At 26 years old, Firoza Begum is setting an example in her community in northern Bangladesh when it comes to growing organic vegetables saving seeds. Using skills she gained in a USC Canada-supported training program, she produces vermi compost and bio-pesticides so she does not have to depend on commercial fertilizers and expensive pest control.
And she just sold a whole wack of chillis. With training in good storage techniques, she was able to save her chilli crop for sale in the off season - and make a premium for her effort.
Women are the cornerstone of sustainable, Earth-friendly agriculture. But women's work on the farm is very often unpaid and informal in the developing countries where USC Canada works with small-scale farmers. Though they are usually the hands that get food onto the family table, women's skill and value are overlooked and their work goes unrecognized.
In rural areas, like Firoza's village, young people do not always have access to formal education and they face high unemployment rates. They tend to migrate to large centres in search of work. Instead of jobs, they often find themselves in difficult and even dangerous situations surrounded by strangers. It is a story we see nearly everywhere we work, from Ethiopia to Honduras.
But with the opportunity to participate in their communities, young women can actually stay there. They feed the community and their families with more and better food, and help the local economy thrive through their new marketing ventures. Firoza has excelled in this and has become the president of her local Young Farmers group.
And her confidence grows alongside her skills. Today, she stands up in front of her peers and shares her knowledge and skills, something she would never have dreamed of doing a few years ago, she says. She inspires her neighbours through her work and many are adopting her techniques and adapting them for their own gardens.
You can provide training to one woman for a whole year for a donation of just $10.00. Plus if you donate today - Giving Tuesday - by 11:59 PM, your donation will be matched by a generous private donor. So you double your impact.