Mrs. Vomgvilai Loungaphai has two children. She is a smallholder farmer in the Attapeu province in Lao P.D.R. Two years ago, she joined the SD=HS Farmer Field Schools. ‘In the Farmer Field School I learn how to manage the insects by distinguishing the good from the bad ones. I also learn to select seeds that perform well. I am now growing four different rice varieties and that is enough for me. My favorite variety is Mali, because it has a very good smell. My harvest doubled the last years because of the quality of the seeds. It is my wish is to also grow vegetables such as long beans and watermelons.’

SD=HS supports the efforts of farmers to organize their own work and learn from each other and from experts. The Program specifically empowers women farmers to claim their role in food production and seed management. Gender equity and social inclusion are addressed in the formation and implementation of the Farmer Field Schools. Gender-calibrated participatory tools such as the gender-specific activity clock and calendar allow the participants to identify how tasks and responsibilities in the household and on the farm are divided between women and men. Farmers reflect on the implications of these differences and ensure that FFS activities allow equal participation of both women and men.

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