There is no “I” in TEAM OXFAM Link and Learn 14 November 2012 KZN – SOUTH AFRICA
What is our overall missionWomen on Farms Project is a feminist organisation and ouroverall mission is to strengthen the capacity of farmwomento claim their rights and empower them to help transformtheir communities.
What do we try to ensure? Women are treated with respect and dignity Women have secure employment, food, access to land and housing Women have access to services like water, electricity and basic health services Women have a healthy social life in agricultural communities The environment is preserved for future generations
Who do we work with to influence change and why? Women who live and / or work on farms Partners in the land rights, health and labour sectors Officials and elected representatives on all three levels of government Producers in the industry
What are our core activities? Education and Capacity Building Advocacy and Lobbying Research Human rights case work
What strategies do we use to influence change? We build women’s organisation through women’s structures and women’s rights groups In structures women share similar experiences and initiate joint campaigns We help to develop the following structures / groups; - Land rights structures - Labour rights structures - Women’s cooperatives - Women’s health and empowerment groups - Young women’s groups
How do structures function? Structures are established on farms or farming communities Women in structures are trained and equipped by WFP staff Training sessions are either quarterly or monthly depending on the programme Monthly structure meetings to discuss progress, challenges and develop programmes Structures meet and operate independently, WFP staff will assist with challenges Structure members will develop and execute local campaigns Bigger campaigns are organised jointly by WFP and members Structure members are part of organisational decision-
What are some of the Lessons Learnt? Regular communication and contact between staff and members Record keeping of all communications and contact Transparency about funding allocations Managing power in the relationship Training in democratic feminist leadership Proper induction / orientation of farm women who represent communities on different levels Internal communication Political education (race, power, gender) Know the community and personal conditions of women
What are some of the challenges we experience? Economic factors, spatial distribution of farms, the history and politics of land ownership and the psychological sense of fear and dependency among farm workers. The slow pace of land reform and agrarian transformation in rural areas The combined effects of patriarchy, colonialism, slavery apartheid capitalism are deep rooted. There is not a clearly pronounced gender or feminist perspective in service delivery and campaigns Farmwomen’s needs run the risk of being marginalised or not identified within the broader development agendas Inadequate labour and tenure laws No proper enforcement of labour and tenure laws
Challenges at local level• high levels of poverty, with resultant social problems and gender dimensions.• Large geographical area, dispersed population, lack of public transport• Seasonal fluctuation of labour demand.• Strong dependence on WFP for resources.• Farm women often have low literacy and numeracy levels• Paternalism in South African agriculture• Dependency and perpetuate oppression and increase fear• Huge economic imbalances between farmer and farmwomen• Limited and lack of access to farms• Social and household responsibility• The legacy of the “Tot” or “Dop” system
What changes can be observed? RCC: deal with casework independently; local campaign for toilets and electricity; liaise with the municipality, police, health and social authorities on various matters Rawsonville Cooperative: sufficiently skilled and capacitated to independently negotiate with local authorities for land. They represented themselves in meetings with the mayor Klapmuts health team: challenged clinic staff on stigmatisation of HIV patients. De Doorns Labour rights structure: after receiving basic labour rights training they approached the Labour Department and challenged the farmer to pay money due to them. Simondium seasonal farm workers: Insisted on contracts Gettuida Baartman: represented farm women on international forum Policy Development: women present own experience.