Supporting Women Farmers, Building Their Confidence

Khat Sokhim, treasurer of Ronakse Preah Khan Aphiwat Agricultural Cooperative in the district of the same name, presents and explains accurately to a group of a dozen women the do’s and don’ts of growing organic rice. Photo: Oxfam

Supporting Women Farmers, Building Their Confidence

Oxfam’s flagship program, Gender Transformative and Responsible Agribusiness Investment in South East Asia Phase 2 (GRAISEA, 2018–2021) is supporting women in acquiring skills and building up their confidence to realize their potential as leaders.

“I can’t read Khmer very well, but I’ll do my best.” We often hear comments like that from women we meet in rural areas, even if they have responsibilities in their community. They are capable, motivated and quick to learn. But their self-confidence is often clouded by society and sometimes their own entourage that reminds them that they have not completed formal education or even primary school.

Obstacles and needs

The amount of time each woman devotes to household and family care is a key factor affecting their ability to give full attention to their community work. But overwhelmingly, they have voiced the feeling that their low level of education and lack of specific soft skills are preventing them from fulfilling their potential of doing much more. They asked for support to learn skills that most people in cities take for granted: how to use a computer, how to take meeting minutes, how to make a presentation.

With funding support from the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok, the Dutch company Sano Rice and Swedish company Axfood, along with Oxfam and its local partner, Development and Partnership in Action, will identify and select 35 current women leaders and women farmers who want to discover their leadership potential in order to provide them with capacity-building and support.

By the end of the program, we hope to contribute to a new generation of women leaders who drive their community towards prosperity with confidence and hope in the future.