周山村婦女告訴你,翻轉性別潛規則是一種怎樣的體驗?

周山村「女娶男」婚禮現場

周山村「女娶男」婚禮現場

「男娶女嫁」、「嫁雞隨雞」、「嫁出去的女兒潑出去的水」、「傳宗接代」、「生兒子爭氣,兒子能養老送終」…… 這些限定性別角色的性別潛規則,一直以來導致了不同形式的針對婦女和女童的暴力。身受其害的農村婦女們立志推動改變,翻轉性別潛規則,帶來農村性別平等的新風尚。

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夠了!讓我們合力終止性別暴力

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文:鍾麗珊
社會性別與公民社會發展項目經理

全球來說,每三名婦女就有一名遭受過暴力;每五名女童就有一名遭受過性侵犯。38%被殺死的婦女為其男性伴侶所殺。
在中國,約三成婦女表示經歷過家庭暴力;媒體曝光的兒童性侵犯案件每天起碼一宗;出生性別比長期失衡,超過3000萬女性被消失了。

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夠了就是夠了! | Enough!

文:Winnie Byanyima
【摘譯】
她們說:「受夠了!」

我媽媽是一名社區領袖,她在我們的村裡莊帶領一個婦女小組,團結了村內的婦女,為自身及其女兒爭取權益,令我留下深刻印象。這些婦女大部分出身貧窮,她們在婦女小組中,了解到習以為常的「社會規範」如何剝削她們應有的權益,或遭暴力對待。

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【3.8婦女節】女生有話兒

在樂施會進行傳訊工作,我經常搜羅來自世界各地的故事,呈現在公眾眼前。搜集資料期間,一幀幀充滿生命力的照片、一段段盛載著理想的說話,常常撼動我心。

在樂施會工作的發展中國家,社會給女性的定型及標籤,成為了一個個女生的無形枷鎖,往往令女性更難以脫離貧窮的循環。在中亞、南亞、南美的女生們,都有一個夢想:希望自己可以脫離「貧窮人生」,而教育則成了脫貧的鑰匙。

活在早婚、貧窮的環境中,她們盡力追夢,發掘一己所長。藉今天婦女節,看看女生怎麼說?

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「正因為旁人說女生不能習空手道,我才更要學好!」-Roshana@尼泊爾

自尼泊爾地震後,Roshana以巴士為家。正就讀大學二年級的她,面對校舍倒塌,從沒放棄上學,更從沒放棄空手道。

我們正在當地重開學校,支援像Roshana一樣的女生,重返校園生活。

 

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「我喜歡踢足球、打羽毛球,因為不分性別,可以男女生一起玩!」-Chandra@孟加拉

孟加拉的女性地位低微,只有在玩球類活動時,Chandra才可以與男生一較高下。我們在當地推動女生接受教育,實現性別平等!

 

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「我希望可以成為老師,教育其他小女孩。」-Amna@巴基斯坦

在巴基斯坦,早婚情況嚴重,家人普遍反對女孩入學,認為會減少家裡的勞動力。我們在當地成立女子學校,鼓勵家長送女孩到學校上課,今天,Amna不斷學習,追逐她的夢想。

 

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「水災也不能停止學習!」-玻利維亞女生

在玻利維亞,水災令孩子未能離家上學。老師從沒放棄這夥女孩子,四出邀請媽媽們送孩子上學,又指導孩子繪畫最常見的動物。

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覃詠欣 (Maggie) (中),在樂施會負責傳訊工作。看到受惠者在參與項目後展露著滿足而自信的笑容,聽著他們的經歷、改變,成了我最大的原動力。

世界上最困難的工作

 「世界上最困難和危險的工作,是懷胎十月,然後經歷十級陣痛生孩子。這項工作誰來做?婦女﹗要是她們有能力生兒育女,其他東西豈會難倒她們呢?」

作者及攝影:李冰心(Donor Communications Officer)

因為工作,過去幾年我走訪了世界不同的地區。每一個旅程,都讓我深深感受不同地區的生活面貌。無論哪一種生活面貌,令我印象最深刻、最佩服的,始終是那些默默耕耘、充滿韌力和生命力的婦女。那些渴望上學讀書,學習知識技能,渴望獨立自主的婦女和女孩的臉孔,亦常常在我腦海閃動。

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然而,二十一世紀的今天,男尊女卑的觀念在世界各地仍然盛行。婦女在教育和醫療等資源分配上,往往得不到公平的待遇,甚至人權亦遭踐踏。

