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GRAMEEN FOUNDATION: Once shunned in her village, Comfort is now a “Power Woman”

Grameen Foundation
Comfort: From penniless to "power woman"

Less than two years ago, Comfort could not feed her children, and was shunned by the people of her village in Ghana. Today, she calls herself a “Power Woman.” She is respected by her neighbors and a role model to her daughters.

Comfort’s parents died when she was in basic-level school. Comfort was penniless, her only asset a small, neglected farm left by her parents. To survive, she married and had children with a man who later abandoned the family.

“I was left alone to care for my children,” said Comfort. But with only occasional handouts as income, her children were often hungry, and Comfort had no hope of sending them to school.
Many nights, Comfort cried herself to sleep or stayed awake worrying about her children. She was determined to find a way to give them a better life. One sleepless night, the answer came to her, as unlikely as it seemed.

“I was left with no other option than to focus on the small cocoa farm my parents had left to me,” said Comfort. But there was a problem. Comfort knew nothing about cocoa farming.

Sure enough, it didn’t take Comfort long to see that her first efforts at farming were failing.

“I did not even know how to apply the fertilizers on the crops, how to prune the cocoa trees and the number of times in the year that I have to weed the cocoa farm,” she said.

Then Comfort remembered the Grameen Farm Development program she had heard about. She reached out for help.

Like other farmers in the program, Comfort was paired with a Grameen Community Agent who helped her develop a 7-year plan to follow. Using satellite data and detailed information gathered from her farm, Comfort’s agent, Bismark created a plan that would teach her farming best practices and give her access to financial services to buy better seeds and fertilizer and increase her yields.

Text messages from the farming program alerted Comfort to weather events and potential pest infestations. And call-in radio shows and group meetings brought her into a community of farmers.

“Before, I was not counted among people. Now, I can attend programs and be in the midst of people,” said Comfort.

In fact, Comfort has been so successful following her Farm Development Plan that she used the additional income to invest in two small businesses. Today, her daughters are well fed and attending school.
The villagers who once shunned Comfort speak very differently of her now. “I have now gotten the title ‘Rich Woman’ in Jerusalem town here,” she said.

When Comfort talks of her life before and after following her farm plan, she focuses on empowerment and peace.

“Yes, I have power. I am a very powerful woman in the sense that what men can do, I have the capacity of doing same. Life has become very joyful because I am enjoying inner peace.”

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