The Women’s Program encourages extension and education regarding financial literacy and agricultural capacity to smallholder farmers, specifically women, to improve their practices and yields, and, therefore, their livelihoods. This training consists of proper agronomic practices and training in pest and disease control, harvest techniques, post-harvest handling and storage practices. Trainings on animal health and home and business finances also occur. The women are working to form cooperatives and are also participating in Village Savings and Loan Associations, where they have access to small loans to purchase inputs and equipment. They repay the loans at a small interest rate when they harvest. At the end of the saving period, typically in February, women receive the money they have saved, plus the interest earned. As part of this program, the women receive assistance with plowing, tools, and seeds.
A new initiative being explored by Field of Hope is open community trainings, whereby local farmers are welcome to attend general agricultural trainings held at the facilities of our children’s home partners. These training occur once a month, and Field of Hope trainers work with farmers on specific topics farmers have questions about or are challenged with in their own gardens. Intertwined in the agri-science topics is instruction on finances, business, marketing, and proper crop care and storage.