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How women and youth are regenerating West African land and food production


The Power of Women and Youth in Spreading Agroecology to Re-green the Sahel

In the West African Sahel, scaling out strategies to regenerate degraded land and improve food production, including through Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration of trees (FMNR), requires the involvement and empowerment of women and youth.  If women and youth don’t lead and benefit from re-greening strategies, these are unlikely to spread or be sustained.  While most programs acknowledge this reality in theory, it is harder to implement in practice.  One reason is the limited power that women and youth have in making decisions and proposing alternatives in their households and communities. In many communities, women are responsible for collecting firewood from nearby land. Youth are often interested in earning money through charcoal production, or are involved in preparing farmland for production by felling trees or setting fires for hunting.  They have an interest in regenerative management of trees, land and income sources.  At the Beating the Famine conference, Groundswell and partners will highlight case studies from Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana on effective strategies for empowering women and youth and ensuring that they benefit from adopting and scaling agroecological practices for re-greening.

“Beating Famine  Sahel” Conference: 26th – 28th February 2019, Bamako, Mali

The third Beating Famine conference is being held this week in Mali.   The focus is on leveraging successful FMNR and ever greening strategies, massively scaling them, and inspiring a continental movement. 

The conference seeks to join multiple organizations and programs into a more impactful movement.  These include: the African Forest Landscapes Restoration Initiative (AFR100), with its goal of restoring 100 million hectares of degraded land; the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative; and the UN Action Plan for the Sahel.

The conference builds on the efforts and successes of key programs in the region such as World Vision and Groundswell International’s ‘Eco Agriculture in the African Sahel’ project in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; the EC-funded project on Scaling-Up EverGreen Agriculture’ in eight countries; the EC-AU-FAO supported Action Against Desertification project in support of the Great Green Wall; and the “Building Resilience in Africa Drylands Project” implemented by the FAO with partners.

Specific conference Objectives include: 
• Sharing successful strategies and developing roadmaps and planning process for national-level FMNR and evergreening/land restoration.
• Formalizing an evergreening movement in West Africa, by linking on-the-ground implementers with government institutions, policies, and strategies, and with the support and guidance of international donors for widespread land restoration (galvanizing support for the AFR100 Initiative, the Great Green Wall, Land Degradation Neutrality, and the UN Action Plan for the Sahel).
• Creating a supportive network of practitioners and sharing lessons within and beyond West Africa. 
• Mobilize technical & financial partners, as well as regional and global awareness, to expand the ever-greening movement. 

Please stay tuned and join us online for updates from “Beating Famine 3: The Sahel”, 26th – 28th February 2019, Bamako, Mali.

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