SKI uses a resilience framework for understanding the dynamic relationship between humans and the natural and socio-political environment. This framework can be used to understand the impact of climate change responses but is also used as a framework for assessing agricultural and seed systems.
Regardless of the global commodification of food, local communities and smallholder farmers around the world continue to innovate and maintain their own seed and food production systems and in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, manage to feed more than 70% of the population. Local communities have been the first to use more locally responsive farming methods in response to adverse conditions such as climatic variability. There are many situations where these producers have shown that agroecological approaches support food sovereignty and the health of ecosystems.
Research has shown that communities that have maintained a strong link with their land and culture are often at the forefront of developing their own solutions to food production, seed systems and governance. This often takes place in response to other, failed approaches, such as the Green Revolution. It is this inherent resilience in local communities that SKI partners work towards strengthening.
Ulitmately, Food Sovereignty and Agroecology are about inclusion, climate justice, autonomy, responsibility and participation in decision making spaces by all.
Most African communities rely on women as custodians responsible for seed diversity for food, nutrition, cultural activities and local economies. For women, seed is a source of pride, authority, autonomy and joy. Controlling their own diverse seed supply increases women’s ability to provide a balanced diet for their families, ensures that seed is available at the right time for food production, and augment household and community bargaining power.
Thus the role of women is critical in restoring the diversity-based farming and seed systems that are required in Africa to face climate change, and it must be revalorised, protected and strengthened.
Finding ways and developing opportunities for women to be empowered and participate meaningfully on an individual level, in their households, and on a larger societal/political level is key to achieving our goal.
On an individual and household level, SKI’s focus is on the relationships between genders and different age groups, exposing people to different ways of doing and understanding of a different set of gender relationships, roles and responsibilities that are more equitable and practical in terms of what is best for a good quality of life for everyone in the household and community.