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Reduce Food Insecurity in ZimbabweEsnath Divasoni is changing the game when it comes to how the world thinks about food and sustainability. The 33-year-old rural Zimbabwean “edible-insect farmer” is promoting the cultivation of crickets and other types of insects as a source of nutrition and sustenance that could help reduce food insecurity in Zimbabwe and across sub-Saharan Africa.

Divasoni’s Education

Divasoni’s journey to becoming an insect farming expert is a long and impressive one. Thanks to CAMFED, a pan-African non-governmental organization that campaigns for marginalized females to receive strong educations, Divasoni was able to attend secondary school. CAMFED also enabled her to later attend EARTH University in Costa Rica.

She was the first person from her village to travel abroad to receive an education. EARTH University served as a jumping-off point for Divasoni, who studied agricultural sciences at the school in San José, Costa Rica. There, she discovered the potential of insects in combating food insecurity in developing nations.

Divasoni grew up collecting insects in plastic bags and picking worms from trees around her family’s farm. Loving the taste of insects herself, she began to research how she could turn bugs into a reliable food source. She has since received funding from The Resolution Project, a nonprofit that funds, mentors and supports young leaders with global, innovative ideas, for her project that she calls Jumping Protein.

Why Crickets?

The practice of harvesting crickets brings with it a plethora of benefits, the primary benefit being nutritional value. More protein-rich than beef or chicken and low in fat, 100-200 grams of crickets can feed and nourish a family of four to five. With Divasoni’s market rate of $1 for a 50-gram pack, Divasoni’s cricket endeavor brings in an income to reduce poverty all while aiding those suffering from food insecurity in Zimbabwe.

Unlike locusts, since crickets are incapable of flight and have many natural predators, increasing the number of crickets in a local ecosystem does not pose any biological risks. Locust plagues can decimate crops, a phenomenon well-known in Africa, but with crickets, the risk level is much lower. Cricket farming is both cost and space-efficient, and in addition, cricket excrement can be used as fertilizer.

Divasoni’s cricket farm is now up and running. She has around 20 plastic washing tubs, which she uses as feeding containers for the insects. The bugs take between five and eight weeks to mature, at which point Divasoni collects their eggs for the next cycle before harvesting around one kilogram of crickets per tub.

The Potential Impact

Food insecurity in Zimbabwe is a pressing issue, especially in the country’s rural areas. In 2019, estimates from the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee calculated that roughly 5.5 million people in Zimbabwe’s rural areas were food insecure during the countries peak “lean season,” which occurs between planting and harvesting periods.

Through insects, Divasoni hopes to alleviate the hardship of food insecurity that afflicts millions who grow up in rural villages. Since the project is in its earlier stages, data is limited on the full impact of the Jumping Protein initiative. There is plenty of room and opportunity for growth across Zimbabwe and beyond. The “global edible insect market” is estimated to reach close to $8 billion by the year 2030.

Divasoni is multiplying her impact through teaching with the help of CAMFED. She is one of the core trainers in the CAMFED Agricultural Guide program, which has led hundreds of training sessions in eight rural districts across Zimbabwe. These sessions specifically focus on women, empowering them with innovative farming techniques like insect farming. All of the resources needed to start a farm like Divasoni’s are available locally for many Zimbabwean farmers.

Looking to the Future

Practices and innovations like cricket farming could revolutionize the entire concept of agriculture in areas with high food insecurity in Zimbabwe. Thanks to various nonprofits that invest in global aid in underserved areas, Divasoni was able to make Jumping Protein a reality. Through the perfect blend of agricultural education, local knowledge and commitment to her community, this project has the potential to feed an entire nation.

– Sam Dils
Photo: Flickr

Keep Young Girls in School
CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education), a nonprofit providing unprecedented opportunity to young girls in the sub-Saharan regions of Africa, emerged in 1993. According to a study by the World Literacy Foundation in 2015, of the 781 million illiterate people around the world, two-thirds of the people within that total are women. CAMFED is an organization working on keeping young girls in school by helping alleviate the financial burdens of families that want to give their daughters education but may not have the means to.

