A Pioneer widow

SMIS observed low participation of female headed households and female farmers in SMIS extension and agronomy capacity development initiatives. The woreda and development agents (DAs) did not consider women participation important, although most of agricultural work is carried out by women in SSI and micro-irrigation systems. Following gender model family approach, SMIS mandated participation of FHH and female farmers in all extension and agronomy training program and demonstrations. The results show that participation of FHH and women has increased in IWUA activities, making an impact on the livelihood of FHH farmers.
Werke Turuneh, 45, is a widowed with seven children (6 sons and 1 daughter) live in Gechi District Humbro kebele in Oromia. She is a member of IWUA of Koba Kala scheme. Her husband, who was a bread winner of the house passed away nine years ago suddenly. “When my husband passed away I was confused and did not know what to do” said Worke “we had a hectare of land and I started to fight for survival with my kids with no irrigation skill”. Worke mentioned that due to lack of knowledge and skill on irrigated agriculture, they were not productive. Recognizing her effort the local communities recommended her to be one of the demonstration farmers. She started the SMIS’s full irrigation agronomy-extension package for cabbage production on her land. “Now” worke said “since I received all agronomy and the extension trainings and technical support from experts, I know all the steps to grow cabbages successfully. We are not only increasing our income but also our nutrition has improved. We are eating what we are growing.” Worke is only one of the widows benefiting from SSI. Besides the benefit to the targeted households the community members now have access to vegetables in their nearby market. This story proves that working with widows and FHH can be a successful ender responsive strategy.

Figure: Werke’s cabbage field