Mobilising support example:
Women farmers lobby for a sustainable income
SummaryShakthi Organization helped women farmers' groups to work better together to improve their income. Based on what they had learned themselves during Change the Game Academy's Mobilising Support course, they convened meetings with the women farmers to analyse their problems, identify what the best solution would be and which stakeholders could play a part in the plans they made. In meetings with these stakeholders, agreements on providing farming inputs and further support were reached. The project has now started successfully.
Women farmers do not realise that they are much stronger and will be more successful if they work together. Moreover, they have little knowledge of different stakeholders or service providers available as resources. And they do not know how to approach them to receive inputs, capital, technical support and marketing facilities in a sustainable way.
Therefore, it is important to raise awareness among women farmers' groups on how to organise group farming activities to empower them. Moreover, they need help in identifying stakeholders for their relevant needs for capital, inputs, technical support and marketing facilities.
Which stakeholders (NGO’s, government, private sector) did you identify as allies and how did you involve them?
We identified as allies:
Agrarian Services departments:
* cultivation meeting, selling fertilisers & pesticides, crop insurance, operation & maintenance of minor irrigation tank;
* cultivation meeting and organising & strengthening farmers' organisation.
Department of Agriculture:
* for technical support, such as fertiliser recommendation, soil testing & analysis and inputs like seeds, tools and fertiliser distribution for group activities (as a subsidy), farmer field trials & training and seed certification services.
We organised a meeting of groups of women farmers and Agricultural Services plus Department of Agriculture. The women farmers discussed
* the kind of support they needed,
* the kind of involvement and participation of beneficiaries to access land,
* the cultivation process: how, when and who during the cultivation process prepared calendars for crops and farming activities,
* the need for selected crops on large scale plots that could be profitable in the short term.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was drafted and finalised to ensure available land for cultivation and the cultivation process, sharing responsibilities during the cultivation process. The concept of the project to be implemented was agreed upon and support was requested for writing project proposals to the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Services, also for applying for additional support.
Which stakeholders did you identify as neutral and how did you mobilise them?
We identified as neutrals:
* promote sales for seeds, fertilisers and other inputs through demo plot,
* identify and facilitate for availability of seeds,
* provide network facilities with other growers for marketing.
Talks with the private company were organised to discuss the project and the proposed outcome. The company agreed to collaborate, contribute and support during and after the harvesting process. An MOU was drafted to ensure the continuity of the project support to the women farmers' groups.
We also organised stakeholder meetings at field level and organised field visits to observe the situation and feasibility of the project proposal.
We mobilised individual farmers to undertake group activities and made them aware of the various forms of support they will receive during and after cultivation.
We arranged a meeting to strenghten mutual trust and sign the MOU for providing capital, input distribution, technical support, marketing facilities and implementation of the project, with special attention to the preparation and use of compost and other strictly non-toxic substances to avoid health problems and environmental pollution.
Which stakeholders did you identify as opponents and why were they opposed?
Some of individuals and farmers' group members.
In the past some companies and departments pledged verbal (and continued) support for the cultivation, then took the profit and disappeared. Some of the farmers therefore started with little confidence in the whole venture.
How did you involve your beneficiaries in the stakeholder analysis/campaign?
Identification of skilled, interested/ leader women farmers and volunteers among them: Identified through discussion, voluntarily accepted.
Problem solution: Identified different problems, categorised the problems, selected related problem barriers for the specific objective, then prioritised them through a participatory approach.
Stakeholder analysis: Meeting with women farmers for participatory approach and identification, writing down the different stakeholders available in the field, then identifying who are close to them and who are less present or not present at all, and ranking them accordingly.
Meeting with stakeholders: We organised a meeting with leaders among the farmers and volunteers in the field, verified their responsibilities, prepared an action plan, drafted and finalised the MOU, ensuring that is is signed.
Activity planning: We named the activities to be implemented during the project, arranged it chronologically, assigned tasks (who is doing what and when), presented it through participatory and voluntarily approach and shared the activity action planning with the stakeholders and women farmers' groups.
Short description of the organisation implementing the action/campaign
Shakthi Organization started in 1999. Its main aim is to help women to improve their situation. Their area of operation is Trincomalee District.
October 2022 to August 2023
1. To mobilise women farmers' groups to generate income.
2. To enable women farmers' groups to do their own needs identification and work as a solidarity group to be more profitable.
3. To improve direct relationships with relevant stakeholders in order to make the women group more sustainable.
1. The cultivation process has been initiated and other farming activities are going on.
2. The group actively engaged in and improved taking decisions by themselves to identify their needs and act as a group.
3. The women already improved the relationship and started linking with their stakeholders, allowing them to make progress towards sustainability.
Description of preparatory activities
1. Meet and mobilise women famers and different stakeholders together.
2. Prepare and submit project proposal and sign MOU.
3. Prepare land, provide necessary training, distribute inputs and implement farming activities.
4. Arrange marketing facilities.
Description of implementation
1. We organised a meeting and field visit for the volunteers in order to ensure the beneficiary participation and requested support needed by the stakeholders.
2. We submitted a project proposal which was accepted and signed an MOU ensuring the collaboration during the project.
3. We created awareness and organised a training schedule, supervised the farming activities: land preparation and implementation based on activity action plan and cropping calendars.
4. We ensured marketing facilities through frequent visits carried out by the company and other stakeholders to monitor and support the activities.
Description of time investment
Women farmer mobilisation meeting (and refreshments): SLRs. 20x75=1500
Stationery: SLRs. 2500
Refreshments for stakeholder meeting: SLRs.12x250= 3000 plus stationery and printing: SLRs. 1500
Fuel for field visit with stakeholders: SLRs. 3x2500=7500
Total cost SLRs 16000
We ensured follow-up of the action plan and guided the various stakeholders and farmers based on the signed MOU, e.g.: guidance on technical support from the Agriculture and Agricultural Services Department, needed for tillage, fertilisation, pest and disease control. For marketing facilities, we maintained contact with the private company based on the signed MOU.