Monday, September 29, 2014

Imagining a Better Future: Young People and Agriculture

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A police officer? A professional athlete? A lawyer or doctor? Professions like these seemed cool at one time, and then maybe lost their appeal over the years. What changed? Maybe it was adult understanding winning out over childhood musings, or maybe it was the influence of others around you - family, friends, or peers. But however you got to your current work, you had to envision at some point that it was a possibility. That imagination can go a long way in people's lives and careers.

Food Tank has a great article (which you can check out here) describing a rapidly increasing problem: youth unemployment. As the article indicates, the UN predicts that globally, there will be 74.2 million unemployed young people this year. In a number of cases, farming may be the best professional choice for them to own their own businesses and lift their families out of poverty. 

With new technological innovations in farming, young people are the perfect candidates to learn the vocational and business skills needed to become the farmers of the future. Agriculture provides great economic opportunities for a demographic having difficulties finding jobs in other sectors. Farming also provides communities with access to fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables. In short, farming is a path that can improve the lives of individuals and communities.

Share this article with your friends and visit the Eliminate Poverty NOW website to learn how EPN and the industrious youth of the Farmers of the Future program are working to make farming a path that young people dream about and a path they can stick with.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Benefits of Supporting Women in Agriculture

One of the ways we'll be using the Eliminate Poverty NOW blog is to highlight related articles and videos addressing issues important to ending poverty around the world. Here's a good example.

We love to highlight how agriculture is being used to empower women. The positive social and economic impact that women can make is huge. When women are financially empowered they help not only themselves but all those around them. The FoodTank (a blog dedicated to sharing how we can end world hunger) recently posted an article and video discussing how additional resources provided to women farmers is a big plus for society as a whole. Supporting women farmers helps families (women typically invest more in raising children).  Closing the gender gap in farming also improves global economies and dramatically cuts down on global starvation. Watch the short, but insightful video right below:

For all these practical reasons, supporting women farmers is at the very heart of the work we do at Eliminate Poverty NOW. Empowering women helps end gender inequality, reduce poverty and reduce malnutrition by improving the food options of families across Africa. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

Help us support women in agriculture by sharing this article and information, or by supporting women farmers directly. At EPN we invest in women farmers through a variety of programs:  the Farmers of the Future program, the Songhai Women’s Capital Fund, and the √Člevage sheep raising program* to name a few.  We hope to provide as many women as possible with the opportunity to achieve their dreams in agriculture for their families and communities.

Do you know of other ways that women in agriculture benefit the world around us? Do you know of other creative ways to support them? Share your thoughts and comment below!

*√Člevage UpdateThe program is active with 41 women currently participating.  In addition to the 40 funded by EPN, the women have self-funded participation for another five.  Since then, two have moved away and two have passed, bringing participation down to 41. Repayment of the micro-loans has been 100% and no one has voluntarily dropped out of the program, which are both good signs.