Widow supports grandchildren on small farm

Self Help AfricaClimate Change, News, video, West Africa

Annmarie is the chairperson of a 57 strong irrigated vegetable production group in Zombrebonghin village, Burkina Faso.

She is the head of her household since she was widowed nine years ago, and cares for 12 young grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

“My day to day work as a farmer is producing millet, maize, sesame and vegetables, but the amount of land that I have is too little to produce the food we need. There is a problem with rainfall. Things have changed from when I was young. There is no longer enough rain, and the two hectares I have is not enough to feed 17 people in the household.”

Self Help Africa has been working with farmers in Annmarie’s village, to diversify their food production, establish sustainable on and off-farm small businesses, and assist them to mitigate the effects of global warming by adopting climate smart farming techniques.

A hand-dug well was excavated in the village to provide the group with water for irrigation, and drip-kits were installed to optimise the use of the water. This meant that the farmers were less reliant on rainfall.

The gardening group in Zombrebonghin also received equipment, including wheelbarrows, spades and hoes to assist them in their work, and were provided with drought tolerant cereal seed to help them to increase their yields, and diversify their production to include new crops, including groundnut.

“Last year I used money I earned from our garden to build a new house in our compound,” says Annmarie. “It was the second new house we have built in the past few years, and has given us more space for everyone to sleep.

It also has a tin-roof, and means that we won’t have to replace the grass roof every few years. I hope in the future to have the money to send a few of the children who have not had an education, to school.”

Annemarie’s story is amongst 10 accounts from farmers worldwide, who participated in an ‘in their own words’ blog about how the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) might meet their challenges, published by the Farming First consortium ahead of the SDG launch.