Theresia, a farmer from South Sulawesi Province, shares how a gender awareness workshop changed her perspective and helped her and her family improve their livelihood.
“My husband is willing to help with the housework, feed the livestock and working harder in our cocoa farms. He has stopped playing cockfighting gambling,” Theresia, a 45-year-old housewife from East Luwu, South Sulawesi Province, Indonesia.
In September 2019, I joined the Catalyst Workshop and was introduced to the GALS (Gender Action Learning System) method where I realize I can visualize all my dreams and create a plan to put them into practice.
I used to know little about managing household expenses, a simple thing like reducing rice consumption. My old me cared less about my financial condition but now I really put close attention to my family expenses, and I can even generate additional income besides cocoa. There are indeed economic benefits, I experience, from this training.
During pilot times, I also noticed few changes in my husband’s daily behaviour as he participated the workshop too. He is now willing to help me with the housework, feed the livestock and working harder in the cocoa farms. He stops cockfighting gambling and the cocks have been sold to pay for children's needs. Moreover, he also stops smoking and eager to earn extra money.
The first intention after joining the GALS workshop was to pay off the cooperative debts and saving money. It turned out that within a year, my husband and I were no longer in debt and we were even able to save some money from raising pigs and chickens and selling vegetables / fruits. These changes are important for us as the family financial condition is more controllable.
Well, it is not only the financial changes, but we also managed to replant 900 cacao trees on our two-hectares farms. Cocoa farms now are maintained in a more scheduled basis, such as pruning, sanitation, pest control and regular fertilizer application. Three of our children go to school outside the city, and when they are home, we have extra hands in the farm as they also care about our shared dream.
Based on my experience above, I shared knowledge about GALS to the women farmer group and they are eager to participate in the Swisscontact’s agribusiness activities by planting papaya, vegetables and making organic compost, and selling it as a group additional income.
“I am so grateful to join this program. I feel like a different woman now. I can share knowledge, listen to, and see other people's conditions and give advice to the ones I care in the community. In the past, I was less care to the family and surrounding conditions, but now I am more than eager to make my dreams come true and help others to reach their dreams too.”
Theresia is champion farmer in Swisscontact’s SCPP program who joined a pilot activity called Equality for Sustainability Cocoa Production. ESCP aims to improve equality between women and men in the agricultural sector. It supports smallholder households to balance and share their roles in adopting good sustainable farming practices.