Monday, February 09, 2009

Profile of a NGO working in Darfur

Women usually feel the brunt of poverty, war, and corruption. The charity Women for Women, helps these women rebuild their lives and overcome prejudices.

Sudan is one of the countries that Women for Women does a lot of work in, especially for the women of Darfur. The charity has begun a cooperative farm for women to grow produce and earn money.

The Voice of America profiled Women for Women, and sent reporter Joe DeCapua to get the story.

Karak Mayik, country director in Sudan for the group Women for Women, says women face many war-related and other obstacles.

"The war destroyed everything. There is lack of infrastructure. No development. No basic needs for human beings, especially women. And also, after the peace agreement, women are facing another war, which is the culture. They can't own land. They can't do some other major activities for themselves," she says.

She says that until the entire country is at peace, it will be difficult to help all those in need.

"If there is a wound in one of your body parts, you cannot feel peaceful and you cannot feel well. So, the war in Darfur is challenging us. The war in Abyei is challenging us. The peace agreement is a challenge to be implemented.

Abyei is a town in South Kurdufan, linking north and south Sudan. It's the site of much of the country's oil production and the cause of much tension. A 2011 referendum may determine whether Abyei belongs to the north or south.

To help deal with poverty and lack of development, Women for Women has obtained land for farming in the town of Rumbek.

"Last year, we got 90 hectares of land from the community leaders. They give it to use forever, 99 years, and we call it CIFI – Commercial Integrated farming Initiative. It is an agro-business for the women. Women are cultivating more than 21 types of vegetables," she says.

Many communities and businesses now depend on produce from the farm. And Mayik says that income from the farm has changed women's lives.

"They benefit from the farm in many ways. First, for themselves. They say we're looking smart now. We've changed our lifestyles. They are sending their kids to the schools, to the hospitals," Mayik says.

In the beginning, men were opposed to women starting their own business, saying it went against the culture. Now that they've seen the benefits, they support it, even to the extent they make sure their wives wake up in time to get to work.


Holly said...

This is a wonderful organization that is doing great things to empower women in need.
I started sponsoring with them in 2008 and was matched with a woman in Rwanda. I was matched with a second Rwandan sister this yr.

I hope as a result of your post more people will check out the org and get involved.


Gerrid said...

Hi Kale,

Thanks for keeping this blog up-to-date.

I own a T-shirt that feeds hungry orphans in Africa. Would you consider linking to my website from your blogroll?

Thanks and best wishes,