[CROSS-POST] Bringing Impact to Women Shea Farmers Through the FEATS Project
Funded by Global Affairs Canada, MEDA's Farmers' Economic Advancement Through Seedlings (FEATS) program, used the Amplio Talking Book to economically empower women shea farmers in northern Ghana. Topics included sustainable agriculture, value chains, financial literacy, and more. The project was implemented by Esoko.
The following story was originally published by Naa Ayele Armah on Esoko's blog and has been edited to include more background about the project and partners.
In partnership with MEDA, Esoko is helping to implement the FEATS program and provide quality seedlings, basic farm business skills, and crop advisory services to empower women farmers in the Northern, Upper East, and Upper West regions. The program focuses on four major tree crops: cocoa, rubber, cashew, and shea.
In 2021, the Amplio Talking Book was introduced to train women shea farmers in communities with low literacy rates. Esoko leased the Talking Book devices from Amplio Ghana and produced audio content based on the FEATS training curriculum.
Esoko recorded the messages in six local languages.
“The Talking Book gave me information on gender issues, best farming practices, and how to keep records. The women here were excited about the training. Before, we were not aware of the importance of record keeping. Now we can calculate and know if we are making a profit or running a loss in our farming business," said Paulina Ayamga, a shea farmer in the Upper East Region who benefited from the FEATS project.
"The Talking Book also helped us learn new farming methods to prevent soil erosion. It trained us on how to pick and better process shea butter, how to even use the residue to feed animals, and other useful advice,” she said.
The Talking Book enjoyed by Paulina is a battery-powered audio device by Amplio which allows people with little to no literacy skills to get access to content in their local language.
With Talking Books, Esoko trained over 6,000 women shea growers in the three regions on bookkeeping, best farming practices, and leadership.
Mary Atampuri, another farmer who participated, also praised the project.
“I learned that I have to weed across the hills and not downhill. We must also not burn the weeds which can cause bushfires but use them as compost to prevent soil damage. Now I keep records of my proceeds. My child writes everything down for me so I can tell if I am making a profit or loss from my business. The Talking Book has helped me a lot.”
The FEATS program is also providing seedlings and crop advisory services to cocoa, cashew, and rubber growers in the middle to the southern belt of the country. More than 100,000 farmers are expected to receive training under the “Farmer Business School” in financial planning, budgeting, bookkeeping, and leadership skills.
MEDA – Mennonite Economic Development Associates – is an international economic development organization that creates business solutions to poverty. For nearly 70 years, MEDA has been creating business solutions to poverty that are sustainable, scalable, measurable, and replicable. Amplio previously partnered with MEDA to empower women soybean farmers. Learn more at www.meda.org.
Esoko specializes in data collection and digital agriculture services. Learn about Esoko's technology and services at www.esoko.org.