Empowering female smallholders in West Bengal

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  • December 6, 2021
Traidcraft Exchange Halcrow Foundation

The Halcrow Foundation is helping to fund a project that will bring transformative and sustainable improvement to the lives of 2,500 families in West Bengal.

The project is run by a Traidcraft Exchange, a UK charity that supports vulnerable people across Africa and South Asia. It will establish 125 women-led organisations, and give them training and support to improve their farm management practices by adopting water-saving technologies and making sustainable incomes. As well as improving food security, the project will increase household income, encourage climate-resilient farming and improve the women’s access to government support.

Cycle of poverty

The communities benefitting from Halcrow Foundation funds live in Birbhum, one of the poorest districts in India. Seasonal unemployment forces the male family members to migrate to urban areas for work, which leaves the women to shoulder the agricultural activities along with household chores. Recurring droughts mean the region’s principal crop of rainfed paddy provides food security to the community for only a few months per year. Food security is weakened further by changing climate conditions resulting in unpredictable rainfall, and limited ownership of land and water resources. Low literacy levels, limited knowledge of farming systems, lack of access to government social security schemes and technology, and less negotiating power are all barriers to improving the women’s livelihoods, which makes it difficult for them and their families to escape the cycle of poverty.

Resilient, prosperous communities

Halcrow Foundation funds will help cover the cost of training and activities to improve farming practices, including partial staff costs. These include increasing the efficient use of water, crop planning and engaging the whole community – all of which will be driven by grassroots, women-led organisations and supported by Traidcraft Exchange and its local delivery partner, PRASARI.

The Halcrow Foundation aims to preserve Halcrow’s engineering legacy by bringing sustainable improvement to people’s lives by nurturing resilient, prosperous communities. Through our partnership with Traidcraft Exchange, we’re helping to establish women’s groups that are experienced in improved farming practices and technologies, and more resilient to the effects of climate change. They will also have a strong, collective voice to help them thrive and become a permanent feature in their communities.

About Traidcraft Exchange

Traidcraft Exchange is an international development charity which has used the power of trade to bring about lasting solutions to poverty for more than 30 years. It supports vulnerable groups, and delivers projects in East Africa and South Asia that helps producers and farmers develop their businesses, find markets, engage effectively in trade and become more resilient in the face of climate change.

 

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