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National Women Farmers Association
The Voice of Gambian Women Farmers
National Women Farmers' Association (NAWFA) a membership based association of 48,000 women farmers, operating in 1074 villages clustered in 74 smaller associations, is embarking on a five-year development programme on Integrated Crop and Livestock Production, Processing and Marketing. The purpose of the programme is to promote commercial agriculture among women farmers, which will encourage and support women to do farming as a business. It will use capacity building and commercial agriculture as a development tool for raising the status of women farmers from subsistence to economic independence.

The programme concept emanated from the results of regular consultations with the members at all three levels (kafoo, SGA and the National level executives). The information obtained from these levels informed the first draft, which was validated at the regional consultative meetings with the 222 SGA executives and the 14 National Executive members in all six agricultural divisions.  These were followed by a national level validation workshop, which brought together women farmer representatives from all six agricultural divisions, senior level management from the Department of State for Agriculture (DOSA) and its line Departments and projects and programmes, Divisional Agricultural Coordinators, NGO representatives including representatives from The Association of Non Governmental Associations (TANGO),  and representatives from other government institutions like The Social Development Fund (SDF) and the Department of State for Women's Affairs.

The main aim of the programme is to ensure sustainable food security (availability, accessibility and utilization) and to facilitate the social and economic empowerment of individual women farmers and their institutions, to become self-reliant vibrant organizations through the following strategic objectives: 

"    increase the production and productivity of women's crops and livestock in an integrated approach using farmer field schools and improved labour saving farm implements
"    reduce post-harvest losses of women's produce through provision of adequate storage facilities and training on post-harvest handling of agricultural produce (fresh and processed)
"    improve women's skills in value-added processing (transformation) and marketing techniques
"    establish a guaranteed fair price market for the members produce (fresh and processed )
"    improve women's skills and knowledge in organizational management, advocacy, participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation and  literacy innumeracy skills for self management
"    promote savings and credit mobilization among individual women farmers and their associations
"     promote good health among women and their children through provision of appropriate labor saving devices for reduction of  women's time and drudgery on and off farm and health education on malaria and HIV/AIDS
"    strengthen the technical and managerial capacities of NAWFA staff for increased efficiency

The programme will target 48,000 NAWFA individual women farmers throughout the country, 5,370 kafoo executives (5 executives per kafoo [1074 kafoos]), 370 cluster executives (5 executives per cluster [74 clusters]) and 14 National executive committee members (NEC-the Board). Specific components of the programme will be targeted to groups or regions based on their comparative advantage. The programme will be implemented over a five-year period (2007-2011)

The programme is design to focus on enhancing the economic, technical, social and managerial capabilities of women farmers, their staff and collaborators and strengthen the institutional capacities of the association to be self-managing and self-reliant. It will focus on ensuring sustainable food security and increased disposable income through intensive land advocacy campaigns, land development and management, and integrated crop and livestock production, processing and marketing and savings and credit mobilization. It will improve the members' ability to access productive resources and make informed decisions and choices in all aspects of their lives, which will enhance their effectiveness and efficiency. Emphasis will be placed on advocacy for the rights of women including policy and administrative issues, which influence women's lives.

The programme will also target improvement of the skills of the executive committees of village kafoos, cluster associations and the Apex in group organization and resource mobilization and management. It will improve the efficiency of the executives in directing and coordinating the affairs of the association. The members would have increased literacy levels and increased access to improved knowledge and skills in production, processing, marketing, post-harvest handling, and other agricultural related income-generating activities through farmer-to-farmer extension using farmer field school concept and functional literacy for self-management. These together will empower the women economically and socially. An effective implementation of this programme will significantly contribute to poverty reduction and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) especially as they relate to women farmers and their families.

The programme is composed of six specific projects, copies of which are attached. Below is a list of the projects:

1.    Capacity building (organizational management skills training, women's rights advocacy, functional literacy and fundraising skills)
2.    Cereals (rice and Yellow maize) and oilseeds (sesame and groundnuts)  production
3.    Small ruminants (sheep and goats) and poultry (broilers and layers) production, processing and marketing
4.    Value-added processing (transformation) of cereals and oilseeds
5.    Agricultural produce and inputs marketing and
6.    Agricultural credit and savings mobilization.

The different projects integrated will result to an efficient good quality programme. Crossing cutting projects like the capacity building project, marketing and savings and credit mobilization projects are critical for all projects. The combination of the integrated crop and livestock production and processing will be beneficial to all the individual projects. The bi-products from the crops both fresh and processed are excellent feeds for livestock. The waste matter from the livestock is also excellent source of organic mature, which can increase production, and productivity of the crops. It can also facilitate organic production, thus adding value to the products.

The implementation of the programme will take cognizance of the diverse needs of the members, and regional preferences and opportunities. The focus on a single commodity (sesame) has had a negative impact on effective participation of a large number of the membership some of who did not either have the appropriate ecology for sesame or the interest in the commodity. Thus, the clusters and the kafoos have expressed interest in the following commodities for specialization in addition to sesame: horticulture, cashew, rice, yellow maize (for animal feed), Groundnuts, beekeeping, poultry, small ruminants (sheep and goats), crops, livestock processing, and marketing.

In response to this changing situation, the cluster structure and nomenclature would necessarily change from SGA to an appropriate and more inclusive name. The proposed name for the clusters is NAWFA Producers and Marketing Associations (NPMA). Each of the clusters will choose from the range of commodities for which they have comparative advantage to promote among their villages and members.
Villages will identify the commodities their members are interested in and prepare a membership list based on commodities of interest. These lists will be forwarded to the NPMAs who will then register the names under the commodity-based sub-associations.

The staff of NAWFA and NAWFA collaborators will implement the project. The required staff complement for the implementation of the programme are: Executive Director, Programme Manager, Finance Manager, Marketing Manager, Capacity Building Manager, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Manager, Accountant, Regional Field coordinators (2), Divisional Field Coordinators (6), Assistant Accountant, Cashier, Administrative Officer, Store Keepers (6) Secretary/Receptionist (2), Drivers (4), Messenger and Security for six regional centers (12) and 6 relief drivers.

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