Titukuke Grass-Root Women Economic Empowerment Project

Titukuke Rural Community Development Association (RCDA) is a community-based non-profit organization established and registered in 2005 and based in the Eastern Province district of Petauke. The organization was formed to help women fight poverty and other social ills that affected them within the rural communities in the district, including high illiteracy levels, gender-based violence, women’s rights, food insecurity and HIV/AIDS, among others. The organization’s primary activities have over the last seven years included youth and women’s rights awareness; civic empowerment and governance; OVC support; prevention of gender-based violence; improvement of household food security for vulnerable women; HIV and AIDS prevention; land  rights and women’s access to land. The organization has achieved considerable success in these areas. As a result the organization has rapidly grown to member total membership of about 6,000 members, 75% (4,500) of who are female, and 1,500 male members. Titukuke has since established a Trust school and adult literacy center to carter for the educational needs of vulnerable children and women in the community, and facilitated a pass-on-the-gift program for cows to members’ households.

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However, the growing membership of the organization poses a challenge to Titukuke to provide adequate services to the members, which requires more sustainable solutions. Titukuke RCDA therefore wishes to take advantage of its large membership, which is made up of small-scale rural farmers, to turn the situation around by engaging the members in economic empowerment activities through agriculture. The organization’s engagement in business activities will also enable it sustain its activities. With the district already known for its groundnuts production, Titukuke RCDA now applies to African Development Foundation for a grant to increase members’ its groundnuts production, and to enable the association add value to the commodity and market groundnut cooking oil.

Titukuke RCDA wishes to engage about 300 women in groundnuts production with improved seed varieties, MGV4 and MGV5. Currently member farmers depend on local recycled groundnuts seeds which are low yielding and therefore not very profitable to the farmers. The local varieties have very low oil content compared to the improved varieties which the organization targets to promote among members. The organization further intends to purchase groundnuts from its members and to process the groundnuts into cooking oil for sale within Petauke and neighboring districts.

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It is expected that the project would have the following benefits on the organization, its membership, and the community:

  • Economically empower 300 women and the households through increased farm productivity and better access to markets for their groundnuts
  • Increase the organization’s capacity to sustain itself through internally generated incomes from the sale of cooking oil and reduce future dependence on donor funds
  • Improve household food security and nutrition levels among members
  • Increase conservation farming activities that improve soil fertility, reduce negative environmental impacts, reduce dependence on chemical fertilizers, and increase farm productivity
  • Improve the overall standard of living of members

The organization intends to achieve this by:

  • Engaging 300 women in improved groundnuts production using the high yielding MGV4 and MGV5 varieties which have been grown successfully in the district
  • Establishing a crop purchase fund to purchase groundnuts from the farmers and process these into cooking oil
  • Purchasing an oil extractor to enable Titukuke RCDA add value to groundnuts and increase its incomes
  • Training staff and processing equipment operators in groundnuts processing, packaging and quality control procedures
  • Training of the Board and Management in governance and enterprise development
  • Developing a local brand of groundnut cooking oil to fully commercialize Titukuke’s oil business
  • Developing a five-year business plan that will help the organization increase production, processing and marketing of groundnuts products
  • Supporting the management team to ensure successful implementation of the planned activities including a Business Manager, Field Officer and Accountant
  • Purchasing a motorbike to enable the organization provide adequate assistance to farmers in the production of groundnuts and to monitor the production, management and harvesting of groundnuts by farmers
  • Strengthening the financial and business management systems of the Association

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The organization assesses that the following factors increase the likelihood of success of the project:

  • Availability of markets for groundnuts products (cooking oil,  raw  groundnuts, groundnuts cake for the livestock industry) locally
  • A high interest in groundnuts production by women members, coupled with their experience in groundnuts production
  • Favorable soils for the growing of groundnuts in the province, and in particular in Petauke district
  • The promotion of high-yielding varieties with a high oil content
  • Availability of extension services provided by Ministry of Agriculture within the district
  • Groundnuts as a less demanding crop that has beneficial impact on the productivity of other crops such as maize in subsequent seasons when rotated with groundnuts
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