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Script 57.1

Notes to broadcasters

In many communities women grow most of the food. But often their work is not recognized. The important contribution of women farmers to food production deserves to be acknowledged and valued. It is necessary to listen to women’s concerns about farming and support them by providing access to land and credit so they can maximize food production.

Suggestions: We recommend that you conduct interviews with women in your own community to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise. When doing interviews with women, go on foot to meet the women at their own homes. Conduct interviews in an informal, relaxed and respectful manner. It is preferable to keep the interviews short, probably not more than one hour.

Script

Characters:

Narrator:
This can be the program host.
Chief Kufa:
The wise Village Headman. He has a strong, authoritative, voice that people will respect.
Mrs. Mirla:
Woman farmer.
Mrs. Kamanga:
Woman farmer.

MUSIC TO INTRODUCE PROGRAM.

FADE OUT MUSIC.

Narrator:
Welcome to today’s show, “The women of my village.” In this program the respected Village Headman, Chief Kufa, will be with us. Here is Chief Kufa now.

Chief Kufa:
Greetings to you all.
I want to start today’s program by telling you something that has been bothering me. I feel that here in my village we do not value and appreciate the work of women farmers. In fact their work is often ignored.

Who are the women of my village?

The women of my village are farmers. They grow most of our food. They tend crops in the fields. They grow nutritious garden vegetables. They take it upon themselves to sell extra produce at the market so they can buy clothes and books for our children. In my village it is even the women who take care of the livestock — they cut feed for animals and take cattle to graze. They make medicines from wild plants. They have special ways to store seeds. They preserve fish, meat, vegetables and fruits by smoking or drying them.

Need I say more? I’m sure you understand that they are very hardworking.

Chief Kufa (cont)
: Many times I have thought about how to calculate the value of women’s work. It is difficult to measure, but if we could measure their work in local money — well, it would be a lot of money.

FADE IN MUSIC(a short musical break here will allow the listener to consider Chief Kufa’s message).

CONTINUE MUSIC QUIETLY UNDER NARRATOR.

Narrator:
Dear listener, do you agree with Chief Kufa? The chief is proud of the women. Can you understand why?

BRING MUSIC TO NORMAL VOLUME FOR 5 SECONDS AND FADE OUT.

Chief Kufa:
Welcome back. I’ve invited two women farmers from my village, to talk with us today. I’ve asked them here because they both operate successful farms. You will be interested to know the reasons for their success. It is my pleasure to introduce Mrs. Mirla and Mrs. Kamanga. A respectful good-day to you both.

Mrs. Mirla and Mrs. Kamanga:
Good-day Chief Kufa.

Chief Kufa:
Let’s start our discussion right away. Mrs. Kamanga, may I start with you?

In our village you are known as a farmer who gets very high yields of grain. Is it possible for you to explain your high yields of maize and sorghum?

Mrs. Kamanga:
I have a secret to tell you. I don’t really grow more grain than the other farmers. But I store the grain very carefully so the insects don’t get it!

Let me tell you how I do it. First, like many other farmers, I store my grain in gunny bags.

Then, I mix the grain with different things to protect it from pests. I am always trying new methods. I have tried wood ash, powder from soap nuts, nochi leaves, neem leaves and eucalyptus leaves. When one of these methods works — I use it.

So, Chief Kufa, I always have a lot of grain to sell and the reason, as I have said, is that there is not much insect damage in my stores.

PLAY MUSIC FOR 3 SECONDS AND CONTINUE QUIETLY UNDER NARRATOR.

Narrator:
Women are experts at food storage. They have special ways of storing grains and other foods. They experiment with different ways of storing foods just like researchers at the university. They do their research in their homes, and their fields and gardens.

FADE OUT MUSIC.

Chief Kufa:
Hello again to our listeners. We’re back with Mrs. Mirla and Mrs. Kamanga discussing their successful farm businesses. Mrs. Mirla, I remember that you used to have a job with the government. But lately I see you working in the field every day. Why did you come back to farming?

Mrs. Mirla:
Chief Kufa, I lost my job with the government five years ago because the office moved to another part of the country. My husband was also unemployed. He has had very bad luck finding work. I had to find a new job. I already had a large garden. I decided to make the garden bigger. Now I grow many local varieties of sweet potatoes and beans and sell them in the village market. People enjoy the taste and they always buy my vegetables.

Chief Kufa:
Mrs. Mirla, now I know you grow a lot of vegetables and I am sure that your family is eating well. May I be so bold as to ask if your farm is profitable?

Mrs. Mirla:
Chief Kufa, I am happy to tell you that I am making a lot of money on my farm. In fact, I make more money growing food than I did at the government job!

And there is something else I should tell you. Because I do so much farm work, my husband and I agreed that I will decide how to spend the money from farming. Now I still have my own income. I use the money for food and clothing for the children. We all have a better life now.

MUSIC(uplifting and cheerful).

CONTINUE MUSIC SOFTLY UNDER NARRATOR.

Narrator:
What kinds of vegetables do the women in your community grow? Women know how to grow vegetables that are nutritious and taste good.

FADE OUT MUSIC.

Chief Kufa:
We are back again with Mrs. Mirla and Mrs. Kamanga, who are sharing with us their tips for operating a successful farm. I have been saving one more question to ask them.
The question concerns a drought that we had two years ago. Everybody in this village remembers that drought. Some villagers say it was the women who saved the village from starvation.

Mrs. Kamanga:
Yes, many people believe this. All of the women together — we collected wild fruits and vegetables to feed to our families. Many of us know where to find the plants and how to harvest them. We know how to prepare them for meals. These days, although there is no drought, we are still collecting these vegetables and fruits and preserving them. We save them in case of another drought.

MUSICAL BREAK.

Chief Kufa:
Dear listeners. Do you understand now my ideas about women farmers? I feel that women deserve more respect. In our community we would not survive without their contribution. And yet, as I said earlier, their concerns are often ignored. But their work allows us to survive and prosper. Women put visitors, men and children first. And yet often they eat last.

START MUSIC AND HOLD QUIETLY UNDER NARRATIVE(starting music here will emphasize the important points that the chief is about to discuss).

Chief Kufa:
I know what I can do. I can talk about this at village meetings. The other men on the village council listen to me. Together we can change some of the outdated attitudes so that women who feed their families receive the respect due to them.

We must consider this. Women produce most of our food. Listening to them and responding to their needs is the only way to increase food production in our villages.

HOLD MUSIC AND FADE OUT.

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Jennifer Pittet, Researcher/Writer, Toronto, Canada.

Reviewed by: Dr. Helen Hambly, Research Officer, International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR), The Hague, The Netherlands.

Information Sources

“Women and dryland post-harvesting practices in Tamil-Nadu, India,” S. Parvathi, K. Chandrakandan and C. Karthikeyan, Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor, Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2000. Centre for International Research and Advisory Networks, PO Box 29777, 2502 LT The Hague, The Netherlands.

“Organic farming lifts the status of women,” John W. Njoroge, Ecology and Farming, January 1996. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, Okozentrum Imsbach, D-66636 Tholey-Theley, Germany.

“African women farmers utilize local knowledge,” Monika Hoffmann-Kuehnel, ILEIA Newsletter, December 1989. Information Centre for Low-External Input and Sustainable Agriculture, Kastanjelaan 5, PO Box 64, 3830 AB Leusden, The Netherlands.