The Yaajeende Nutritional Value Chain Project in Senegal
The Yaajeende Nutritional Value Chain Project, which started in 2010 in Senegal, was a five-year USAID Feed the Future project to counter deeply entrenched cultural biases against women owning land. The project was recently extended due to its successful holistic model, making it a seven-year program which will be underway until 2017. The project works to harmonize legal regulations and customary practice by engaging local leaders to identify culturally-appropriate means for women to gain land ownership. Local leaders identify degraded land that was thought unprofitable and allowed women’s groups – as opposed to individual women – to own the land as a collective. The Yaajeende project works with the women’s groups to make the land profitable, following an integrated approach that incorporates nutrition, economic empowerment, and environmental sustainability. Now, men in the local communities recognize the value of this reclaimed land, as well as the importance of women’s collectives to have ownership and decision-making power over it.