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Women Save Time on the Farm / Radio Scripts / Farm Radio International

Package 62, Script 6
January 2002

Women Save Time on the Farm

Notes to broadcaster

One way to help rural women who have been affected by HIV/AIDS is to pass along information and ideas that will save them time and labour on farm and household chores. The following drama incorporates some of these kinds of ideas into the story line. For more ideas, see item number 1 in this package, 'Story ideas to help broadcasters meet the challenges of HIV and its impact.'

Also, talk to agricultural extension workers, local farm groups and older farmers who use traditional practices. Interview local women who have found efficient ways to work on the farm and in the home. Remember to get their permission to broadcast their stories on the air. As many people are not comfortable discussing HIV/AIDS, it may not be necessary to mention it when you are doing your interviews. Instead, focus on the value and interest of the practical approaches that people describe to you.

Other story ideas on this theme:

  • Minimum tillage saves you time weeding and ploughing
  • Women use grinding, threshing and milling machines
  • Zero grazing saves time in livestock production
  • Small livestock production
  • Use trap crops to attract pests away from your main crop
  • Local, traditional crops that are nutritious and easy to grow
  • A community shares farm work


Chotsani: Woman farmer
Asale: Woman farmer
Chiwa: Woman farmer
Alile: Woman farmer
Teleza: Woman farmer

Narrator: The sun is setting as a dozen women gather in a village home. This is the evening for their special support group. All the women are widows. They have lost their husbands to HIV/AIDS and related illnesses. Life has been hard for the women; with less time, their land and crops suffered. Without the labour and cash from their husbands, their families often didn't have enough food. Many women felt hopeless. But something changed! The women began to talk together about their common struggles. As they did, they started to find solutions. The women now meet every week to share ideas about how to do more work in less time. Tonight, the support group is meeting at the home of Chotsani, one of the women in the group. We can hear the women arriving.


Chotsani: Welcome everyone. Thank you for coming. I think this evening several of you are bringing some good ideas to the group. Prepare yourselves for some wonderful surprises.


Chotsani: Asale, can we start with you? I see you've brought your surprise.

Asale: Yes. This hoe is a gift from my sister. Women in her village use this in the fields. You can see the handle of this hoe is very long.

Chiwa: Well, yes. But does it work? Have you tried it yet?

Asale: (enthusiastically) Yes! It works very well. I weeded all morning with this hoe, and I wasn't tired at all. I think it is made especially for women. It's much lighter than a regular hoe with a short handle.

Chotsani: Well, that seems to be something that many of us can use. Anyone who is interested in this useful tool can talk to Asale later in the evening. And now, we will move right along with another surprise. Alile, can you bring in your friend?

Narrator: A middle-aged woman gets up quickly and leaves. She returns in a minute holding a rope with a donkey tied to the other end. The donkey brays loudly as he enters the house.


Alile: (shouting over the donkey's braying) Meet my friend. I call him my stubborn, but hard-working and benevolent King! (laughter) I received this donkey in return for two cows. This donkey saves me so much time and energy.

Chiwa: But, how do you use the donkey, Alile?

Alile: I tie a light donkey plough behind him and plough between the rows before planting. It takes me two days to do what used to take me two weeks. And the weeding for the rest of the year is much easier.

Chotsani: Well, we all know that weeding takes up a lot of our time. And since our husbands are gone, we don't have much time at all. Not that we had much time in the first place! But do you see, ladies, that both the donkey and the long-handled hoe achieve the same goal! They both save us time with weeding. It is like having extra husbands around. (laughter) Now there is one more thing that I would like to share with you. I'm going to serve you a delicious snack and I want you to guess what foods are in it.

Narrator: Chotsani goes into the other room and comes back with a plate full of spicy snacks. She passes it around and each woman takes a piece.

Teleza: Chotsani, this is delicious. It tastes familiar, but I'm not sure what it is.

Chotsani: Can anybody guess?

Chiwa: If I didn't know better, I'd say that it tasted like bambara nut.

Chotsani: You're right, Chiwa! It's a mixture of bambara (Voandzeia subterranea (L.) Thouars), fonio (Digitaria exilis) and spices. I grew all the ingredients myself.

Asale: But bambara is an old traditional crop. Nobody grows it any more.

Chotsani: That's what everybody told me. But then I thought to myself, "Some traditional crops are easy for me to grow. Why shouldn't I grow them? I can use every bit of help I can get!" (laughter) And these snacks are not only delicious; they're also nutritious. I am sure that I can see my children getting healthier every day now that I have a little more time to cook good things for them. (with emotion) You know, it's amazing how far we've come. A few years ago, it was hard to get women out to this meeting. We were all depressed and exhausted. But we've worked hard. We are still farming and feeding our children healthy food. And we are helping each other. (Murmurs of agreement all around) Yes, it was hard in the beginning. But look how far we've come. We've done well, sisters. (loud cheering)

- END -


  • Contributed by Vijay Cuddeford, Toronto, Canada.
  • Reviewed by Dr Gladys Mutangadura, Postdoctoral Fellow, Sociology Department, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

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