Zenab for Women in Development is a grassroots organization that has organized local women into a farmers union. Started in 2005, the union has grown from 300 women in six communities to 3,000 women in 53 communities across Sudan. Smaller cooperatives make up the larger union, each of which provides a platform for female farmers to improve agricultural productivity and to exchange environmental good practice. The initiative supports the cultivation of drought-resilient crops and the provision of locally-relevant agricultural tools and technologies. Training is provided on organic agriculture, crop rotation and the use of biological fertilizers. Women now grow crops such as sunflowers and groundnuts alongside more traditional staples such as sorghum.
The organization has raised awareness about deforestation, distributed cooking gas to reduce the felling of trees for firewood, and engaged union members in reforestation and tree planting activities. In addition to strengthening the land tenure status of women, the initiative offers extensive health education programs which raise awareness about maternal health, family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention, and female genital mutilation. Union revenues are invested in rural primary schools, sanitation services, and fresh water access projects.
Click here to read about Zenab for Women in Development's national awards ceremony.