尼泊爾︰圖中年過五旬的婦女,剛從山上砍柴回來。她揹著柴枝,從兩個悠閒地坐在樹下納涼的男村民旁邊走過。她身上的重擔跟其纖瘦的身子形成了對比。

尼泊爾︰圖中年過五旬的婦女,剛從山上砍柴回來。她揹著柴枝,從兩個悠閒地坐在樹下納涼的男村民旁邊走過。她身上的重擔跟其纖瘦的身子形成了對比。

在中東一些國家,婦女若離婚,會受到社會唾棄。她們生病或意外需要入院,如果沒有男性做擔保人,醫院有權見死不救。

在湄公河流域一條漁村,我曾問當地的男村民,為何操作機動船的,清一色是男性(無論是捕魚或載人運貨,操作機動船的都有較好的收入)?他們回答說︰「這些工作很難,婦女做不來的。」事實是,婦女根本沒有機會學習操作機動船。

有一次在老撾,我們來到一條山村探訪,並在村長家裡和村民會面。我發現男村民全坐在我左邊,出席的婦女寥寥無幾,她們坐在我右邊的角落,全程但笑不語,說話和表達意見的,都是男士。之後,我私下問一名男村民,為何當地的婦女相對較少參與社區事務?他理所當然地說︰「她們要留在家裡照顧孩子,料理家務,沒時間,而且社區事務她們也做不來。」

柬埔寨︰家庭暴力問題在柬埔寨司空見慣,男性常常酗酒,動不動向妻子拳打腳踢。這些婦女組成互助小組,在孤立無援中互相支持。

柬埔寨︰家庭暴力問題在柬埔寨司空見慣,男性常常酗酒,動不動向妻子拳打腳踢。這些婦女組成互助小組,在孤立無援中互相支持。

每當我聽到村民說「婦女做不來這」、「婦女做不來那」、「婦女沒能力處理這」、「婦女沒能力應付那」時,就會半開玩笑地反駁他們︰「你知道世界上最危險、最困難的工作是甚麼嗎?」我直視他們迷茫的眼神,一字一句道︰「世界上最困難和危險的工作,是懷胎十月,然後經歷十級陣痛生孩子。這項工作誰來做?婦女﹗要是她們有能力生兒育女,其他東西豈會難倒她們呢?」聽到這番話,男村民只能面面相覷。

改變決非一朝一夕,推動性別平等的工作,任重而道遠,過程如逆水行舟,一步一艱難﹗鼓吹性別平等,並非鼓勵女權至上,而是協助弱勢婦女爭取公平地享有資源、發言和參與決策的機會,這樣她們才能夠掌握自己的命運,從不停生育及男性的附屬等桎梏中活出一片天。

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 李冰心為樂施會籌募幹事,經常探訪樂施會在世界各地的項目,了解受助社群的生活情況,並以文字及照片記錄項目對他們的幫助及影響。

Women’s power against poverty!

20140905_141249Walking the talk has long been Oxfam’s principle and strategy for poverty reduction. Projects on the ground demonstrate this as people living in poverty work their way through difficulties with some resources and support from NGOs. They have changed the living condition of their communities, and at the same time, inspired other groups to demand for similar rights in society. When a project  only reduces poverty in a village, its impact is limited, but when it is proved effective, it is fit to scale up. By doing this, people’s collective voices can be heard, helping them to begin dialoguing with the government and the private sector.

20140905_130516Last year, I visited a group called the Self Employed Women’s Association, or SEWA, which Oxfam has been supporting for over 30 years. SEWA is a trade union that was registered in 1972 and is comprised of poor, self-employed women workers. These women earn a living through their own labour or small businesses – they do not have regular paid employment with welfare benefits like workers in the organised sector. Instead, they are the unprotected labour force of India. Constituting 93% of the labour force, these are workers of the unorganised sector deprived of protection by law.

SEWA’s main goals are to organise women workers for full employment and to ensure that every family obtains it too. Full employment means employment whereby workers obtain work, income, food and social security (at least health care, child care and shelter). They encourage self-reliance, meaning that women should be autonomous and self-reliant, individually and collectively, both economically and in terms of their decision-making abilities.

Having known them and supported them for over 30 years, I was happy to see them growing bigger and stronger institutionally. The SEWA Dehli centre supported women in the sector of domestic work, construction, and home based work. A young girl I met there told me that they were learning to be teachers, fashion designers, IT workers, and other trendy professions in the urban sector. What is more exciting is that they are supported by a private company based in the UK which sponsored their teaching centre, and work in partnership with them based on fair pay to workers.

