Women: Backbone of Health & Food Security in Africa

March 30, 2012


The concern for women’s health and welfare in Africa has been an issue we have been faced with for decades. The lack of education for young girls, poverty faced by women due to lack of business opportunities and the absence of adequate health services for reproductive and maternal health, are a primary concern.

Women are the driving force behind the success of our projects and integral to the success of them, as are they are the many farmers who hire men and women to work in their fields. They are the young women who are able to attend the schools near the wells built instead of walking miles to fetch water for their families, or encourage their husbands and children to seek treatment when ill.

In sub-Saharan Africa alone, women account for 75 percent of all the agricultural producers.

Women farmers face a variety of obstacles, including a lack of access to information technology, agricultural training, financial services, and support networks like co-operatives or trade unions. In developing countries, women are commonly disenfranchised and not offered the same opportunities and rights as men, such as access to credit and land ownership.

This year we have begun to focus on three important aspects of improving women’s material circumstances and creating opportunities for women. Changing attitudes and values of both women and men in regards to the social roles they play in society and empowering young girls and women to have a stronger sense of their own responsibilities.

We all must work together to change the attitudes of the boys and men to enlarge the space for women to grow and create new "norms" that challenge limiting stereotypes of women. Otherwise, women will continue to be left to bear the responsibility of improving everyone else’s lives, except their own.

There are still countless women across the globe struggling in poverty with little opportunity to fulfill their true potential. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that all women have access to food, health care, clean water, education and economic opportunity.

 

Darius Mans,

President & CEO

Africare


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