The gender lens of LEAD Transformation Initiative
LEAD Transformation Initiative puts into consideration the poorest among the poor in our community who are women and children especially the girls. In Mariwo and other rural communities of Ifedore Local Government in Ondo State Nigeria, female farmers do not own land yet are mostly active on farmlands being used as labour owned either by their husband or relatives. Other challenges faced by the female farmers are lack of access to loans, illiteracy, traditional practices that discriminate against women. The organization considers this as feminized poverty which is to mean that the level of poverty is increased with women compared to men of the same community. This can be also directly linked to poor health.
Most women farmers are not able to farm cash crops because it is believed that cash crop farming is for the men and even some women that make money from their farm produce are made to shoulder responsibilities of the house while the man uses his money to marry more wives.
The time a woman farmer spends on the farm is also limited as this is overtaken by the domestic responsibilities which make plant less and harvest less causing her low productivity. Rural women who strive to live above all these challenges are also limited by cultural beliefs as men resist them from aspiring to be independent.
The children especially the girl children see the challenges of their mother and become less interested in Agriculture as a career. They prefer the white-collar jobs where the inequalities are perceived to be less than in rural areas.
Secondly, rural farmers are not able to afford quality education for their children school expenses and thus stop their girl child from following through her high school education while the boy continues to study. This is mostly done as it is believed that the girl will be useful with domestic chores and errands. Some of the girls attending school sometimes stay out of school for one week in a month as they are unable to afford synthetic sanitary pads during their menstrual cycle. Also, some of the high schools in Ifedore local government do not have toilets or have dilapidated toilets which makes it impossible for the girls to change their pad even when they can afford. Teenage pregnancy and high rate of sexual transmitted diseases often becomes a regular occurrence with these girls who have become unstable with classes and eventually drop out of school.
We therefore addresses the above listed challenges with our projects Gender RIDE and Agrogender .