SISAM: strengthening women’s access to Improved Solar Irrigation Systems in West Africa

Description of the project: SISAM project is an innovative solar irrigation solution (local, sector, affordable, renewable, adapted to the constraints of family farming) that meets the needs of 100 market garden farms, mostly managed by women who have little access to water. A local production line and distribution of pumps, known as “minivolanta”, have been built, as well as access to local microfinance (micro leasing). Activities include production, financing, distribution, maintenance of pumps and irrigation installations. The project contributes to the increased income of market gardeners, as well as freeing up time.

Climate impact: The development of local solar pumping solutions ensures a 100% renewable response to addressing water needs. The project allows market gardeners to ensure production in the dry season and provides training in good water management practices aimed at combating further drying-up and degradation of arid zones. By mitigating the carbon impact through technology that limits CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and international transport, and enabling adaptation and food self-sufficiency, the project aims to have a concrete impact on
climate change.

Gender impact: Women’s involvement is ensured at all stages of the project by taking into account gender specificities, setting up separate meetings and childcare, and dedicated trainings, and enabling participation in management. The priority targets are the farms managed by women. Although women make up the majority of market gardeners in sub-Saharan Africa, their access to resources and funding is limited. Gender impacts include improving women’s incomes, building their capacity, easing their workload, and empowering them.

Scalability / replicability: SISAM plans to reinforce and disseminate this action beyond the first 100 beneficiary farms. Regional and national authorities are involved in the consultation process leading to the signing of conventions. An impact assessment and capitalization process is planned in order to determine the modalities for upscaling. An information campaign on the effectiveness of SISAM solutions for food security and irrigation improvements, the development of the local economy, and a better quality of life for workers and households will be conducted.

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Women introduce new climate-adapted fishing technique on Lake Togo and gain foot in a male dominated sector

Description of the project: This initiative enhances women’s place in Togo’s fishing sector while conserving endangered mangroves, through the introduction of a new technique mastered by women. Across 230 villages, 1,750 women have been trained to master a new fishing technique using ropes and bait tied to mangrove trees, instead of nets. This practice enables women to stay closer to home and fish during the day, while safeguarding mangroves from being cut. Children’s nutrition has been improved via the inclusion of fish in their diet. Welfare Togo adopts a comprehensive approach to the challenges faced by target communities by engaging in positive education on different health, social and economical topics.

Climate impact: Thanks to this sustainable fishing technique, which does not require the use of motorized boats nor fishing nets, women preserve the fragile ecosystem of the mangroves in Lake Togo. Additionally, they have organized themselves in community mangrove watch groups that engage in reforestation actions and monitor planted areas. Launched in 2015, this initiative will have planted 200,000 mangrove trees by 2025.

Gender impact: Welfare Togo challenges gender inequalities in the male dominated fishing industry through a technical innovation led by women. Approximately 270 female market vendors receive regular income from the new fish catch. Participating single mothers, widows, and street girls are economically and socially empowered, with a goal to reduce unwanted pregnancies and forced marriages, and ultimately encourage engagement in social and political activities.

Scalability / replicability: This project is replicable and scalable in similar environments thanks to a simple and cost effective technology as well as efficient governance. All operations of the project are run at the community level by women and girls themselves, organised in 15 groups that care for a balanced representation of the various ethnics and faiths. Established steering committees can serve as models for additional groups. Over 4,000 members support the initiative with an annual fee of 20 USD, ensuring its sustainability.

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Togolese women farmers facing increased drought invest in resilient agroforestry

Description of the project: In Togo, land degradation has increased in the past few years due to extreme climate events that dramatically affect the lives of rural women. WEP-TOGO offers technical and financial support to 4 groups of women farmers in the Vo district in order to build their resilience. The project led to an improvement in the economic conditions of the beneficiaries and in their knowledge of good agricultural practices to increase soil humidity and fertility and adapt to climate change: 120 women farmers were trained and supported to produce mushrooms and irrigated market gardening.

Climate impact: Thanks to conducted activities, the 120 women farmers were able to face times of drought with irrigated agriculture. The use of organic fertilizers based on mushroom substrate allowed crops to resist the impact of climate such as irregular rainfalls or times of drought. Women farmers were therefore able to exploit 4 ha of agricultural land and greatly improve their production, according to their own testimonies.

Gender impact: The women who were trained acquired essential agronomic competencies they can transmit to other men and women farmers. The men and the young people in the beneficiary villages have been trained as well on gender and how to contribute to women’s success; thus men and young people supported women in several important areas, like building roofs for sheds, setting up the market gardening site, men and traditional leaders donating land to women for their crops.

Scalability / replicability: This project could be reproduced in other areas of the region, as well as other West African countries. Work has already started with other groups of women farmers in other villages in this district, with the support of the French Embassy. The local demand for support by WEP-Togo is strong. Beneficiaries have become transmitters of these good practices and are now involved in supporting other women in their area and sharing their knowledge.

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Building improved efficient stoves for women

Description of the project: The project consists of the fabrication of traditional efficient stoves for cooking food. They enable a 40% CO2 emissions reduction compared to previous stoves. And instead of using coal, these new stoves use wood pellets, from wood recycling material which further reduces CO2 emissions. The project is led by four women who are responsible for the fabrication of the cooking stoves. 700 stoves have been built and sold to 700 benefiting households until today and 400 are in order.

Climate Impact: The climate impacts of implementing local solutions for deforestation problems include the reduction of fuelwood consumption and reducing CO2 emissions. An improved stove can reduce 40% CO2 compared to existing household cooking methods. A further advantage of the stoves is that they use wood pellets, which have a longer burning process compare to regular wood.

Gender Impact: The project provides employment to four women, who sell their cooking stoves in the market. The programme also reduces women’s traditional time burden in cooking and providing food for the family. The efficient stoves allows women to save time in the kitchen, so they can better provide for other needs such as education and health, for themselves and their community. Women‘s health has also improved directly from the stoves as they inhale less coal fumes than before. The project has benefiting 700 women and families so far.

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