Helen’s Daughters – supporting rural women’s economic development

Helen’s Daughters (HD) is a St. Lucian non-profit organisation founded in 2016 with a special focus on the economic development of rural women. This is through adaptive agricultural techniques, capacity-building and improved market access.

HD was established by Keithlin Caroo, a 2018 One Young World Ambassador, Ashoka Fellow for Latin America, and the Caribbean, and 2020 Thought for Food Ambassador. Keithlin drew inspiration from having been raised in a rural community. Although her family did not see farming as a promising career, she was convinced that it could be transformative not only in curbing the food-import bill but in reducing rural poverty and enhancing economic and social equality in the Caribbean.

Through adaptive agricultural techniques and capacity building, HD’s Rural Women’s Ag-cademy (RWA) initiative places priority on human and economic empowerment through the transformation of agricultural food sectors in the Caribbean. Structured as a self-help group model, RWA initiative gives special attention to the training of rural communities (particularly women) in sustainable agriculture and agri-business development.

Helen’s Daughters FarmHers at an annual co-creation retreat to develop their annual programme of work. Co-creation allows HD FarmHers to have their voices incorporated in HD’s plans.

Helen’s Daughters has so far trained over one thousand women since 2016 in three countries – St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Further, HD has helped hundreds of farmers transition away from pesticides, adopt more efficient business strategies and achieve more sustainable incomes.

What grow together, goes together! HD founder and some of the FarmHers they work to support.

In May 2022, The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) selected Keithlin’s application for funding alongside fourteen other Youth Ventures Programme (YVP) grant recipients. QCT’s funding support will go towards the setup of a RWA Resource Centre including communal land for landless women and demonstration plots, enabling HD to expand its reach further. The Resource Centre will also help HD to develop its internally generated income streams so that it may eventually become sustainable.

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