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23 Apr 2008

Welcome to Radio Babusa FM — agriculture as seen through the eyes of local women farmers in the in the province of Kivu Sud, Congo. Founded by a group of women known as the Sauti ya Mwanamke Kijijini (Samwaki), ‘the voice of rural women’, their aim is to break the silence surrounding the discrimination and marginalization that African women farmers face on a daily basis.

The first broadcast aired on January 4 and since then great efforts have been made to forge alliances between other members of the rural community to help combat the prejudices imposed on women in society and at the workplace.

Established in 2002, Samwaki is an organization of active farmers with the mission of ensuring women farmers free access to education, vocational training and means of communication.

The Congo is a country that has suffered bouts of violence over recent decades. In the so-called Great War of Africa, a particularly bloody conflict, which took place between 1998 and 2002, 3.3 million Africans from several countries lost their lives. A comparable number of refugees was also generated by the havoc. The presence of the UN peacekeepers – the Blue Berets – from 2003 managed to stabilize security until December 2004, when conflicts were again sparked off in the region.

On the question of women farmers, the FAO published a report today on how current pressures from biofuel production, with its increased land requirements, could provoke greater marginalization for women in agriculture, stating that ‘gender inequalities are likely to become more marked and women’s vulnerability to hunger and poverty further exacerbated’.

Victoria Blackshaw

[email protected]


World Association of Christian Communication

For the FAO report

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