04.09.2018

Sewage treatment ensures healthy food, improves the lives of farmers who no longer have to live with bad smells and flies, and reduces water pollution. This training programme was supported by the British Council, and is now supported by the Fédération Genevoise de Coopération. The programme builds on SOF's broader training methodology and educators, with continued support from international co-operation, such as a partnership with Bread for the World.


Do you also work with men to achieve a change of attitude? And if so, how do they react?
When we started working in Vale do Ribeira, a first challenge was to get the women to participate in the meetings. It took several months of visits from house to house until we could hold the first meeting that could last only two hours. The women got involved little by little and wanted to get more and more. In one community, they arrived back home one day and their husbands were already there, angry because dinner was not ready. They wanted to forbid them from returning to the meetings, but women supported each other and they all came back. In a debate during an activity organised by SOF, a woman farmer was asked what changes had happened in her home. She went on to tell how her husband had become involved in domestic work to support her in participating in the women's group, and had started taking her and her female companions to meetings. While she was reporting, she reflected and concluded: "I changed, and he changed too." Today he is very involved in installing biodigester pits. It must be noted that it was women’s groups that highlighted the problem of open sewage and solving it with biodigester pits. These examples show that the SOF methodology of generating spaces for reflection and empowerment of women helps them to negotiate other forms of relationships and work organisation in their families.