Interface with rural women marks ‘International Day of Rural Women’
Dimapur, Oct. 15 (EMN): Coinciding with the National Women Farmers’ Day, the North East Network (NEN) observed the ‘International Day of Rural Women’ on October 15 by bringing together government agencies, women organisations, village leaders, CBO, NGO and the public for an interface with rural women in Phek town on the theme “Rural women and girls building resilience in the wake of Covid-19.”
An update from NEN stated that the event highlighted the vital role women play in sustaining rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall social well-being. It added that NEN took the occasion to call for action towards supporting rural women and girls and grow their capacities to respond to climate change through sustainable food production and natural resource management.
The project director of Rural Development and guest speaker, Razukhru Vasa, acknowledged the contributions of women toward their families and society at large. In particular, he lauded the achievements of younger women who are doing much better than their male counterparts in terms of education and career pursuits in recent times including employment in the government sector.
He further encouraged the younger women to seize the numerous career opportunities that are available for women and girls through various women oriented programmes.
Vilazonuo Gloria, NEN programme associate, shared the research findings on micronutrient rich and climate resilient crops, a study conducted by NEN in partnership with North East Slow Food for Agro-biodiversity (NESFAS), Meghalaya, in 2018- 2020.
The findings highlighted the importance of indigenous food for the nutritional security of the communities.
“Our community has a rich biodiversity, however they are being neglected and unutilised,” she noted.
Vekhotalu Lea, farmer and a woman leader from Pfutsero, shared her experience of the pandemic and her struggles as a mother to create space for her child’s education at home and also provide food with limited resources through the lockdown. Lea, who is also a leader of the self employed women’s association (Sewa), also shared about organising the farmer-members’ agricultural produce and connecting it to their vendor-members in Kohima and Dimapur, who were struggling to eke a living at both ends.
Wedele T Mero, a farmer, entrepreneur and women leader from Chizami village, elucidated the need to protect and promote indigenous seeds and traditional knowledge in order to build a more sustainable and resilient community. She appealed to the government to support initiatives such as community seed banks and diversity-based agriculture.
While sharing the experience of Chizami, she called on the need to include women in all decision-making processes.
The second session on the theme “Achieving gender inclusive and equitable livelihood- A conversation on state programmes and schemes,” saw the participation of representatives from different departments. It stated that various departments have shared about women centric programmes, ongoing schemes and resources which could be availed by women farmers.
Other highlights of the event included ‘Women farmers’ market’ which saw the participation of 10 communities from Phek district with diverse products. The market provided a platform for the farmers to exhibit the rich agro-biodiversity of the district.
Altogether, 120 farmers, government departments participated in the event. It further stated that a photo exhibition and seed exhibition generated interest amongst the participants.