Enhancing resilience through gender equality
Between July 2012 and March 2015, CARE implemented a community-based adaptation project in Timor-Leste’s Liquiça district. The ‘Mudansa Klimatica iha Ambiente Seguru (MAKA’AS) project aimed to enhance access to safe drinking water, improve sanitation,promote climate-resilient livelihoods and reduce landslides and erosion.
Berta is one woman who has benefitted from MAKA’AS’ focus on gender equality. She became involved when she heard that the project was establishing farmer’s groups and running training on home gardens.
“Through the home gardens we are now able to produce enough vegetables for our families to eat but also to sell at the local market,” said Berta.
Since CARE delivered training in home gardening techniques, Berta has seen many changes in both her own life and the lives of group members. “Through the home gardens we are now able to produce enough vegetables for our families to eat but also to sell at the local market.” Being able to sell produce at the local market has meant that Berta and others in the group have started to invest in the future.
“With the money from selling vegetables, the women in our group have been able to pay children’s school fees and make improvements to their houses. I also recently bought some pigs which I plan to raise and then sell the piglets at the main market,” said Berta.
The changes have also been personal for Berta. “I have enjoyed learning new things through CARE’s program – group members support me to participate in the trainings and they depend on me to bring that knowledge and share it with them – I am proud that I can contribute to our group this way”.
Although Berta’s group has lost close to half its members since it formed, Berta is confident that she has a strong Farmers’ Group. “I am really happy because I have a strong group of women who all work together. We work in the home garden together – even though we have different plots we all share the work such as collecting bamboo for fencing. We have a sense of unity”. It’s this sense of unity and confidence that has led Berta to try new technologies on behalf of her group. For example, in partnership with CARE, Berta recently built and trialled a fuel efficient stove in her outdoor kitchen. “Before this stove I would spend a large part of my day collecting bundles of firewood for cooking and boiling water – one whole bundle would only last me for one day. Now using this stove there has been a big change – one bundle will last me for a whole week. I have much more time now to work in our home-garden and look after the children”.
“I have seen what is possible through the home-gardens and I want to be a part of that change,” said Berta