|Resources, Power and Women, Proceedings of the African and Asian Inter-regional Workshop on Strategies for Improving the Employment Conditions of Rural Women (ILO, 1985, 96 p.)|
The Workshop participants went on a day's field trip to visit three women's projects in Akheri, Singisi and Usa villages. The projects were in many ways typical of women's projects and illustrated some of the problems discussed at the Workshop. The projects encouraged women in activities which suffered from lack of raw materials, equipment and market. Only one project focused on women's agricultural work, while the rest promoted non-marketable skills and activities. A brief report on the three projects in the three villages follows.
1. Christian Women's Association Project in Akheri Village
Akheri Village was registered as a development village in 1976. The village has an area of 1299 square kilometres. The village comprises 450 families and has a population of 11,597 people, of whom 7,521 are over 18 years of age. The major economic activities are cash crop (coffee), food crops (banana, maize and beans) and livestock (cattle-525, goats-44, sheep-306, pigs-10, chickens-1,200). The village has a primary school, a maize mill machine, a village shop, a water pipe, electricity, telephone and a co-operative centre for buying coffee from villagers and selling inputs.
The Christian Women's Association was formed in 1983, with assistance from the church who provided 10,000 shillings as capital. The association has 70 members and has the following activities:
(a) Tailoring Project: this project has three small sewing machines donated by the Danish Volunteer Training Centre. More machines are promised by the Centre.
(b) Tie and Dye Project;
(c) Knitting Project.
Members meet twice a week. Every Monday they work in the six acre farm owned by the church and Tuesdays are reserved for the above three projects. They are assisted by a Danish Volunteer who acts as an instructor. Products are sold within the village and revenue generated is given to the church for meeting various parish activities.
All the activities are, thus, part of women's volunteer community services. The Association members identified two major problems, i.e. they have no building of their own and have to use the church building and, more importantly, they are unable to acquire the materials required for the projects especially threads and colours for the tie and dye project.
2. Singisi Women Association in Singisi Village
Singisi Women Association was formed in 1974 and it has 120 members out of which four are men. The present membership fee is 100 shillings. The Association was formed with the aim of giving skills to school leavers (standard seven) who are not selected for further education. The Association has three projects:
(a) Pottery Project for making pots and ceramic cups. They use both the traditional method and simple machines donated by the Small Industrial Development Organisation (SIDO) and the Danish Volunteer Training Centre. The Centre has also provided a volunteer to assist in the project.
(b) Farm Project: the Association has a 12 acre farm, 14 acres reserved for bean and 4 acres for cattle fodder.
(c) Dairy Cattle Project: the Association has ordered two high grade cows, the shed is already completed and fodder will be available from the four acres for cattle fodder. The Association also has a co-operative shop.
All members work in the farm project twice a week. A few trained members work in the pottery project and are paid an allowance calculated according to the amount of pots and cups made by each individual. After meeting all project costs the surplus is shared by members but this was only done in 1983. For all other years the surplus was used for expanding the Association's activities.
The Association members identified two major problems, i.e. lack of necessary materials and chemicals for the pottery project and lack of equipment for some of the other activities.
The Association had a tailoring and knitting project and had trained some members but unfortunately all machines were stolen and now the Association is looking for donors to assist them.
3. Usa River Tailoring Association
This Association was formed in 1981 by 11 members who contributed 500 shillings each. The Danish Volunteer Centre has donated sewing machines. They make dresses of all designs and uniforms for both adults and children.
They sell their products to tourist shops, Regional Trading Company and other retailers. The Association is, however, facing marketing problems. They have dresses worth 40,000 shillings which they have not been able to sell. The sewing machines of this project was also stolen but the project was successful in again obtaining donations of machines.