covered hut. “We lived in this hut with my children and there was not enough space for us.” The income from selling peanut oil allowed him to improve his living conditions and those of his children. Instead of going into debt to use other people’s mills, she can now freely use the mill owned by the association. “The profits from processing peanuts allowed me to build a room out of sheet metal and baked brick and make a small business out of it,” she proudly explains in front of her small, solid-looking home. “Today, we are more free and autonomous to provide for ourselves and our children.”
Yaya Adoum in front of the hut she shared for a long time with her four children. The income she earns from selling peanut oil has allowed her to build a new room and have more space for the whole family.
Yaya's daily life in pictures
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Seeds and animals to thrive
Esther Arada is a seed grower. She and her family live from their own agricultural production, which often – especially due to the difficult weather conditions – was not enough to feed the family. Hunger often invited itself under their roof. In 2021, she received improved peanut seeds; early seeds that are much more productive than those used until then. After receiving an initial supply, she and her husband multiplied them.
For Esther, the project’s support has had a significant impact in several areas. This year, she was able to purchase an ox to lighten her workload and stop relying on her husband’s draft animals. “I was able to buy an ox and I hope that with the income from the peanut harvest I will be able to buy another one to make a pair. This way, I will save time plowing instead of waiting for my husband’s oxen,” she says. Thanks to the seeds, Esther has also been able to ensure her family’s daily food security.
Husbands, children, wives: all winners
Marceline Guemngaye, a mother of six, received training in agro-ecology and the provision of agricultural supplies, including seeds. She also acquired a plot of land. “In the past, I had to rent a hectare of land to cultivate, which cost me 15,000 FCFA. Thanks to the income, I was able to buy my own hectare. In addition, I was able to buy a pair of oxen and next year I plan to buy a cart to lighten the transport of goods,” she explains. Thanks to the savings and the better harvests, Marceline and her family have enough to eat and no longer have to make do with tea for breakfast.
Her husband, on whom all the family burdens fell, is also relieved by this situation. “She has taken on a good part of the expenses. She buys the children’s clothes and was able to send one of our daughters to study in Cameroon,” he explains. His enthusiasm was not earned, however. Until a few years ago, he refused to allow his wife to participate in the meetings organized by the group to which she belongs.
Marceline and her husband have grown closer. “There is more understanding between us than before,” he says proudly.
However, her husband’s enthusiasm was not won. Until a few years ago, he refused to allow his wife to participate in the meetings organized by the group to which she belongs. Today, he is an agent of change in the region, making men aware of the benefits of the meetings organized by the women and strengthening their position. This was not an easy task as his support for his wife was subject to ridicule from other men. However, little by little, the husbands and fathers saw the benefits for the whole family and also asked their wives to join the organization.
The couple’s four children also benefited from Marceline’s knowledge and commitment. Previously obliged to work in the fields, all the boys and girls have now gone to study in other cities. Marceline has filled the gap left by the children in the fields by hiring a workforce that she pays with the income from her crops. And as a bonus, the support of the project has strengthened the cohesion and complicity between Marceline and her husband. “Between us, there is more understanding than before,” he adds.
11'000 people supported
So far, the project has supported more than 11,000 people, almost all of whom are women, to improve their economic situation and strengthen their position in society. Thirteen women’s organizations have been granted land for a total of about 11 hectares. To improve yields, 1,239 women have been trained and are practicing agroecology. And they are 1022 to produce seeds. Finally, 90 people, including 73 women, have been trained in governance, rights and duties, and are passing on their knowledge to other women’s organizations, reaching more than 6000 women.