Anna Nyawichar of Unity State is one of 22 women who is changing the face of farming in South Sudan. Following the conflict in Unity State when Anna fled her home and became a refugee at the Protection of Civilians (POC) site being run by United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Anna has now returned home, determined to make a better future for herself and her family.
Anna and 22 other returnees have joined the JAM and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) where she is being taught how to farm vegetables and fish. For many it may seem perfectly natural for women to be involved in food production and business, but in South Sudan, Anna’s journey from returnee to farmer is quite simply revolutionary.
Women in South Sudanese culture in the Unity State have very few rights and face daily struggles with gender equality, poor economic opportunities, a lack of judicial protection, child marriage, isolation and sexual exploitation. Limited land rights for women also mean that most are only allowed to assist men with food production and almost no women are involved in the creation of their own wealth.
JAM’s Food Security and Livelihoods Programming has provided Anna and her fellow women farmers with vegetable farming kits or fishing kits, along with ongoing training and mentoring on better farming techniques. The program sets up a learning base from which beneficiaries are shown the skills they need to care for their crops through the different stages of growth.
Anna and group manage the demonstration plot. “The most challenging part of a woman-led vegetable plot has been to motivate women to get involved and take leadership in vegetable production.” Says Anna “For years we have been missing the basic input like seeds and information on how to care for plants.” She says.
With the JAM and FAO contributions of tomato, okra, pumpkin, collard and onion seeds, Anna and her group of women farmers are well on their way to more independence, security and a brighter future.
Unity State is one of the harshest areas to live, not only from a climate perspective but also due to conflict-related complications and cultural challenges. With your help in contributions, we could reach many more households in an effort to increase food security through farming and fishing education.
If you’d like to contribute and help empower more women like Ann, learn more here