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Popya - WIAN erects garden at orphanage

2020-06-03  Paheja Siririka

Popya - WIAN erects garden at orphanage

The Women in Agriculture Namibia (WIAN) club has decided to erect gardens at orphanage so that those affected by Covid-19 can be able to feed themselves during this pandemic.
Most disadvantaged communities will have to rely on the government and other generous donors to aid them with food parcels during the pandemic. 

They (WIAN) planted onions, tomatoes, and spinach as well as pawpaw and guava trees at the Prayer House of God Orphanage, situated in the Havana informal settlement, which houses about 19 children aged between one and 14 years old. 
Founded by Helvi Shindume (21), an agriculture student at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust), the main objective of the club is to share information with women in agriculture and do noble deeds such as this.  
“Apart from that, we network, coordinate training programmes and innovative projects in partnership with government agencies, private institutions and NGOs,” revealed Shindume.

Being judged by her peers for studying Agriculture in school has led this young farmer to robustly pursue the course and eventually establish the WIAN organization last year for the sole purpose of empowering women through information sharing in the field. She said: “I was judged by my friends as they would always make comments saying I would not get a job if I study Agriculture because there is no market for it in the industry. After carefully analysing what the people around me say about pursuing a career in agriculture, I came to realise that people and especially the youth needed to change their perspective towards agriculture, especially women in agriculture.” 
Her passion for farming started in primary school where Agriculture was her favourite subject and always performed exceptionally well. “Women are coming into agriculture for various reasons, some have inherited certain property, some are embarking on a second career choice and then you have those like me who cannot bear the burden of an office job,” enlightened Shindume.

With the aim of reinforcing the role of women in agriculture, the club has about 200 members including five who are responsible for different tasks within the club. “There are 200 members who are proactively dynamic in their communities. Most are small scale farmers, that produce for their households and populace in their vicinities while some are qualified agriculturalists with whom we share a common goal.” 

Pursuing a career in agriculture as a woman is not necessarily a walk in the park, as it took failure, compromising her decisions to study agriculture with family and friends. 

Shindume stated: “The club is in the process of engaging youth institutions, the ministry of agriculture, other line ministries and the private sector to seek more support in order to realise the club’s envisaged projects and programmes and contribute to the socio-economic development and Namibia’s national food security.” 

In agriculture, particularly women face challenges that significantly limit their potential to be productive. “It is vital that women discuss these challenges to find solutions and receive the relevant support they require. The imperativeness of women actively engaging in agricultural activities plays a vital role in combatting negative social issues. The recognition of their efforts will motivate women to do more work in each of their sectors and in the process, inspire others to do the same. This is why I decided to set up a club for women. 
Shindume mentioned that: “Developing countries like Namibia need to untangle the potential benefits African countries could get if they would strive for greater gender equality in their agricultural sectors to ensure food security. When women control land, real social change takes place, research shows that families are better fed, better educated and healthier when women are in charge.”

2020-06-03  Paheja Siririka

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