Photo Credit: Tara Clerkin/Clinton Foundation
Mar 23
March 23, 2015

Ceiling Breaker for Access to Economic Opportunity


Wazia Chawala is a lead farmer and demonstration plot owner in the Kililo district of the Iringa region of Tanzania. As a single mother of 7 children, Wazia relies on her agricultural produce to feed her family and as her primary source of income. Since joining the Clinton Development Initiative’s (CDI) Anchor Farm project, Wazia has become a top performing lead farmer. By learning new farming techniques and receiving better inputs, she has increased her yields by 1,000 percent! Now, she’s earned enough money to purchase a cow, and plans to start raising livestock, which will provide Wazia with more income and options to feed her family.

Many women in her community see Wazia’s success as a demonstration plot owner and look to her as an example of how they can improve their yields as well. Wazia takes what she has learned from her successes and shares information within her farmer group about planting details, such as spacing, seeding rates, and input application. The Anchor Farm Project, which began in Malawi in 2007 and expanded to Tanzania in 2013, is now working with more than 1,600 smallholder farmers in Tanzania alone – 47% of whom are women. Wazia has been essential is helping expand the project and in recruiting and educating more female farmers.

Wazia hopes that the next generation of women and girls will have access to a better and more advanced education with a focus on agriculture – an opportunity that many women in Tanzania do not have. She wants her daughters to learn as much as they can so that they can become strong women, better farmers, and care for their own families. Wazia serves as an important role model not only in her village, but also to women everywhere. As noted in the No Ceilings Full Participation Report, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization forecasts that if women farmers had the same access to productive resources as men, total agricultural output would rise, and the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million. Wazia is a living example of the significant economic contributions women can make, and is a reminder of the critical need for women to have equal access to agricultural inputs and market access.

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