The Zambian woman small-scale farmer and participatory communication for development : The case of female farmers in Lusaka West
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This report is an account of the author's personal experiences and investigations with some of the Executive Board members of Nyemba Ward Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (NWMCSL) (Appendix 1) and sixteen small-scale female farmer members of the society (Appendix 2). The author set out initially to look into the problems that small-scale women farmers in Zambia encounter during food production from the point of view of participatory communication for development, and determine how best the problems could be solved. The small-scale female farmers that the student did the attachment with are all members of NWMCSL, an agricultural cooperative society at Sikelela in Lusaka West. The student, also found it expedient to also make a critical appraisal of the operations of the entire society. This helped him to determine the extent to which the performance of the management team had promoted or retarded the farming activities of the sixteen female members. The key word in this report is participation. It features prominently in all the concepts and terminologies used in this report. The major concepts are Communication, Development, Development Communication (DC) and Development Support Communication (DSC). A practical application of these concepts and their meanings on the farms made the student to conclude that the Board of Directors (BOD) was responsible for the problems of the society and the sixteen small-scale women farmers. This was so because there was a serious breakdown of communication in the activities of the society. It was through the same procedure that recommendations were made to help solve the problems of the society and the small-scale women farmers so that the latter could work on the farms with minimum toil and maximum efficiency. The methodology for the attachment was a mixture of participant observation, in-depth interviewing, document examination, focus group discussions and selected interviews. NWMCSL had male members but the student did not consider their farming problems since he thought they were beyond the scope and span of the attachment objectives and for that matter this report. The student collected the data for this report during the four months' Practical Attachment. Any mention of women farmers in the subsequent pages of this report refers to the small-scale, and not the commercial-scale women farmers.