Rural women farmers in St Lucia face several challenges. Due to high costs, lack of credit and limited market information, they have difficulties in accessing agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and tools. In addition, many women lack access to land because of a traditional patriarchal land ownership system.
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.
Keithlin Caroo the founder of Helen’s Daughters was raised in a rural community. Her family did not see farming as a promising career but she was convinced that it can be transformative in reducing rural poverty and economic and social inequality. She founded Helen’s Daughters to empower women farmers and to improve market access for them.
“We advance economic justice for rural women in the Caribbean region by supporting women farmers to engage in sustainable agriculture and removing the barriers for their market participation.”Keithlin Caroo
Helen’s Daughters upskills women, creates high value market access, trains farmers on the nutritional content of their produce, hosts health clinics, provides women farmers with access to medical insurance, advocates for women farmers and redefines what it means to be a woman in this field.
They have 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.
Helen’s Daughters is among nineteen other organisations that are currently enrolled on the Youth Ventures Programme (YVP). Through the YVP, QCT provides youth-led organisations with flexible funding, practical tools and technical support, and access to a global network of young leaders for 2+ years.
With QCT’s support since March 2022, Helen’s Daughters has been able to:
Acquire land as an agricultural demonstration plot, and to provide land where landless women can farm and earn an income.
Equip over 300 rural women farmers with skills in sustainable agricultural practices, pesticide-free. farming, increased business efficiency in their agricultural enterprises.
Substantially increase the incomes of over 300 rural women farmers.
“QCT’s approach to supporting young leaders not only through funding but through organisational and leadership development has been paramount to our growth in the last 2 years.”Keithlin Caroo
Future work supported by QCT in 2023:
Helen’s Daughters will continue to operate and expand this current work.