On International Women's Day 2021, CBM calls for strengthening the potential of women with disabilities. Read the inspiring account of Siata Konaté, who received a training in rice cultivation and now runs a cooperative of 26 rice farmers.
Siata Konaté from Burkina Faso lets a handful of cleaned rice grains trickle through her fingers. The 48-year-old runs a cooperative of 26 rice farmers. In a project supported by CBM, she learned how the grain is hulled and later marketed as nutrient-rich parboiled rice. A project specifically aimed at women with disabilities - women like Siata Konaté. She has had walking difficulties since childhood: "I had to drop out of school at the age of 12 because I kept falling on the long road home," she says. She watched from the sidelines as her classmates finished school and went ahead to college.
Disability no longer a hinderance
Today Siata Konaté not only has a job, but also occupies a managerial post. This year, the theme for International Women's Day is the potential of female managers. But women with disabilities are in a particularly tricky situation. They often experience multiple discrimination - they are disadvantaged not only because of their gender but also their disability. In low-and-middle-income countries, they are also particularly at risk of poverty. CBM projects are committed to promoting women like Siata Konaté so that they can develop their skills to the fullest. Two years ago, she was put in touch with CBM project partners Action contre la Faim and AGED. Along with other women, she received training in rice cultivation and financial management. She was also made aware of the rights of people with disabilities: "These training courses opened my eyes and helped me to no longer see my disability as a handicap," says the rice farmer.
Self-confidence and a take-charge personality
As the chairwoman of her cooperative, Siata Konaté travels a lot. Her handicap no longer slows her down. She is now very mobile, thanks to the tricycle she received after her training course. "In the meantime, I'm the first to arrive at the meetings," she says with a laugh. The project where she works is co-financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of the special initiative “ONE WORLD without Hunger”. Siata Konaté's cooperative also received large barrels, catch basins and ovens to process the rice. With this equipment, the women make even larger profits. "This is helpful to pay our children’s school fees and to ensure that we all have enough to eat," says the rice farmer with pride in her voice.