Empowering African Women

News - 29.09.2022

SAVE women’s project gets off the ground

The Okavango Delta, one of the most wildlife-rich regions in Africa, used to be a tourist magnet that secured many jobs. Since COVID-19, things have changed. Especially women in Botswana, who often have to support their children alone, lost their jobs and were threatened with existential poverty. Alternative employment opportunities hardly exist.

To address this problem, the SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund, supported by the Schmitz Foundation, developed an empowerment project for Botswana women.

Since agriculture in Botswana has so far been mainly a male preserve, SAVE had already called on women in particular to submit ideas for small-scale farming via social networks and the local press.

A total of 75 Women in the villages of Matsaudi, Nxaraga and Quqao, where the unemployment rate is over 50 %.

With financial support from SAVE and the Schmitz Foundation, these women will in future develop alternative sources of income: Vegetable cultivation, chicken breeding and basket weaving are the business branches with which the women can not only produce goods for their own needs, but also sell the surplus proceeds at local markets or at lodges.

In addition, the supported women receive training on topics such as bookkeeping, marketing and agriculture as well as expert support, e.g. in the installation of irrigation systems.

In this way, the project not only reduces local unemployment, but also contributes to improving the regional supply of agricultural products.

The SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund, which has been supporting humanitarian and ecological projects in Botswana for more than ten years, had already launched the “Climate Smart Agriculture” project last year, which supported numerous local smallholder initiatives.

“We are happy to support women in particular this time,” says SAVE Foundation Chairman Lars Gorschlüter. “On their shoulders often rests the income for the children, many of them are single parents. We want to support them to build professional businesses and thus enable them to have equal opportunities.”

Cooperation with the communities works very well; at all three locations, village communities provide land for vegetable cultivation and chicken farming free of charge.

The necessary power supply is ensured by solar energy, which also enables the operation of the water supply for the irrigation of the vegetable cultivation.

Typical varieties such as millet, maize, watermelons and rape, spinach, carrots or tomatoes are planted. Protection from wild animals is provided by electric fences.

The buildings and objects financed by the project will become the property of the women’s initiatives at the end of the project period of one and a half years, so that both a regular income and food security will be secured in the long term.


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