During a brief visit to their centre, I was told that the women were becoming more confident to speak up with less fear now. They were encouraged by their husbands’ and mother-in-laws’ change in mentality and attitude. At the beginning, the latter did not allow them to work outside of their homes, but upon understanding that the whole family’s welfare could be enhanced if women were allowed to work, they gained their families’ support. With SEWA’s help, a home-based female worker could earn and increase their income from several hundred Hong Kong dollars a month to the equivalent of 3,500HKD a month.

As a collective group, they have met with the new prime minister of India to lobby his support for women empowerment. President Narendra Modi has recently supported women education and empowerment with a fund that was set up by auctioning the gifts he collected from the presidents of other countries in his overseas visits.

Through their collective daily struggle for respect and dignity as employed people in society, they have expanded membership to nine other states and have seen over 1.9 million members join the SEWA movement. SEWA is the largest trade union in India. Out of the total members, 11,000 female construction workers hold identity cards in cities. What’s more, over 7.1 million rupees was mobilised to facilitate financial credit for members in 2009.

20140905_110947It was incredible to see SEWA’s impact on women during my visit.  As the saying goes though, time flies when you’re having fun. So, soon it was time to say goodbye to everyone there. Before I did, I went to one of SEWA’s shops that sold hand loom products called Loom Mool. A pioneer in its field and a social enterprise, the shop makes money to support SEWA in the long run. Loom Mool is really a wonderful self-help project  that can help many more women in the long run. As Oxfam staff, we are proud of such genuine partnership between us and local movements and organisations.

Mayling sentada en el cespedMayling Chan is the International Programme Director at Oxfam Hong Kong.

15 October, International Day of Rural Women


By Winnie Byanyima — Executive Director of Oxfam International

Across South Asia and Southeast Asia, millions of small family farms are the bedrock of national food security. But the pressure on these farmers is increasing.  Population growth is not slowing, demand for land for development is accelerating, and agricultural productivity seems to be reaching a plateau.

When we talk to farmers, they tell us about changes they’re seeing in the climate. Planting season rains are erratic and drought is more common. In 2010, the Mekong River charted its lowest level in two decades; 60 million people living along the river were affected. Vietnam, one of the world’s largest rice producers, is in danger of losing huge swathes of productive land due to rising sea levels.

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Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam
The Phon family in their rice paddy in Kampong Thom, central Cambodia. It’s rice-planting time, and the brilliant green fields around the village are filled with bent figures, mainly women, bedding in the seedlings.

Family farms provide up to 80 per cent of the food supply in Asia and sub-Saharan African. Supporting these small-scale producers to reach their full potential is one of the simplest strategies that could transform our global food system.

Rural women are these small-scale producers.

Today, to mark the International Day of Rural Women, the time for steadfast political commitment to help rural women has arrived. Government programmes must re-orient themselves. They have a key role in encouraging women farmers and marketing collectives. Women must be the focus when they roll out agricultural support programmes that can bolster crop yields, overcome transportation challenges, and deliver timely market pricing information. The payback is clear – giving women access to the same productive resources as men could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 100 to 150 million people.

In the Philippines and Indonesia, we need to see land reform and protection for poor people’s rights to stay on their land. In Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand, irrigation facilities are desperately needed. In fact, financial investment in agro-ecological, climate-resilient sustainable agriculture support for small farms is in short supply.

On a recent visit to India, I learned how recent extreme weather events, such as tropical cyclones, droughts and heavy rains, are having a devastating effect on farm production. Soaring prices across India are forcing Indian families to eat less food or less nutritious food and to cut back on health care, education, and other necessities. Very few women own the land they work on. It’s rare for them to participate in government training programmes.

As South and Southeast Asian countries develop, literacy and medical advancements are improving women’s lives. Could the governments of South and Southeast Asia work together to roll out comprehensive regional plans that have a similar transformational effect for women farmers?

Oxfam is part of a global movement for social justice. In our programmes, we see those with the least power, being pushed to the limits of subsistence. We must help small farmholders claim their rights.  And the vital work of rural women must be acknowledged and valued.

Today I thank rural mothers, daughters and grandmothers for producing the food we eat, and I salute those who are the leaders in farming communities all over the world.

winnie-byanyimaWinnie Byanyima is Executive Director of Oxfam International. She is a leader on women’s rights, democratic governance and peace building.

