Africa water week: Green Cross Italy with Women for Food Security

Diaya is a farm worker cultivating tomatoes, sorghum and potatoes in a small plot of land in the village of Bokhol, region of Saint-Louis, Senegal. Its harvest will allow her to get enough food and even an extra income to pay her children’s school charges. In the occasion of the 5th Africa water week (26th  – 31st May 2014), Green Cross Italy tells of another significant success of the project “Freddas – Terre di confine”, which is taking place in Senegal with the Italian Development Cooperation contribution and the support of Italian natural, plant-based cosmetic company “L’Erbolario”, thanks to its campaign “Ibisco, un fiore per l’Africa” (Hibiscus, a flower for Africa).

Stories such as Diaya’s one show how agriculture is fundamental for African future, especially for small local situations experiencing every days by the inhabitants of a village such as Bokhol and where raising children, tilling the soil and improving the family economy is on women shoulders.

The project “Freddas – Terre di Confine” is meant for them. In Senegal, Green Cross Italy already achieved two water wells for irrigation, assigned arable lands and gave out seeds and farming equipment to 158 families. But Green Cross Italy has especially brought into question the insufficient presence of women in the most important positions: 20 women now participate to decision-making process and hold responsibility positions within the village. For instance, for the project managing committee whose president and treasurer are two women. And thanks to the campaign “Ibisco, un fiore per l’Africa” it was possible to create greater awareness regarding women rights, to contribute to go beyond prejudices and to valorize gender diversity.

The goal is almost achieved but there is still so much to do. Drop-by-drop irrigation systems powered by photovoltaic panels will be installed very soon, which will allow improving crop yields and consequently incomes and food access of beneficiary families. “Chambre à froid (cold storage system) will be set up too in order to provide a better storage time for foodstuffs and to allow women to sell agricultural products in farther markets.

Access to land and to other natural resources is the precondition to overcome poverty and to improve health condition in Africa. Green Cross Italy will carry on doing its part: thanks to its projects, thousands of families have been reached in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal. For example in 2013, within the Senegalese village of Gouriki Samba Diom (in Matam region), it was possible to make fertile 400,000 meters square of abandoned lands.

Our team is working on repeating Freddas project success in other villages. “Women living in rural areas are essential partners in the fight against hunger and poverty”, states Green Cross Italy President Elio Pacilio. “We want to create a cooperation and decision platform which consider their requirements in various African countries. Because their experience can contribute to set the continent on the path of the future we all want: fair, sustainable, clean that benefit to all Africans”.