This gender inequality also means that women are often excluded from training events even though the knowledge conveyed may be more relevant to the lives and work of the women in the community. One of the many consequences of this bias is that the health, nutrition, and educational opportunities of children suffer. This is why ECHO provides trainings specifically for women and intentionally emphasizes including them in community-wide hands-on training events.
A story from an ECHO trainee illustrates how
these obstacles are manifested — and the
of how they can be
overcome. Joseph is
an elder at his church
in Cameroon. After
attending an ECHO
training, he applied the
concepts and his crop
yield doubled. Amazed
that this increase cost
so little, he began to share what he learned with
others; in no time, he trained more than 100
people in nearby communities.
When he offered to train farmers in one nearby village, the Muslim men refused to participate because they assumed Joseph only wanted to convert them to Christianity. Only women — about 20 of them — attended the training and learned about compost, liquid fertilizer, and other principles of farming.
Women there don’t own land; they farm the plots their husbands allocate, which often means they are relegated to the worst land. After applying what they’d learned from Joseph, the women had amazing results even on those poor fields. Their husbands then said, “If this method can give such good results on poor land, imagine what can happen on good land!” Then they allocated good, productive plots to their wives and even learned from them.
Family food production increased.
The women thanked Joseph
not only for improved crop
production, but also for
changing the minds of
their husbands so they
now have better land