我的古巴經驗分享

古巴婦女日漸成為農業、家庭、工作單位、農村社團中重要的勞動力。相片中的婦女名叫Irani,背後是她的農田。

我始終相信,年輕人不要太早想著工作保障,甘於現狀,反而,要不斷增加技能和經驗,追逐理想,實現願景。

圖/文︰樂施會國際項目總監陳美玲

不經不覺,我擔任樂施會國際項目總監已經半年。八年前我選擇離開這個工作了12年的組織,為的是想按照自己心意,做自己喜歡做的事,以及出一分力,貢獻我們這個地球村。更重要的是,我覺得是時候再自我增值,提高技能,尤其是可持續發展和政策研究等領域上。

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古巴兒童在遊戲中學習農業的可持續發展,分別扮演農民及政策制定者的角色。

於是,我為自己設計了一個獨一無二的路向 —— 到古巴讀書。在古巴整整五年,除了學科知識的得著,我也學會了西班牙語。新的語言技能給我新的思想領域。我始終相信,年輕人不要太早想著工作保障,甘於現狀,反而,要不斷增加技能和經驗,追逐理想,實現願景。

作為一個女人,我們是改變世界的原動力!女人終究是家庭的支柱,然而,在世界各地,由於城市化帶動農村急速改變和遷移,許多婦女都留守農村照顧年幼子女和年邁父母,生活壓力及負擔沉重。這是我去年再次回到樂施會大家庭後,十二月到尼泊爾項目點考察時目睹的問題。

古巴的人類發展指數非常高

我不禁對比五年在古巴經歷過的,的確與其他發展中國家截然不同。我選擇到古巴求學,因為那裡的人類發展指數非常高,而且在培養人的能力方面,政府表現積極,政策顯著重醫療衞生和教育。有些人歧視古巴的經濟和社會政治制度落後。然而,它在人類發展上有相當成就,男女國民的壽命達到80多歲;教育方面,十分之一人口獲得大學等級。毫無疑問,古巴的人類發展給我深刻的印象,我試圖瞭解它的性別平等政策和發展計劃的觀點。

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古巴農民在番薯田工作。

從一九五九年至今,古巴一直關注性別平等問題。革命之後,「古巴婦女聯合會」成立,該組織在國家層面上協調和促進婦女解放、參政議政、福利和賦權等。古巴婦女從一些革命性的社會政策(如教育、衞生、就業和社會保險)和運動中獲益。例如,促進女性參與的平等地位和領導地位,促進女性獲得社會服務,通過培訓提高性別平等意識,並產生了關於性別的統計指標。一九五九年以前,婦女只佔被雇傭勞動力總數的12%,到二十世紀九十年代,婦女所佔的比例已經達到 42%。據調查,二十世紀九十年代末教育部門的工作人員中有 72% 是婦女,衞生部門的工作人員中女性佔到了 67%。國家統計局二零零七年的報導稱,二零零六年在所有技術和專業人士中,婦女的比例已達 66%。

兩成婦女參加都市農業計劃

古巴農業部門在提高女性價值方面也取得了巨大成就。一項研究古巴社會的最新調查報告指出,當地農村婦女在教育和就業方面獲益最大,體現出對弱勢群體扶植策略的成效。目前,婦女日漸成為農業、家庭、工作單位、農村社團中重要的勞動力,參與特大的農業發展項目。例如,有 67,576 名婦女參與了都市農業計畫項目,約佔勞動力總數的20%。

加拿大樂施會目前與古巴小農組織的婦女領袖緊密合作,又向城市裡從事農業工作的婦女提供能力建設。香港樂施會會將這些寶貴經驗,應用於朝鮮(北韓)的發展項目上,因為兩國婦女無論生活或工作環境都很類似(合作農場遍布全國)。朝鮮婦女是家庭式菜園的主要管理者,菜園生產的水果和蔬菜,有助改善整個家庭的糧食保障及提高營養攝取量。因此,協助婦女以可持續的方式耕種,提高家庭菜園的產量,提升其技能和信心,對長遠解決朝鮮的糧食問題非常重要。

Mayling sentada en el cesped陳美玲於一九九三年加入樂施會,二零零五年離職。在職期間,曾專責香港樂施會中國項目部以及國際項目部的發展項目設計、策略及擴展等工作。二零一三年,美玲重返樂施會,目前為國際項目總監。

贊比亞的南丁格爾

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文:籌募幹事(資訊) 李冰心 | 照片︰陳燕明

在贊比亞,尤其是樂施會項目點的山谷地帶,蚊子無處不在,不請自來。亦一如所料,來者不善,非誠「密」擾。

抵步第三天,義工攝影師病倒了。疲倦、發燒、發冷,可疑症狀,人心惶惶。我們明明有備而戰,出發前一天開始,每日定時服食抗瘧疾口服丸,噴「蚊怕水」如噴香水,難道內服外用雙管齊下仍敵不過潛行追擊?

