Sierra Leone is a very traditional country especially in the rural areas. This promotes the daily influence of outmoded practices and stereotypes which discriminates against women and widens the inequality gap between men and women. Women in rural districts are subjected to domestic abuse and violence and have limited the activities of women to subsistence farming with no formal education .In the rural areas, there is heavy dependence on subsistence farming due to several factors leading to extreme poverty in such areas. SEND Sierra Leone together with its developmental partner SOLIDARIDAD West Africa seek to diversify the income generating capacity of farmers by promoting cash crop farming and gender transformative practices in the household and community.
Solidaridad West Africa ProjectProject Implementing Partner:
SEND Sierra LeoneProject Location:
Kono in the Eastern Province
One yearProject Budget:
Project Thematic Areas:
Contact details and contact
Mohamed M. Jalloh,
Send Sierra Leone
8 Morigbeh Street, Reservation Road,
SEND Sierra Leone
8 Morigbeh Street, Reservation
Thousands of women across families and communities in Sierra Leone suffer from cultural and traditional practices that disempower them and limit their social, political and economic progress to live dignified lives. Even though laws and polices exist to protect women against all forms of violence and discrimination, 45% of them nationwide experience lifetime physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence. About 29% of women who experience violence in the last 12 months are from physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence and those who experience female genital mutilation account 90% across the women population in the country.
Cultural and traditional practices over the years have also limited women’s participation in agriculture especially cash crops such as cocoa, coffee and oil palm production, which are the cash earning crops for the economy. Agriculture is the backbone to Sierra Leone’s economic development, providing employment, food, and, sustaining the livelihoods for the majority of its citizens including women. About 70% of women are employed in agriculture and women provide 75% of the labour along the food value chain, from production, processing to marketing.
Despite their contribution to agriculture and other sectors of the economy, documented traditional practices and gender stereotypes place a heavy work burden on women who contribute to the family farm, assist their husbands in cash crop production, engage in subsistence farming, and in small scale animal production (poultry and small ruminant).
In addition to farm activities, women are responsible for most domestic and reproductive chores such as cooking, fetching water and fuel wood, clean and launder clothes, care of the sick, the elderly and children. Considering the lack of rural infrastructures (roads, less than 50% rural households have access to clean water (GOSL 2013 and MICS 2010), lack of access to energy etc..) and services (child care etc.), such activities take much time and limit women ability to perform their farming and other income generating activities.
Gender inequality is prevalent in access to and control over land, financial services, productive resources, and extension or market services and prevent women to achieve their whole potential. Women in agriculture and rural areas have less access than men to productive resources. If women are legally entitled to similar access to land, custom laws often prevail in rural areas. Sierra Leone as a country practices patrilineal inheritance, so land is generally passed down from father to son. Also, women face the risk of losing control over the land when their husband dies or if they divorce.
Women have less access to extension services and technologies and finances. Gender difference is observed in literacy level with 59% and 76% registered for females and males respectively in 2015 (HDR, 2016). Extension systems tend to promote innovations that benefit farmers with more assets and higher level of education. They mainly target established farmers, predominantly men, while poor women who desperately need the knowledge tend to be neglected. In addition to women’s limited access to technology (tractors, power tillers and vehicle hire, for instance) for agriculture, they are often excluded from training programmes. This discrimination is justified and normalized by the gender stereotypes and traditional perceptions held by women, which teach them that they do not have the physical capability to undertake hard work or operate machines. Women also have very little or no access to credit and other financial services due to limited financial literacy, poor knowledge of administrative procedures, transportation difficulties and cultural barriers.
This action is proposed to be implemented for 6 months in 2019 to contribute in addressing some of the challenges women face by promoting income generation for cash crop farmers through gender transformative practices, self-initiatives, and business development.
The third aspect of the theory of change proposes to ensure that families develop new sources of income through owned resources mobilization, cultivation of new varieties for consumption and income generation. SEND proposes to use the VSLA Training Manual developed by SEND for previous support to SOLIDARIDAD to achieve this objective. Under this, SEND will apart from the GMF trainings; organise a TOT for 100 community facilitators to facilitate the VSLA module for all SWA communities. It will also provide the target citizens with sexual and reproductive health rights education, households resource mobilization techniques, Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) training, leadership and group management trainings for VSLA leaders, provision of logistics and support for the establishment of VSLA farms as alternative sources of livelihood for the target citizens. SEND mentor the families after the trainings to grow varieties of crops on their own as alternative sources of food and income such as the cultivation of orange/citrus, sweet potatoes, yams, cocoa yams, cassava, plantain, bananas and pineapples to be aligned with the mixed cropping approach promoted by SWA in the intervention communities
Families and communities undertake alternative livelihoods through the SALT approach The second component of the theory of change proposes the implementation of the SALT approach to re-establish good and trustful interaction among citizens supported by SOLIDARIDAD West Africa in 75 communities in Sierra Leone by working to fill pressing gaps in terms of lack of resources and skills to improve on their cash crops or mobilize resources for improved income generation activities. This approach will enable the target citizens in the 75 communities to find solutions to cash crops challenges from a basis of their own strength. The SALT approach is used to change the mind-set of communities and propel them to look at the glass as being half full and helping them to gain a fresh understanding of existing problems and opportunities to resolve them. The SALT abbreviation stands for
LISTEN AND LEARN
Families have new sources of income through owned resources mobilization, and cultivation of diversified crops
Gender Transformative practices increase partnership between men and women for inclusive development It proposes that gender inequality continue to limit women’s empowerment, and involvement in cash crops production in Sierra Leone. When gender norms are transformed through the promotion of the Gender Model Family (GMF) concept, there will be increased partnership between men and women for inclusive family and community development. SEND proposes to implement this Concept in 75 communities supported by Solidaridad West Africa in Sierra Leone.