Across Liberia, people rely on the country's lush forests to survive. They hunt animals for meat. They clear trees to grow rice and other crops. Slowly, they're destroying what remains of the Upper Guinean forest region and its rich biodiversity. And life isn't easy for Liberia's forest communities. Many struggle to feed their children. Their livelihoods are anything but stable. Pact is addressing both problems with its signature WORTH program, which reduces poverty and empowers women through village banking and entrepreneurship. In Liberia, Pact is implementing WORTH with funding from USAID as part of the FIFES project. Through WORTH, Liberian forest communities are developing new, reliable livelihoods that don’t harm forests. In groups of about 20, WORTH brings women together to save money, access credit and generate income. They make small savings deposits at weekly meetings, and when groups’ funds grow large enough, members may begin taking loans to start small businesses. Groups receive literacy, numeracy and business training. For these women – and for their families, communities and forests – WORTH is making all the difference. In this photo, WORTH members proudly hold up their program guide books. Photo taken Feb. 2017 in Nimba, Liberia.
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Nelia is faced with new challenges in Mozambique, including the cycle of frequent droughts and drenching rains. Through her involvement with the Resilient Agricultural Markets Activity project in the Beira Corridor of Mozambique, she is learning how to increase productivity, profitability and resilience of her farm through the adoption of conservation agricultural practices, like low/no tillage, soil coverage and crop diversification. Key to the success of this work is training of model family farmers - like Nelia - who demonstrate the benefits of conservation agriculture in their own fields.
Indigenous women farmers in Bataraza, southern Palawan, Philippines, plant upland rice in now-controlled slash-and-burn areas. Bataraza is a municipality nestled in the foothills of Mount Mantaligahan, 140 km south of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, Phiippines. Within the vast Mount Mantalingahan mountain range lies the Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape. Covering 120,457 hectares of forest, this protected area serves as the headwater of 33 watersheds and is home to many highly-endangered wildlife species. In terms of farming, slash-and-burn agriculture has been used by the local communities for many generations, but its effect in today’s diminishing state of natural resources has been destructive and unsustainable. The USAID-funded Protect Wildlife Project, in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, is helping indigenous people improve upland farming and strengthen local livelihoods so they won't need to expand their slash-and-burn areas or resort to wildlife poaching just to make ends meet. These women farmers have been taught the proper upland farming techniques, such as using a minimum land area for inter-cropping of vegetables and fruit trees. Slash-and-burn agriculture causes deforestation, accidental fires, habitat and species loss, increased air pollution and the release of carbon into the atmosphere, which contributes to global climate change. Photo taken in Palawan, Philippines on June 18, 2019.
In March 2019, in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, an ethnic minority woman practices receiving money on her mobile phone for the first time through Vietnam's Payments for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) mechanism. The PFES program addresses climate change by providing financial compensation to people living in the forest to protect and improve the landscape. The USAID/Vietnam’s Vietnam Forests and Deltas project improves the transparency and accountability of PFES by supporting the transition from cash-based payments to electronic payments. This Vietnam Forests and Deltas project is implemented by Winrock International in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam.
Within the framework of the “Alliance for Sustainable Landscapes and Markets”, financed by USAID and implemented by Rainforest Alliance in Mexico, we strengthen resilient, sustainable farm, and forestland management of coffee producers in Chiapas. One of the main goals with our partner Olam is to reforest 4,000 hectares around coffee farms in Chiapas in order to preserve the region’s natural resources and strengthen the forest management of coffee producers. Women from the collective “Oro Verde”, who are working with Olam, are implementing sustainable practices in reforestation and landscape restoration like soil conservation, waste management, plant nurseries management, and tree planting. The inclusion of women in community-led actions for reforestation and landscape restoration is essential to accomplish more and better results in sustainable forestry management and climate smart agriculture. Photo taken in Sinai, Chiapas, 2019.
All over the world women are excelling in roles that were previously reserved for men. Living proof of this paradigm shift can be found in Liberia, where more and more women are training to be Community Ecoguards, a position that has traditionally been male-dominated at Grebo-Krahn National Park. These are two newly recruited female Community Ecoguards, Felecia Kyne (left) and Mathaline Garley (right), improve their GPS skills during their first field mission in Grebo-Krahn National Park in April 2018. The active participation of women in the Ecoguard Program, run by the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation and the Forestry Development Authority with support from the USAID funded West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change program, is protecting one of the biggest tropical rainforests in the world thus promoting carbon sequestration and storage.
A women's farmers group helps one of their own build a living fence along the perimeter of her property in Senegal. The group of 25 women support one another by lending a hand in the field and through their village savings and loan club.
Fradian Murray, a research assistant, assesses a cassava trial plot in Saint Thomas, Jamaica. Through the USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change project, Fradian is helping smallholder farmers, including women, sell their cassava crop to the Jamaican beer company Red Stripe and secure better livelihoods and futures in the face of mounting climate risks.
Nagele Boru cuts grass from a community enclosure to feed her calves. She and her husband worked on the enclosure as part of the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), a large-scale, Government of Ethiopia-implemented, multi-donor-funded program that aims to help people escape food insecurity in Ethiopia. Funding more than 20 percent of PSNP’s budget between 2010 and 2014, USAID was the program’s largest bilateral donor. This program helped to cushion vulnerable groups from shocks and increase their resilience by providing predictable and timely food transfers while they work to build community assets and enhance their livelihoods. Nationwide, the PSNP reached 6.4 million people, 1.5 million of them through USAID support. In pastoral areas, USAID’s PSNP programs supported 162,728 people in the Somali Region and the Borena Zone of the Oromia Region. Working with the Ethiopian Government, other donors and implementing partners, USAID is also helping design the next generation of PSNP programs through developing more sustainable approaches to protecting and building household and community assets for people in pastoral areas. PSNP public works reduce communities’ risks and improve resilience through a wide range of activities, including fodder production, infrastructure construction, soil, and water.