當地同事審慎不樂觀,臉色凝重,不斷催促︰「必須到就近診所做瘧疾測試。」

幸好,虛驚一場。攝影師只是疲勞過度引致傷風或輕微中暑。

瘧疾,陌生但凶險。

瘧疾陰霾,一度那麼遠,這麼近。

瘧疾每年奪去超過120萬人性命

其實一直橫行霸道、肆無忌憚、張牙舞爪、惡名昭彰。

根據世界衞生組織資料,二零一三年,全球約有60萬人死於瘧疾,其中43萬是兒童。全球九成瘧疾病例,集中在撒哈拉以南的非洲地區。

對大部分贊比亞人來說,對抗瘧疾是每天必須面對的生存挑戰。無論是北部接壤剛果民主共和國的銅帶省(Copperbelt)或南面鄰近津巴布韋的池阿佤(Chiawa)地區,幾乎所有我們探訪過的家庭曾經或現在都有瘧疾患者,當中大部分是兒童及青少年。

4

樂施會培訓的社區衛生員為村民做瘧疾測試

「我五個孩子都患過瘧疾。」一名婦女說著。
「我的孩子每人平均患過三次。」另一名婦女說。
「我最少的孩子幾天前康復了,現在患病的是大兒子。」又一名婦女說著。
一名少年指手劃腳地講述病徵︰「頭痛、肌肉痛、關節痛、全身都痛,非常難受。」

說的木然、淡然,彷彿只是一般的傷風感冒;聽的黯然、戚然。那是可致命的嚴重疾病啊﹗若不及早醫治,可引發貧血、肝臟及腎臟衰竭、痙攣、神志不清及昏迷等併發症,甚至死亡。

或許,當某種威脅成了生活一部分時,只能面對,只能將無奈、疲憊、擔憂隱藏在彷彿置身度外的偽裝下。

以堅強應付無常。活下去,才最重要。

形勢看似悲觀。

贊比亞政府及樂施會等非政府組織,正各在其位,各司其職,協助村民對抗瘧疾。當地政府向國民提供免費醫療,村民若出現疑似症狀或確認瘧疾病例,可到診所測試及治療。但是,有些村落距離醫療站60公里……

遠水不能救近火。

以雙腳及單車為主要交通工具的村民可勉強遠行,必須及早醫治的病人卻不能承受顛簸折騰。遇上診所缺藥,等待求醫者的,往往是白走一趟的沮喪。

2

蚊帳能有效減低瘧疾傳播

瘧疾是可以預防的

瘧疾,是可以預防的。政府在這方面給力不足,非政府組織就介入、補足,這就是發展及扶貧工作的精神。例如有些機構向村民派發蚊帳,樂施會則推動倫理互助。

方法?和政府的健康及衛生部門合作,在各個社區挑選具備基本醫護知識的村民,輔以培訓及簡單藥物,讓她們以義務衛生員身份,為村民提供醫護服務。

如村民有疑似瘧疾病徵,她們會即時檢測及提供藥物。婦女懷孕期間或生產時若感染瘧疾,可傳染胎兒或初生嬰兒。社區衛生員另一任務是替孕婦檢查。

村民有時會將蚊帳挪作捕魚網。

是無知或迫不得已?

換作是你,飢餓、貧困面前,會鋌而走險還是為身體買保險?

蚊帳有效預防瘧疾傳播,衛生員於是不厭其煩提醒村民善用及定期清洗,又每半年替他們在蚊帳上噴灑對人體無害的驅蚊劑。

最後,我問這些衛生員,為何願意不辭勞苦擔任這項工作?

