This online gallery is based on Self Help Africa’s “I am…” exhibition which opened to the public in August 2017. The introduction to the exhibit is made available below, and this photo essay of ten farmers forms part of the #ZeroHunger series, brought to you by the Professional Development Support Service for Teachers (PDST), developmenteducation.ie, Concern Worldwide and Self Help Africa as part of World Food Day 2018.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the hand that rocks the cradle also tills the field.

Women are the engine of agriculture, working on small-scale farms that support more than three-quarters of the continent’s people.

Women till the soil, plant the crops, weed the fields, harvest the produce, transport the goods and prepare the food.

But although Africa’s women carry out up to 70% of manual labour on small-farms, they receive only a fraction of the available support.

They are denied access to land, training seed, knowledge and markets. As a result, yields for women farmers are 20-30% lower than men.

In many African communities, malnourishment amongst women is substantially higher than amongst men. In many societies “food discrimination” means that women and girls eat last, and least, as tradition dictates that they receive the food remaining after the male family members have eaten.

“I am…” is an exhibition that illustrates the importance, and positive benefits of supporting Africa’s women farmers and illustrate what is being done to level the field for Africa’s women farmers.

Photos: © Self Help Africa 2017 (made available on developmenteducation.ie, with thanks)

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