VOICE OF WOMEN IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE (VOWDA)
Voice of Women in the Development of Agriculture (VOWDA) is committed to Agricultural productivity growth throughout the value chain to sustainably meet the demands of a growing nation and rally voices to fight against hunger and make careers in Agriculture attractive and acceptable by the Nigerian youths at various levels of our academic institutions.
VOWDA is an initiative that brings together professionals in the fields of agriculture. Its aim is to work with rural women at the grass-roots level to improve farm yield and food production. VOWDA is a member organization of the Women thrive worldwide, Farm Journal Foundation and African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD)
VOWDA is responsible for advancing the Foundation’s mission of sustaining agriculture’s ability to meet the vital needs of a growing population through education and empowerment
We are accountable for extending organizational capacity, building a global partnership so that people can have access to safe and affordable food.
We are currently raising a campaign to rally support for the war against hunger among children in schools. We collaborate with some organizations already on the front lines in fighting global hunger and we educate the general public about agriculture’s role in feeding a hungry world
VOWDA ‘s main efforts involve:
- Technology transfer to rural women and school children in both agricultural and environmental areas
- Professional development and education for women, youth and girls
- Advocacy in the areas of
- Gender awareness
- Agricultural resource distribution
- Mentoring and career guidance
- Networking with similar agencies within Nigeria and developed countries
Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life for women, girls and children.
The majority of those who produce, process, and market Africa’s food are women, but only one in four agricultural researchers is female (AWARD/ASTI 2009). Available data indicate that women in many African countries enroll in agricultural science as students but upon entering the workforce, face discouraging workplace dynamics. Rather than moving up the career ladder, many drop out and few reach positions of leadership.
An essential step toward improving outcomes for Nigerian’s smallholder farmers includes strengthening the voice of its women, on the farm, in the laboratories, in schools, in markets, and in policy forums. As part of the solution, it is critical to support the careers of Nigerian women agricultural researchers so they may contribute to poverty alleviation and food security at the highest possible levels.
Large gaps remain in knowing what works best for closing gender differences, what doesn’t work, and why. VOWDA will make efforts to identify scalable solutions for women’s economic empowerment in Nigeria, to help policymakers and development practitioners to better address gender constraints.
Major constraints faced by women in science careers in Nigeria include:
- cultural norms often make women less assertive than men
- family demands tend to make women less mobile than male counterparts
- some male managers are uncomfortable with female leaders
- lack of role models and poor access to support networks hinder women
- lack of leadership skills and organizational support affect women’s potential for promotion
Our Aims & Objectives
The aims of VOWDA:
- To raise global awareness of the critical situation, and to exert international pressure for the improvement of human rights for Women, girls and youth in Nigeria.
- To address the drastic human rights abuses committed against women in Nigeria– including rape, physical violence, and the denial of fundamental reproductive, religious, and political freedoms – and to address other cases of gender-based discrimination in the communities.
- To ensure Nigerian women have access to adequate educational information about health care, child care and family planning.
- To assist the needy in the community through sponsorship programs that help to support economically disadvantaged families, single parents, children, nuns, the handicapped, the sick, and the elderly.
- To join hands with the women of the world to promote peace and justice for all.
- The VOWDA long-term vision in terms of Agricultural Research and Development activities are as follows:
- Improve the safety of various farm outputs by introducing various Agricultural Research Programs into the National Agriculture system so that the agricultural products that farmers are producing are safe for human consumption;
- Achieve rapid adoption of the agricultural products through the use of value chain and market incentives strategies;
- Identification of female farmers whose capacities will be raised through training will be employed; The geographic target area for the project will be the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria
- As part of the vision which will be developed and continue to seek partnership at different levels to support female small holder farmers throughout the entire value chain having different partners collaborating together for enhancing producing, accessing high quality agricultural products and improving storage facilities. Some female farmers will be introduced to some financial institutions where they can access small loan and improved their entrepreneurship skills through different skill acquisition training programs were the less privileged female, community women and girls school children will be trained and are given soft loans by National Economic Reconstruction Fund to start a business this will help to increase female participation in Agriculture and knowledge sharing by linking up with national government and building relationship with key stake holders involve in agriculture and markets development, including wide range of NGO’s, academic institutions and private sector entities farmers will be helped at harvest time to negotiate a contract to buy a commodity with women farmers organization
We hope to work hard to achieve these aims with the following key activities:
- Supporting by publicizing human rights abuses and seeking opportunities to support development in Nigeria
- Actively working forwomen’s empowerment by running regular workshops across the country
- Empowering and supporting women in the community through studies fellowships, vocational training and sponsorship programmes
- Maintaining an international presence, to advocate for the rights of women in Nigeria on a global stage
- Rigorously campaigning for issues and injustice affecting the lives of women
- Producing regular research and media in order to support international advocacy and campaigning network
VOWDA will help to equip top women agricultural scientists across Nigeria to accelerate agricultural gains by strengthening their research and leadership skills, through tailored programs. VOWDA is a catalyst for innovations with high potential to contribute to the prosperity and well-being of Nigeria smallholder farmers, most of whom are women and make agricultural attractive to Nigerian youth.