CAMFED’s Motivation

Upon the organization’s origin in Zimbabwe, it provided financial support for 32 girls, inevitably keeping young girls in school. The initial purpose of the nonprofit was to showcase that if poverty was no longer an obstacle, the cultural norms would become nonexistent, and girls would attend school alongside boys if given the opportunity. This purpose still lies at the forefront of the nonprofit’s premise and has helped it grow exponentially over the past 26 years.

CAMFED’s IMPACT

As of 2019, CAMFED has already supported 3.3 million girls in school across sub-Saharan Africa, with nearly 6 million benefiting from an improved educational environment. It supported approximately 52,700 children through primary school just in 2018 alone, in addition to the 64,700 supported through secondary schools. The girls’ communities choose them to become a part of the program because they know better than anyone which girls are the most vulnerable and deserving of the organization’s help.

CAMPED’s work extends far beyond the realm of the classroom, however. It provides uniforms, school supplies and sanitary products to support each girl to the full extent that it can. The organization is unique in the sense that it personally invests in the welfare and success of each girl that it takes under its wing. The organization also helps the girls find jobs upon graduation, and while a majority of the women have gone on to become teachers or doctors, many have started their own businesses. The girls that were a part of the first group still involve themselves in the organization and have founded the CAMA alumnae network, which now has grown to 138,000 members. It is a way for them to mentor young women and advocate for the program that changed their lives for the better.

CAMFED and Michelle Obama

The organization is primarily internationally based and has offices in the U.S.A, Canada and the United Kingdom. It receives most of its funds from various government contributions and large statutory organizations, but also receives support from individuals. In October 2018, former first lady Michelle Obama welcomed the CAMFED alumnae chapter, CAMA, to the Global Girls Alliance. It was her first major acquisition of a program that she made for the Obama Foundation and a momentous one for the nonprofit. The organization exists on the premise of the rights of women as grassroots leaders and the importance of keeping young girls in school to help alleviate the obstacles that a majority of women around the world are facing.

– Joanna Buoniconti
Photo: Flickr

Female Empowerment
Women face difficulties all over the world but especially in developing countries. Global nonprofit organizations play a key role in promoting female empowerment in areas such as education, health care and employment. They recognize that when you empower women, you empower entire communities and countries.

Here are 10 organizations that help women around the world.

