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Rural Women Are The Backbone Of Society

  • 4 min read

The National Movement of Rural Women (NMRW) invites members of the South African press and general public to celebrate International Day of Rural Women (IDoRW) on 15 October 2021. 

The NMRW would like all South Africans to commemorate and celebrate the role of rural women in rural development and food security. The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008. The day recognises “the critical contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” It is purposely held the day before World Food Day, in order to highlight the role played by rural women in food production. In many of the world’s poorer countries women play a vital role in the rural economy. They are involved in crop production and livestock care, providing food, water and fuel for their families, and carry out other activities to diversify their families’ livelihoods.

“Rural women are the backbone of our society and it is imperative to understand the vital role they play in assisting families to put food on the table on a daily basis. In commemorating International Day of Rural Women, it is important that all South Africans assist rural women in fulfilling their duties by opting to buy their fresh produce and ensuring that their contribution to food production translates into economic participation by creating employment which may result in the reduction of rural-to-urban migration”, says NMRW Managing Director, Ms Likhapha Mbatha.

The NMRW has undertaken a campaign to increase public awareness of the activities it engages in to assist women projects in the outskirts of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the North West provinces. The NMRW will be commemorating this day across their social media platforms on the 15th of October 2021. This will be followed by an event which will be hosted by the organisation before the end of October at their offices, showcasing the incredible work of the projects with which they are involved. Members of the public and media are invited to follow the NMRW on social media (@NMRW_RuralWomen) in bringing awareness to International Day of Rural Women 2021.

About the National Movement of Rural Women (NMRW)

The NMRW is a non-profit, grassroots organisation founded in April 1990 by a network of 16 women’s ground across the then Transvaal region of South Africa. Before 1990, the network of women had been engaging through the Transvaal Action Committee (TRAC) which was formed in 1986. The NMRW has regional offices in four provinces, namely KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West. 

Tasked with the purpose of giving rural women in South Africa a voice, the organisation focuses on project support and social justice. Under their project support work, the NMRW supports projects financially and through capacity building by providing incubation and training workshops equipping the women with the skills such as: financial management, project and business management, tender processes, identifying and appraising businesses, and health and welfare. The supported projects create employment for rural women and strengthen networks among NMRW members. The projects are wholly owned by community members and assist with improving food security and eradicating rural poverty. Programmes range from agriculture – rear broilers, layers, livestock and gardens – to sewing, beadwork, brick-making, pottery and crafts. 

While the project support endeavours of the NMRW ensure that the members in the constituencies where the organisation work are able to earn an income and provide for their families, it is up to the social justice arm to champion and advocate for the rights of rural women; educate them on their rights, laws and policies; and expose rural people to the effects of climate change and covid with a view to ensure understanding of what is happening in the country and dedicate efforts to mitigate against some of these hazards. Currently, the NMRW’s social justice works on the following topics: Family (Maintenance, and Marriage), Governance (Traditional Leadership and others),  Public Security (Climate Change and COVID-19), and Land. 

Information is collected from the communities in which the NMRW operates in through the use of pamphlets, workshops and facilitated information sessions. Equipped with consolidated information on rural women’s concerns, needs and experiences, the NMRW forms a vital resource base for law and policy development. Research gathered is used to make submissions to Parliament and the National Council of Provinces’ reports and bills through forums seeking to regulate and legislate on the above-mentioned areas of interest. Through their social justice work, the NMRW ensures that rural women gain access to constitutionally-entrenched socio-economic and cultural rights by making gender equality and women’s empowerment central to their development efforts.

Our social media platforms showcase some of the work the organisation does:

Twitter : @NMRW_RuralWomen

Facebook : @NMRWRuralWomen

Instagram : @NMRW_RuralWomen

YouTube : National Movement of Rural Women

LinkedIn : National Movement of Rural Women