One woman has dedicated her life to make a change by easing the challenges faced by women in rural areas starting with the farming community of Okushiebiade in Ga-East Municipal Assembly.

Josephine Agbo Nettey, founder of the Integrated Development in Focus is engrossed in training rural farmers mostly women in modern farming methods.

Women in farming especially in the rural of the country face many challenges thus are restricted to small-scale farming. This is mainly because a majority of them don't own the land and also don't have access to credit.

Her remarkable efforts have earned her a nomination in the 2018 MTN Heroes of Change as her NGO has provided employable skills to over 120 active women farmers and contributed to the regeneration of degraded lands.

Explaining her motivation, she said, "when I first entered the community whilst I was working with an NGO as a field worker on outreach duties, I saw a lot of arable and uninhabited land being destroyed by people mining sand on the land in the community, yet the people were poor.

"I planned that in future I will help to promote sustainable agricultural practices among 45 women farmers in the Okushiebiade Electoral Area to enable them to restore the degraded lands." 

She said they reclaimed the land through integrated water and soil management as a community-based forest woodlot/agroforestry that will prevent wild bushfires, natural regeneration of the degraded land for enrichment planting of crops.

Madam Nettey said she started with the building and sustaining capacities of women farmers to enable them to identify innovative strategies, approaches and models in linking trade and livelihoods to sustainable land management.

"My compassion towards women and children pushed me to start this project to help reduce poverty in this district which I hail from," she added.

According to her, they started in 2009 by providing each beneficiary with livestock (male and female), seedlings, farm tools and starting capital of GHC40.00. They received a grant from the Global Environmental Facility/Small Grant Programme (GEF-SGP).

Madam Nettey disclosed that she started the project with her personal savings as well as financial support from her husband.

She said apart from the grant GEF-SGP from 2009-2013, she also got support from the District Assembly who provided bulldozers to help us reclaim the lands.

They also received technical support from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

"I can say through this program I have impacted the lives of 1,200 rural farmers and over 200 families.

"Women and some men beneficiaries now enjoy improved and high produce on their farmlands and make enough sales to send their children to senior secondary schools of their choice," she added.