Susana Tefa is a poor farmer in Op village, West Timor. Like countless others in Op and nearby villages, she and her husband are always looking for ways to improve their lives and livelihoods. So, Susana was glad for the opportunity to join CWS-led Timor Zero Hunger project activities, which are open to all who are interested and motivated. “I joined in all the activities I could. I joined the savings and loan group, and learned a lot in the business education sessions”.
Importantly, Susana joined other farmers in a drip irrigation group at their community garden. This group makes it possible for Susana and others to plant and harvest vegetables three or four times a year, so they no longer need to buy vegetables in the market. And, in fact, they have surplus to sell. “So, now I have improved our family income and our nutrition”, Susana says with pride. Another point of pride is having money to put into the savings group. This gives her possibilities for the future, too, when she is confident to take a loan to expand her farming or other small business.
Timor Zero Hunger and its Berdaya (empowerment) initiative for women and girls help families improve their wellbeing by sharing information about modern and sustainable farming practices, teaching ways to diversify and increase income and giving opportunities for group savings and borrowing from self-help groups. As of now, 48 farmers in the villages where CWS works in West Timor are using drip irrigation systems and changed farming practices that make it possible for them to plant and harvest up to four times a year, which is a major change from past years when, without water, they were lucky to plant once or twice. In addition to newfound luck, the women who inspire CWS team members are those who add their hope and perseverance to make something of that luck.
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