In late 2018, Voices4Nigeria (V4N) and Gabasawa launched a small “Farming Grant” initiative intended to provide economic empowerment opportunities to women impacted by terrorism and the broader humanitarian crisis in Nigeria. Thousands of women, mostly widows and their children, fled to IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps in Borno State, arriving with no means of supporting themselves or their families. Many were eager to work and found help in non-profit Gabasawa, widely known for its dedication to bringing marginalized and fringe families into the mainstream of society, giving hope to the hopeless and forgotten.
To support the soaring need for work and food, V4N provided a small grant to Gabasawa to test the success of the farming initiative. In this first phase, approximately sixty-five women, all widows, were carefully selected out of nearly five hundred to be part of the program. Each program participant chosen is considered the most "vulnerable," meaning she has no family support on which to depend and no access to resources. These women had farms and/or skilled backgrounds in farming before their livelihoods were destroyed from terrorism and the deadly attacks against farmers by Boko Haram. In addition to a needs assessment, each woman selected must demonstrate a strong work ethic and sound character.
The first phase proved a success! For a nominal cost, each farming grant recipient obtained access to land, seed, fertilizer, pesticides, and additional labor to help harvest crops. All women were able to produce enough yield to feed themselves and their families for the season. Some of the more entrepreneurial women found the means to process a portion of their crops into a powder form that can be used as nutritional and medicinal supplements and sold in their local communities. Not only were these women empowered to provide a sustainable livelihood for themselves and their families, but they were also given the priceless gift of HOPE for a better future.
Building on the success of the first phase, V4N extended additional farming grant funds to more women, and provided access to larger plots of land to increase food production. The excess food product will go to women too old, sick, or weak and impoverished children in the community. A dedicated Gabasawa volunteer is working with all the farming grant recipients to oversee the project and facilitate a successful outcome.
We are passionate about empowering marginalized women to make a better life. Together with our Nigerian partner Gabasawa, we strive to train and equip women so they can feed their families and make a difference in their communities. There are thousands more women who have reached out to Gabasawa for an opportunity to work and build a better future amid this widespread humanitarian crises. We can only continue our invaluable work with your generous support. Just a small gift of money helps plant the seeds of hope and restoration. Join us today in making a difference!