For the sake of the community: Hawa Hassan Abdela’s agricultural groups empower the women of Sudan

Hawa Hassan Abdela is 53 years old and lives in Sabarna village in the West of Sudan. Her family are farmers and their main harvest is sesame, groundnuts, sorghum and beans.

In 2018, Hawa and other two women from her village were selected for home gardening training under the European Union funded Integrated Improvement of Household Food Security project (IIHFS). The project is supported as a top up to the Water for Rural Sudan project funded by DFID. Women are the target beneficiaries of the IIHFS training programme. The curriculum includes skills development around land preparation, water harvest and techniques for diverse vegetable plantation. In addition to this, all trainees are provided with vegetable seeds and hand tools upon completion.

Inspired by her new skill development, Hawa was quick to organise a group of 15 women to pass on her knowledge and home gardening skills. In partnership with the two other women she trained with, they divided their vegetable seeds between themselves and each of the group members. Each woman was then able to plant salad leaf, tomato, okra, cucumber, hibiscus and eggplant in their back yards.

Hawa leads the team on a rotation scheme for planting and harvest to ensure that there is always enough for the whole group. Harvest from each home garden is divided in to two: one portion is to be shared among the group members for consumption and the second half is for selling on the market.   Since she started the group, they were able to save 12,500 SDG, leading to the group’s rental of a small plot of land. They plan to plant sesame and groundnut in the upcoming rainy season. In addition, they have acquired a plot of land to establish a shop to sell their harvest. Their harvest is collected by business men and taken up to Gadaref for sale.

The group call themselves Keyr Wal Barak which translates as good and blessed.  Keyr Wal Barka wants to be a model for others who strive to overcome their challenges in life. Hawa noted that there are many women in her village, who want to form a similar group and be part of the movement.

Hawa has become well known in her community for taking the initiative to make change. She is proud of her achievements and the group’s strong motivation. The group meet every 15 days discuss their current harvest plans and the future of their flourishing business.

Hawa said that the women in her community suffer a lot due to the lack of lack of water and health services. During dry season, women have to walk two hours to collect water. “We don’t have any health services in our village and if we get sick, we have to travel to Gadaref, and transportation is not always available.” Hawa aspires to have these services in her community one day.