About Audacious Africa
"My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer" - Brenda Schoepp
Audacious Africa exists to add building bricks to the promotion of afro-centric women-led food systems. Food systems that speak to the diversity of Uganda/ African women, their needs, cultural and social uniqueness and that are reliable and climate adaptive. We leverage the wisdom of African women, mothers and grandmothers passed down by the fireside, across kitchen tables, or whilst community gardening, to enable and build inter-generational conversations for knowledge building, sharing and learning for the cultivation of diverse local food varieties and seeds. We are intentional in contributing to the strengthening of food sovereignty and food security for every girl and boy, man and woman and every community and village in Uganda.
Audacious Africa is intentional on community knowledge and movement building as a vehicle for building sustainable food systems hinged on the diverse cultural and social existences of Ugandan and African communities.
In the words of Dr Vandana Shiva, “We receive our seeds from nature and our ancestors. We have a duty to save and share and hand them over to future generations in their richness, integrity and diversity”
A world where women and girls sustain healthy food systems.
Build women and community agencies to build and promote healthy food choices, re-grow seed banks for seed sharing and build community resilience to the offshoots of capitalism.
Why Audacious Africa
Across Uganda, as it is all over the globe, kitchens sweat with steams and different aromas, as plates of food are laid out one meal after another, season after season generation after generation. When we think about food, we think of our bodies, our mental, physical and spiritual health. We think about laughing and low moments; food is used as a reward but also as punishment
For the majority of Africans; grandmothers, mothers and women, have since time immemorial been at the centre of our healthy food systems. Be it sitting by the fireside, across kitchen tables, or whilst community gardening, inter-generational conversations for knowledge sharing and learning are naturally embedded in everyday life.
The knowledge could be about harvesting and storing seeds or preparing land for the next planting season. These conversational processes involve learning to question and challenge the explanations for why things are the way they are for example, why using fertilisers rather than manure is considered “normal”.
The conversations dig to a deeper understanding of power and inequality from the intimate and personal to the more public realms; for example, ownership of land, decision-making at the national and international levels. This is the foundation of developing critical consciousness, one of the goals of feminist intergenerational conversations.
For women and girls, ownership and access to seeds symbolise the agency that enables them to feed their families, be happy and to dream of the future. Therefore, controlling seeds and by implication, food sovereignty are foundational securities of African women and communities.
Unfortunately, Afrocentric food systems are in the blink of demise; steadily as governments continue to wield swords against seed ownership through partnerships with transnational corporations that are now taking ownership of seeds.
This is a call for the battle for all African communities especially women to rise and defend their survival strategies. Without Food security, women and communities are reaped of their power to live, power to be healthy, power to be and dream- their futures. Power to live!
The time is now to de-colonise our food systems by listening to women as a source of knowledge and a primary site for transformation of the current agricultural practices
In Uganda, land tenure systems are embedded in a cultural and social system regulated along patrilineal lines. With this set-up, women own 13% of land worse still have the least access to the family land at their disposal. In parts of Uganda for example among the Luo, land is culturally owned and passed down through lame-dominated patriarchal settings. This setup and the intricate upheaval of having to buy seeds for every planting season is systemically exacerbating the disempowerment of women and local communities of every power they have to their lives including ensuring the sustenance of their homestead granaries. The alarming take-over of our food systems compounded by the adverse effects of climate change is a national and global crisis. Food insecurity equals powerlessness.
- To build a strong movement of dauntless women and girls that dismantle societal inequalities
- To increase awareness on the value of local food and sustainable ecological food growing practices
- To increase access to healthy food among women and girls and communities
- Audacity : We are unapologetic about dismantling colonial and imperialistic heritages of thought and practice that perpetuate unhealthy food systems, choices including; homogenising and patenting of seeds and the cloned birds that do not selfly re-generate
- Respect for equality, with women and girls’ rights at centre stage.
- Healthy foods as drivers for healthy bodies, communities and leadership .
- Communal learning and partnerships as a way of developing community members’ capacity for webbed partnerships through the different social strata.
- Partnerships between women and men based on mutual respect and equal worth, as well as on a mutual understanding that patriarchal rules, norms and practices that sustain male dominance and female subordination need to change as they tend to legitimise the oppression of both women and men.
- Diversity : we believe in understanding and rejecting the many intersecting markers of social exclusion and oppression—gender, class, sexual orientation, age, nationality, ethnicity, and the myriad other identities around which social hierarchies are built.
- Voice that ensures that women enjoy the freedom of expression and the right to participate; have a voice and power in decisions that affect food sovereignty – both individually and collectively (from personal to public arenas).