Partner Profile: Women on Farms Project
The Women on Farms Project (WFP) is a non-governmental organization based in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Founded in 1996, the vision of WFP is an engendered society that treats women who live and work on farms with dignity and respect in accordance with the constitutional rights guaranteed to all South African citizens.
The primary constituency of WFP is women who live and work on commercial farms; women who work in the agro-processing industry are also included in this group, and children and men who live and work on farms are secondary constituents.
The core work of WFP includes training and capacity building, research, lobbying, campaigning and organization building. WFP has many programs that contribute to the building of a rural social movement of farm women, including a Women’s Health and Empowerment Program (WHEP), Labour Rights, Women’s Cooperatives, Land & Housing, Social Security, and a Young Women’s program. WFP is the only organization in South Africa that focuses exclusively on the rights of women farm workers. They bring a strong feminist/gender analysis to all of their work and programs.
Oxfam Canada and WFP
Oxfam Canada started working with WFP in 2003, to support them in establishing a women-led farmworkers union called Sikhula Sonke and to work on farm worker labour rights. As a result of this process Sikhula Sonke has become an independent organization with over 3,000 members defending their rights on the vineyards in the Western Cape. Through the Engendering Change program, Oxfam has provided WFP with funds to build women’s leadership by providing women with knowledge about their labour rights, domestic violence, social security and other legislation. Their programs also strengthen women’s ability to organize campaigns for the improvement of their living and working conditions. Most recently Oxfam has provided funds to WFP to initiate a participatory feminist board development process to increase the participation and ownership of farmwomen in the life and work of the organization.
As part of the Oxfam Women’s Rights Advancement Program, WFP is bringing its expertise and knowledge to protect the rights of other groups of marginalized workers in South Africa through a collaborative initiative with other South African civil society organizations such as JAW and Khanya College. Together they are tracking the issues and profiling the difficult situations being faced by Home Based Care givers and other un-organized workers to assist them in mobilizing to ensure labour rights are upheld, according to the constitution.
- Enough to Eat shows some of the impacts of a changing climate on women food producers in the Western Cape of South Africa.
- In July 2011, Oxfam Australia travelled to the Women on Farms Project and documented their visit in the following slide show and videos:
(expand the slide show to read the accompanying text)
Women on Farms - Land is Life: Climate Impacts
Women on Farms - Land is Life: Climate Adaptation