她們報以自信、燦爛的笑容,接著滔滔不絕分享助人、救人的喜悅。

她們讓我想起南丁格爾,熱愛生命、無私奉獻、自強不息、美麗動人。

3

贊比亞的南丁格爾,身負照顧村民健康,教導健康常識及抵禦瘧疾傳播的重要使命。

 

Coping with Migration – Empower the Women, transform the family

Women farmers took their concerns to the streets of Nepal on the International Women’s Day, demanding their rights as farmers. Photo: Thakur Prasad Chauhan / Oxfam

By Oxfam Hong Kong Nepal Team

Almost 10 per cent of the Nepalese population is out of the country in search of a job. Women are often left behind as the head of the household, bearing the double responsibility of care giving and managing livelihood. If not getting proper support, they often feel depressed and have difficulty in meeting livelihood needs of the family and sending their children to school. Oxfam’s projects work closely with these women-headed households, bringing them together into groups and helping them with livelihood opportunity and empowerment. The women in the groups are also members of a cooperative where they can have better access to resources. Organising and empowering women is seen as a means to ensuring sustainable livelihood, improving resilience and enhancing wellbeing.

Working with women and their groups not only helps transform the overall situation of women, but also the families. With enhanced economic leadership, a change in their social status and increased engagement in the decision-making process, the beneficiaries see themselves more as agents for change.

Building capacity and resilience

Dukhana and her family standing by the plastic pond which collects rain water and waste water for her cultivation

Dukhana Kewat lives in the Hariharpur Village Development Committee (VDC) of Arghakhanchi District. Her husband, Tribhuwan, used to be a boat man helping people cross the river, but after the construction of the bridge on the river, he lost his business. Having no other source of income, the family decided to take up agriculture as their prime source of livelihood. From the support they received through the Livelihood and Empowerment Programme, they are able to increase their income through vegetable cultivation and send their children to school.

Their village is located in the flood prone areas. With Oxfam’s support, the villagers have set up a disaster management committee and members are being trained in disaster preparedness. The group received a revolving fund and a water pumping machine. In addition, a technician would visit the group and help them fine tune their agricultural practices so that their agricultural production can be enhanced. Dukhana also received a plastic sheet to collect rain water and waste water from her hand pump; she uses the water for her vegetable cultivation. She proudly mentioned that her five children are going to school and she earns good money from her cultivation. She and the other group members are now more confident in coping with floods and drought-like situations.

There are similar cases in other districts too. In Dubia VDC of Kapilbastu District, the cooperative started five years ago with 25 members. Oxfam’s programme helped the community organise into groups and strengthen their cooperative. Now the 25-member cooperative has converted into a cooperative with 776 members, out of whom 563 are women. Through the cooperatives and farmers’ groups, members are able to mobilise government resources and services.

Sita, pictured here with her daughter, is pleased that the loan she took from her group enabled her to purchase a buffalo.

Sita Khanal, whose husband has been working in Saudi Arabia for the last eight to nine years, lives with her two children in Dubia VDC. She joined the Fulwari Group about four years ago and started working in her farms with technical support provided by the group and a loan taken from the group’s revolving fund. Once the cooperative was strengthened, she took a loan of 30,000 Nepalese rupees to purchase a buffalo. A year later she sold it and earned some money. Now she has the calf of that buffalo which can be sold at 25,000 Nepalese rupees. She took another loan to purchase a pumping set to irrigate her vegetable field.  With technical support from an agricultural technician, she is able to improve her gardening capacity and earn income by selling vegetables. She sends her son and daughter to a private school and she says that she can manage their school fees even if she does not receive money from her husband regularly.

Claiming the rights of women farmers

Women farmers signing the placards and voicing their demands

The community-based interventions are well linked with campaign and advocacy following Oxfam’s one-programme approach and have helped the women realise their potentiality as a group. Their economic leadership has transformed them into social leaders and now they are raising the issue of their rights as women farmers. On 8 March 2013, International Women’s Day, around 250-300 women farmers in Oxfam’s programme areas came out of their homes to raise awareness on the problems they face as women farmers. They organised rallies, marched to district headquarters, conducted meetings and launched signature campaigns, demanding their rights on land and other resources, as well as increased government investment in agriculture and technical services for the farmers.

These stories demonstrate that women can be transformed from caregivers to social leaders. The positive spin-off for their children, their family life and the community can further transform the society!

Oxfam Hong Kong has worked in Nepal since 2005. Promoting wellbeing of the community, reducing poverty and injustice, enhancing resilience and women-centred interventions are some of the key elements that have guided our interventions in Nepal. Our community-based work is linked with policy advocacy and empowers small-hold farmers to demand their rights and entitlements. In the last five years, Oxfam’s Livelihood and Empowerment Programme in Nepal has reached more than 90,000 people and supported 833 self help groups, farmer groups and youth groups in five districts for livelihood development and disaster preparedness.