This video introduces you to Kafune Mariko, the youngest contestant in the FarmQuest reality radio series.
Kafune’s parents were farmers, and she learned from an early age how to care for animals and plough the fields. However, when she was still a child, she was sent to Bamako to work for relatives as a babysitter. She not only lost her exposure to farming, but was also poorly treated by her sister’s in-laws.
At the age of 17, she left the city for the village of Tingole Banankabougou, to be married. When she joined FarmQuest, she was 20 and expecting her second child. Through the project the young mother took up goat rearing, which she’d always wanted to do. With assistance from her mentor and the village chief, she got started with two females and one billy goat — and they quickly multiplied.
Like many young women, Kafune carried a double burden throughout the competition. She not only faced the struggle of starting a farming business, but also the challenge of balancing her farming work with her household responsibilities — all while pregnant.
Women play many roles, as caregivers to children, cooks, keepers of the family home, and farmers. The extra chores and child-rearing mean many women grow crops or practice farming that is less labour-intensive – but they are nevertheless kept very busy balancing multiple demands.
Despite the challenges she faced, Kafune worked hard as a FarmQuest candidate and now counts 12 goats in her growing herd.
We hope that you enjoyed learning about Kafune’s farming experience and will stay tuned to meet the next FarmQuest candidate. (If you just can’t wait for the next video, see below.)
Made possible with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, FarmQuest was a reality radio program broadcast in Mali to encourage youth to consider farming as a legitimate and profitable career choice, and not just a means of subsistence, by following six farmers competing to be named “best young farmer of the year.” Learn more about about the project by checking out the following links:
– FarmQuest audio (in Bambara with English transcripts)
– “Can a reality show really deliver aid to Africa?” (article in the Toronto Star by Marc Ellison)