Assibi Sumani, a soybean farmer, is married and lives with her husband and five children in northern Ghana. Before Assibi became involved with MEDA’s GROW (Greater Opportunities for Rural Women) project, life had many financial challenges for her family. The couple struggled to pay their children’s school fees and lacked the resources to make basic improvements to their home.
“Good shelter was a problem to me and my family,” said Assibi. “The roof I was lying under was very bad and my children and I were at the mercy of bad weather. My children were frequently attacked with malaria and sometimes dangerous reptiles.”
Two years ago, Assibi joined GROW. She still remembers the field officers coming to her community to conduct a training session on financial management. The field officer told the women a story about a Mr. Abu and his wife who were trying to manage their resources to achieve their plans. The couple sat together and budgeted so that they could reach their goal.
“I smiled upon hearing their story,” recalls Assibi. “I had my soya revenue, including the 2014 harvest, and started building a two-bedroom house.”
In fact, in her first year with GROW she cultivated two acres of soybeans and harvested 10 bags – about 1,000 kg. Thanks to the profits from her soybean farm, Assibi was building a new house for her and her family.
“I am happy that within just two years of my being with the GROW project I have been able to build this for myself and my family. At least my family can have a better place for their heads and not be afraid when the next rain will come.”
She refers to the story of the Abus, and how it helped show her and her husband the importance of planning together to share ideas and allocate money for different projects. They look at the needs of the children, their school fees and what is needed to finance their farming business.
“The GROW project has shown us how to plan in life and taught us agronomic practices on how to plant soybeans, so we have been able to do that with good yield.”
Now in her third year with GROW, Assibi is again cultivating two acres of soybeans. She hopes for a good harvest so she can sell her crop and use the money to pay school fees and feed her family. Thinking ahead, Assibi knows she and her husband will soon grow old and want to secure their children’s future so they will care for their parents in their later years.
Assibi’s husband is happy his wife is now able to support the family, especially because he has been sick lately and unable to do so. After two years with GROW, Assibi has seen its benefits and offers this advice to her fellow women farmers:
“Take your work seriously. For now you will not see the benefit, but in the future, you will improve your lives.”