We Know Food

Canadian Physicians for Aid & Relief (CPAR) supports long-term food security for farming families in vulnerable African communities. We emphasize the belief that small-scale farming is an effective means of sustaining livelihoods for communities in rural Sub-Saharan Africa in the face of global challenges such as climate change and fluctuating food prices.

Expanding Opportunities for Farmers
At the core of CPAR’s approach are a series of practices that expand opportunities for farmers to carry out competitive value-added agricultural production and marketing efforts. With an emphasis on local innovation and ownership, CPAR works with rural farming communities in Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania to improve year-round food security by:

  • Increasing knowledge and skills for sustainable farming;
  • Improving access to markets and thereby boosting farmers’ incomes;
  • Targeting the most vulnerable, including children, women, and people living with HIV;
  • Increasing production of high nutrient food to ensure children get the food they need to grow up healthy.

Establishing Farmer Field Schools
By establishing Farmer Field Schools (FFS), CPAR facilitates a process where farmers come together to share their local knowledge and expertise. The FFS approach allows CPAR to address the rights and needs of food producers in a larger context. It provides an opportunity for practical, hands-on methods of discovery learning that emphasizes experimentation, observation, discussion, analysis and collective decision-making. A few ways in which FFS contribute to an increase in food security include:

  • The sharing of information around new technologies;
  • Organizing seed fairs for farmers to learn about and access improved seed varieties;
  • The introduction of marketing, savings and microfinance techniques;
  • Information and training on crop and livelihood diversification.

Promoting Female Empowerment
It is widely known that women devote greater levels of income to their children’s health, nutrition and education, therefore, when greater levels of income fall within the control of women, the family and community as a whole benefits. With this in mind all FFS groups are gender-balanced or include more women than men. CPAR emphasises gender equity by encouraging women’s leadership in agriculture and engaging women and men farmers to challenge unequal gender relations. To further promote the empowerment of women farmers, they are encouraged to participate in:

  • Village savings and loans groups and other microfinance initiatives
  • Using technology and farming techniques traditionally reserved for men
  • Decision-making over crop and livelihood maintenance and production

Working through Farmer Field Schools, CPAR’s work contributes towards increased food production, improved nutrition and health, increased household income and overall sustainable development.

About CPAR
Canadian Physicians for Aid & Relief (CPAR) is a non-profit development organization that supports community efforts to ensure access to clean water, adequate food, primary health services and a safe and healthy environment.
CPAR works with community members in some of the most remote rural areas in Malawi, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania to implement long-term sustainable programs that are focused on real grassroots change.  

CPAR goes where the need is. We work with community members to provide access to life’s most basic needs despite challenges that might be posed by the environment or infrastructure.

Find out more: www.cpar.ca