Building leadership skills of small scale women farmers

Female Food Hero

The initiative has so far produced about 12 winners since its inception in Nigeria. Some of the winners such as Susan Godwin, Elizabeth and Gloria Caleb have been leading figures at local and international fora advocating for more support to smallholder farmers, especially, women farmers who face lots of challenges in accessing land and controlling their income.

Ogbonge Women, the pidgin translation for Female Food Hero (FFH) - signifies the strong, industrious and dependable Nigerian women. It also demonstrates their resilience and tenacity towards ensuring food security in Nigeria even in the face of climate change, conflicts and unfavourable policy environment. The Female Food Hero is a creative and entertaining concept aimed at influencing positive policies and practices in the agricultural sector that will empower small holder women and change the way the public support local food production.

The Female Food Hero initiative, which was initiated in 2012  recognize and celebrate small-scale women farmers as our Ogbonge Women, the pidgin translation for Female Food Hero.

Ogbonge Women are responsible for feeding a significant population Nigeria despite all the challenges they face. These challenges ranges from constraints accessing land due to cultural, policy and religious issues; lack of access to market either due to poor information on requirements/prices, road networks to transport their produce; or poor harvest due to climate change effects. For small scale women farmers, the challenges are very numerous and multi-dimensional that requires an aggressive, targeted and multi-stakeholder approach to address them.

Objectives

The Female Food Hero initiative is therefore part of Oxfam's GROW Campaign which is being organized to highlight these challenges and call for collective action towards them.

  • The initiative recognizes and promotes the contribution of women in providing food for their families and their communities, educates the wider public on the challenges that small farmers face, elevate the status of women in their families and their communities, share skills and best practices in farming and food distribution, highlights policy and practice changes needed to ensure a more stable food supply and assist female farmers, organizes women farmers and provides  platforms to speak themselves in decision making processes.
  • The initiative uses communication options like television and radio shows, celebrity engagement, speaking tours, movies, songs, and beauty contests, all of which highlight the role of women in food production. FFH is currently in three African countries namely: Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Beneficiaries

The initiative has so far produced about 12 winners since its inception in Nigeria. Some of the winners such as Susan Godwin, Elizabeth and Gloria Caleb have been leading figures at local and international fora advocating for more support to smallholder farmers, especially, women farmers who face lots of challenges in accessing land and controlling their income.

Many of the winners have been able to mobilize other women in their community as role models and used the opportunity to train them on improved farming techniques and the need for diversification so they can build their resilience. Among what they have been able to accomplish with their prizes include purchase of farmland, purchase of processing equipment to further diversify their business and increase their income. But even more importantly is there recognition as equal stakeholders in decision making processes in their local communities.