Female farmers taking the lead in South Sudan
At 29, Adut is already a mother to eight children, living in South Sudan’s Gogrial West county. She remembers her own childhood—how she was raised by a single mother in a cattle camp. How at only 14, she was forced into marriage by her uncles.
“They took the 30 heads of cattle that were offered as a dowry,” she explains. “My mother could not say a word because men had the final say over girls and marriage.” For generations, these kinds of long-held traditions disempowered women in the community.
Today, Adut’s husband teaches at a local school—a job that earns him a meager and unpredictable wage. Like other women, Adut steps up to provide for their family because, as she says, “more than anyone else, it is us women who feel the pain when our children go hungry.”
Through the Fortifying Equality and Economic Diversification for Resilience program, known as FEED II, World Vision has been working with the community and partners* to find sustainable ways of earning a living, while combating hunger and promoting gender equality. The goal is not to make men uncomfortable or feel guilty, but to encourage both genders to work together to create safer households and enhance women’s leadership skills.
Adut has been training as a farmer. She’s known for being hardworking and wise—in fact, she was selected by her peers to lead a group of 25 women and men who work collectively at the Farmer Field Business School, growing crops like sorghum and groundnuts.
Adut shows off part of her community's bountiful harvest. “My group produced 275 large bags of groundnuts last year for the first time,” she says with pride.
During the rainy season, she’s also been growing and selling vegetables, generating profits that have allowed her to open a food shop and bakery.
“I wish my mother had the opportunity to learn farming skills like I did,” Adut says. “My biggest fear as a mother was to see my children suffer from hunger. We suffered severe hunger for many years until the project was introduced and helped us grow our own food. It brought joy to us and other families.”
*FEED II is a program funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented in partnership with War Child Canada and CARE.