Empowering Freetown's Women Farmers
In many of Africa’s cities, rapid urbanisation has led to an increased demand for food, along with a decreased ability for it to be grown in abandoned rural areas. In Freetown, Sierra Leone, this problem has been exacerbated by the civil war that occurred in the 1990’s, forcing large numbers of refugees into Freetown in search of safety, and destroying much of the infrastructure necessary for the generation and distribution of food. When there is an adequate supply of food in cities, cost remains a barrier for many families and food security remains low. Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) have become key tools by which individuals and family units improve both their food security and their livelihoods through the production, consumption and selling of food within the urban environment. UPA has been prominent in areas surrounding Freetown for generations, but is now gaining traction in the city centre as recent arrivals, in particular women, use it to support their families. Despite comprising some 80% of Freetown’s UPA practitioners, there is little research to date focusing specifically on the experiences of women farmers in Freetown. This research explores the way in which women are using and contributing to UPA in Freetown. After establishing its significance as a livelihood strategy for those involved, this research identifies key barriers and struggles that exist, many of which are specific, or more significant, to women. Key relationships that can be utilised to support these women farmers are identified and critiqued, and opportunities to strengthen these relationships and enhance UPA as a sustainable livelihood strategy are suggested.
Advisor: Binns, Tony
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Geography
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Urban Agriculture; Livelihoods; Sub-Saharan Africa; Gender; Freetown; Sustainable Development
Research Type: Thesis