10 Organizations that Help Women Around the World

  1. Women’s Global Empowerment Fund
    This nonprofit organization was founded in 2007 and works to provide women in Uganda with access to microcredit loans, business and leadership development training, literacy, health initiatives and more. Karen Sugar, Women’s Global Empowerment Fund Founder, created the organization with the idea that microfinance, when bundled with educational programming, can increase the potential for women’s empowerment and success.
  2. Center for Reproductive Rights
    The goal of this organization is to help promote a world where women are free to make their own decisions about kids and marriage. The organization strives to create a safe space where women can make these decisions without conflict. According to its website, the Center for Reproductive Rights is the only global legal advocacy organization dedicated to reproductive rights.
  3. World Pulse
    World Pulse makes the list of organizations that help women by using the power of technology and social media to connect women worldwide. They are a social network that gives women the opportunity to connect, unite, share, launch movements and run for office. Overall, World Pulse’s goal is to create a world, online and off, where women can flourish.
  4. The Girl Effect
    Through the idea that creativity empowers, The Girl Effect builds vibrant youth brands. The organization operates globally, from places like Ethiopia to the Philippines, to help girls and women worldwide share their stories of growing into adulthood through mobile platforms. Through self-expression and community support, The Girl Effect believes that every girl can begin to value herself, build quality relationships and get access and education about things she needs.
  5. Global Fund for Women
    The Global Fund for Women supports and advocates for groups led by women who demand equal rights in their communities. This organization fights for some of the most important ingredients for women’s human rights: reproductive rights, freedom from violence, leadership and more.
  6. New Light
    New Light is an organization that provides children of sex workers with a safe haven—especially at night time. The organization is located deep inside the red-light district of Kalighat, Kolkata. New Light has grown from caring for nine children in the year 2000 to 250 children of many different ages currently. The organization provides education, healthcare, nutritional support, a recreational facility, HIV/AIDS care, income opportunities for the mothers and residential care. New Light also fights against gender-based violence.
  7. Global Grassroots
    The mission of this organization is to promote leadership in women and girls in their communities. The goal is to educate women on Conscious Social Change, which is a methodology that “employs mindfulness throughout the process of designing a social solution.” Global Grassroots works to create a world where all women and girls have the ability to pursue their own dreams and ideas and turn them into something impactful in their own community. There are two main programs: Academy for Conscious Change, which works with marginalized and impoverished women in post-conflict regions and Young Women’s Academy for Conscious Change which is for young women who are between high school graduation and university enrollment.
  8. Global Goods Partners
    Global Goods Partners’ (GGP) goal is to provide artisan jobs for women. This not-for-profit social enterprise has partnered with over 60 artisan, women-led organizations throughout Asia, Africa and the Americas. GGP invests all of the proceeds from product sales to provide training, funding and sustainable market access.
  9. BRAC
    BRAC fights against the obstacles that prevent children in developing countries from receiving a quality education including violence, discrimination, displacement and extreme poverty. Although BRAC works to help every child, the organization focuses especially on women and girls and making sure they have the ability to take control of their own lives. The organization provides educational programs in six countries, boasting the largest secular, private education system worldwide. There are more than 900,000 students enrolled in BRAC primary schools all over the world.
  10. CAMFED
    The Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) is an international non-profit focused on supporting marginalized girls to succeed through education. CAMFED, which is African-led has supported approximately 2.6 million children to go to school. There are 120,000 women involved in their alumnae network that multiplies donor investments in girls’ education.

– Malena Larsen
Photo: Flickr

Global Women's Rights OrganizationsIn the fight for global poverty, we must also examine the fight for global women’s rights. In fact, giving women equality and empowering them to use it is a key to a world where global poverty is abolished. This is the case because as the amount of women in the workforce increases, so does overall productivity. It is also proven that when women have more say over the household spending, it can enhance a country’s growth prospects because women tend to spend money in a way that benefits children in their education. Lastly, empowering women to be leaders allows for more diversity among people who are creating social policy, which will allow different topics to be addressed, such as greater provision of public goods.

So while organizations that directly target ending global poverty are important, it is equally as important to recognize global women’s rights organizations for the world-altering work that they do. Here are five organizations that are taking part in the fight for global women’s rights and in turn helping to reduce global poverty.

Global Fund for Women
The Global Fund for Women is an organization founded in 1987 by Anne Firth Murray, Frances Kissling, Laura Lederer and Nita Barrow. They believed that women’s rights are the key to social, economic and political change. The Global Fund for Women finds and gives funding to women who are building social movements and challenging societal norms.

MADRE
MADRE is an organization that is “demanding rights, resources and results for women worldwide.” They partner with community-based women’s groups that are facing disaster and advocate for human rights. Some of their missions include ending violence against women, ending rape as a weapon of war, economic justice, women’s health and emergency relief.

Campaign for Female Education (Camfed)
Camfed is a non-profit that supports and empowers young girls in rural areas to go to school and even become leaders. Their efforts specifically focus on sub-Saharan Africa, and since 1993 the organization has helped 1,876,214 students to go to school.

The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
AWID is a global feminist organization. The objective of AWID is to strengthen the collective voice of women to create global change. Their priority areas are women’s rights, challenging religious fundamentalists, promoting young feminist activism and economic justice.

International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC)
The IWHC views women’s rights as a key component of social, environmental and economic reform. Their goal is to ensure that all women have equal access to resources to protect their health, make informed family planning decisions, and participate in society through leadership roles.

All of these organizations are doing important work to address specific goals on the path to global women’s rights. By improving the lives of women all over the world, they also play a major role in alleviating poverty as a whole.

Téa Franco
Photo: Flickr