Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty
Ethiopia, six hours’ walking distance from Butajira, somewhere in the mountains in Ageta: home to Sirbege Umer Hassan, one of many millions of women worldwide who live and work in rural areas. After the sudden death of her husband, Sirbege tirelessly continued farming as substistence farming is central to their livelihood
Rural women are key agents for achieving the transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development.
But they face a large amount of challenges like limited access to credit, health care and education.
That is also true for Sirbege, who above all was about to go blind due to cataract. Her visual impairment forced her to stop farming. Her 15-years-old niece had to take care of her. Realities like that lead many families throughout the world into severe food crisis. An estimated one billion persons with disabilities worldwide remain one of the most vulnerable groups due to social and economic exclusion.
Yesterday’s International Day of Rural Women recognizes the role of rural women in improving food security and eradicting rural poverty. It is purposely observed the day before World Food Day in order to highlight the importance of the role rural women play in these areas.
Empowering them is key not only to the well-being of individuals, families and rural communities, but also to overall economic productivity, given women’s large presence in the agricultural workforce worldwide. According to the United Nations women comprise on average 43% of the agriculture labour force but comprise less than 20% of land ownership. The same time they are responsible for 85-90 % of household food preparation.
That is why especially rural women need attention, support and social protection. Millions of persons worldwide - just like Sirbege who had never seen a doctor in her entire life before her cataract surgery at a hospital supported by LIGHT FOR THE WORLD - still face difficulties related to discrimination, marginalization, social exclusion and severe poverty. Without inclusion - no end to poverty!