Indigenous peoples

Indigenous women of Africa make their contribution to food security visible

The photo contest was part of the Global Campaign for the Empowerment of Indigenous Women for Zero Hunger

08/03/2019 - 

FAO and the Samburu Women Trust launched the regional Photography Contest “Indigenous Women and Food Security in Africa”.

The objective was to make the different ways in which indigenous women contribute to food security and the economic and social development of their communities visible.

Among the several pictures submitted, the photography The Amazigh Kabyle women and the Olive Harvest was selected by the FAO and the Samburu Women Trust Committee as the first place winner.

“The Amazigh Kabyle women consider olive trees sacred, both for economic and cultural reasons. Olive oil is Kabyle’s main resource and the millenary olive tree symbolizes the attachment to roots and peace” explained the Kabyle Women's Association when they submitted the picture.

This photography contest is part of the Global Campaign for the Empowerment of Indigenous Women for Zero Hunger promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Indigenous Women Forum (FIMI/IIWF) and the News Agency of Indigenous and Afro-descendent Women (NOTIMIA).

“There are about 185 million indigenous women in the world, who contribute greatly to the sustainable development of their communities, through social and productive activities. However, this contribution is not always recognized” highlighted Emily Lerosion, Representative of the Samburu Women Trust.

Indigenous peoples and indigenous women in Africa are mostly pastoralists, hunter-gatherers, nomads, fishers and farmers.

“The empowerment of indigenous women is not only a central issue but also a necessary condition to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in the world. It is fundamental to raise awareness on the contributions that indigenous women make towards the achievement of Zero Hunger and to engage all stakeholders in eliminating the barriers that prevent indigenous women from enjoying their rights fully”, said Yon Fernandez de Larrinoa, FAO Indigenous Peoples Team Leader.

Laissa Malih, a Laikipian Maasai indigenous women, photographer and filmmaker, was selected as the second place winner.

Her photograph portrayed an elderly Samburu woman singing and dancing to a song sung by her fellow women.

“I believe indigenous women, when given a chance and empowered, can showcase huge strength in preserving culture and biodiversity as well as use indigenous technologies so as to promote as well as contribute to food security, not only in their communities but worldwide” explained the indigenous photographer.

Third place was given to Achabo Felicia Kutimfrom the Lysha Child World Development Initiative, for the submission of the Cassava Tubers photograph, which portrays indigenous women of the Gbemacha Mbahimin community in Benue, State of Nigeria.

“Cassava is a starchy tuberous root that is used for a variety of foods, for example the fufu (swallow). When pealed and dried, it can be ground along with corn to also make alebo (Turning food)”, highlighted Lycia Door from the Lysha Child World Development Initiative.

She added that the main challenges that indigenous women face for food production there are the limited access to fertilizer, due to gender bias and financial constraints, and the necessity to work with the additional burden of their little children strapped on their backs.

The winning photographs together with all the photographs submitted can be found in the Indigenous Women of Africa and Food Security Gallery (here).

With the #IndigenousWomen, visible women slogan the campaign calls on governments, the international community, academia, civil society, the media and the indigenous communities to make the contribution of indigenous women to social and economic development in disaggregated data and in public policies visible.

"It is necessary to make progress in national policies, not only in the fight against poverty, especially in policies with a gender approach and an indigenous approach," said José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director General while presenting this campaign, in January 2018 in Mexico City.

In addition to this photo Contest, FAO and NOTIMIA launched the Indigenous Women of Latin America and the Caribbean and Food Security Photo contest in 2018. The Gallery can be consulted here.

More Information

Samburu Women Trust

FAO in Africa

FAO Indigenous Peoples

African indigenous women become advocates of #ZeroHunger

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