November 9th, 2009


Kiva Women Farmers

Last month, Hilary Clinton wrote a piece in the Guardian which had the following paragraph near the beginning: Consider the world's typical small farmer. She lives in a rural village, rises before dawn, and walks miles to collect water. If drought, blight, or pests don't destroy her crops, she may raise enough to feed her family - and may even have some left over to
sell. But there's no road to the nearest market, and no one there who can afford to buy from her.
The she might surprise some people, but a large percentage of farmers throughout the world are female. One site was inspired to put together this fascinating collection of pictures of women farmers which gives some idea of the variety of women out there in agriculture.

And I've been inspired to make all my Kiva Loans this month to women farmers: Liliana from Peru and Joy in the Phillipines - both pig farmers; Juana in Bolivia, growing and selling vegetables; and a group loan to Mrs. Srey Mao Srun's Village Bank Group in Cambodia, she's a widow raising chickens.

Since I come from a farming background (we raised pigs at one time, and had a small-holding) this set of loans is particularly relevent to me. In some ways helping out on the farm is what let me go into computing; on a farm you tend to do what jobs you're capable of doing, so you rarely hear that's something's a man's job. You might not be able to do something because you're too short, or not strong enough, or don't have nimble fingers, but otherwise you just turn to and help out. When I thought about working in computers, it never crossed my mind that it might be a job for men, I just had to think about whether I could do the work.