During the first six months of the project target groups were identified. They were five maize and potato women farmers group in four localities, Kamna, Ndiengso, Ndiandam, Santa and Bangang. The aim was to train them in the use of cell phones in order to obtain market information.
One of the challenges identified during this first phase was lack of electricity in some areas, which limited farmers in their use of ICTs. Those who owned phones had them operational only at certain times because they had to travel a long distance before they could access electricity to charge their battery.
A survey was carried out. The analysis of the data indicated that 87% of the decisions on farm activities are made by women.
Depuis Janvier 2009, le projet GenARDIS au Bénin est exécuté par l’ONG Aquaculture et Développement Durable (AquaDeD) au profit de deux groupements de femmes intervenant dans le domaine des pêche et d’aquaculture. Ces groupements (ALLODO de Bopa et WANGNINAN de Agonli) ont bénéficié entre autres de plusieurs séances de vulgarisation des innovations scientifiques et technologiques disponibles sur internet et autres supports informatiques, d’une dotation en téléphones portables avec carte SIM opérationnelle et crédits mensuels forfaitaires de recharge, d’un jeu complet d’ordinateur et d’une formation à l’utilisation et l’entretien du téléphone portable et à l’informatique. Un service téléphonique d’assistance (STA) a été mise en place pour chaque groupement afin de faciliter l’accès de ces femmes productrices vulnérables pour diverses raisons aux informations pertinentes et indispensable à l’amélioration de leur activité.
ToroDev, one of the GenARDIS grantees, organised a to brainstorm on gender, ICT policy and rural infrastructure issues, support rural small scale women involved in agriculture and agribusiness sector in Kabarole and Kyenjojo districts to access and use simple and affordable, traditional and modern ICT tools that can help them to improve on their production and marketing skills.
Agriculture and Agro-business sector is the main source of economic empowerment for the majority of the population in the Rwenzori region of western Uganda, particularly in Kabarole and Kyenjojo districts where ToroDev operates. Findings show that men have dominated agricultural production and other agribusiness activities in the community. Most of the women have supported men, especially in terms of free labor on agricultural farms in order to increase production.
Après trois séances seulement de formation, c’est avec satisfaction que nous découvrons les aptitudes de Céline, secrétaire du groupement ALLODO bénéficiaire du projet GenARDIS 3 au Bénin. Contrairement aux autres membres du groupement (peu ou pas scolarisés) elle s’exerce aisément sur l’ordinateur et manipule facilement Word et Excel. Par la maîtrise de l’informatique, elle représente aujourd’hui pour son groupement une icone indispensable au développement et à la vulgarisation de leurs activités; elle bénéficie de ce statuts grâce à son niveau plus élevé de scolarisation. Bien qu‘étant toujours pauvre comme les autres membres de son groupement, elle se sent néanmoins fier de faire valoir sa scolarisation et d’avoir eu un plus sur elle.
The women belong to the group TIAME, a farming group in the village of Peko-Misegese, in Morogoro. “TIAME” is the local language for “lets us work together”.
This group produces various crops including vegetables, beans, sunflower and round potatoes but these farmers face market problems. The market for their crops is not reliable and the farm gate price for their crops is usually low. The existing marketing chain is farmer-middlemen-consumer. This village has no reliable transport to market centers but electricity supply is within the village.
Nigerian non-profit and development communication NGO, ARDA, uses radio, drama and other appropriate vehicles of communication to educate and motivate social change for development. Data Phido, who leads the implementation team of this GenARDIS grantee, shares with us the trials, tribulations and joys of the project, which is promoting radio as a meeting place for women farmers in rural Nigeria in an easy-to-read, informal style that makes sense of development-speak and processes.
Through the use of workshops, training and other methodologies, the project “Gender issues and women’s livelihoods improvement”, a GenARDIS grantee, seeks not only to develop an understanding relevant issues but also how to take advantage of the opportunities offered by ICTs in order to enhance the livelihoods of those in the area.
“Majelissar Mata Manoma”: A meeting place for women farmers connecting with radio and mobile phones” is the project being implemented by the African Radio Drama Association (ARDA), another GenARDIS grantee. ARDA is a development communication non profit, non- governmental organisation based in Nigeria that uses radio, drama and other appropriate vehicles of communication to inform, educate and motivate social and behavior changes that ultimately lead to sustainable development. Data Phido has been the programme director at ARDA since June 1996 and leads the implementation team.
Successful global research results indicate that there is no doubt that “Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) improve rural people’s livelihoods” (IDRC/Acacia Prospectus 2006-2011). In a rural community context, this phrase is widely understood to mean traditional and modern electronic tools that include telephony (both mobile and fixed), community radio transmissions, television broadcasting, cinemas, computer hardware, software and the internet that help access and use quality information that has the potential to accelerate, if used strategically, sustainable rural people’s social, economic and political development. However, in the Rwenzori Region of Western Uganda where the Toro Development Network (ToroDev) operates, ICTs need to be embraced more comprehensively. Although efforts have been made in the past five years by a limited number of local and international NGOs, assessments show most of these initiatives have been dominated by men.
Having recently emerged from a civil war, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is still struggling to catch up with its development initiatives, especially where ICTs are concerned. Small-scale women farmers in the Uvira region could greatly benefit from increased access to ICTs.