Zan va Zamin (Women and Earth) was founded by a group of female activists to overcome the social and economic challenges resulting from the civil war in Tajikistan. The organization works to attain access to land for landless farmers, supports diversified farming methods, and promotes the conservation of biodiversity through responsible natural resource management. Over 2,000 farmers have received land parcels as a result of the group’s advocacy. The organization has resisted prevailing agricultural trends in the country, which favor monocultures and cash crops such as cotton. Traditional ecological knowledge is combined with modern farming technology to improve agricultural productivity and crop diversification. Solar vegetable dryers, solar-powered greenhouses, and energy-efficient ovens have all been provided to the poorer segments of the community.
The group has established twelve ‘field schools’ where famers can learn ecoagriculture techniques, and which produce over 1,000 tons of vegetables annually. Two community orchards contain over 10,000 trees, the majority of which are traditional varieties of apple, pear, grape, apricot, and peach. Diversification of crops has prevented land degradation, reduced food shortages and strengthened food sovereignty, and improved local incomes. Over thirty ‘seed banks’ and thirty ‘revolving funds’ have been launched to create opportunities for local entrepreneurs. A percentage of profits from resulting revenues are reinvested into community works projects, including in health and education.
Click here to read about Women and Earth's national awards ceremony.