Encouraging Women’s Empowerment at Grassroots Level
The Mbeng Adio Mushroom Farm Outreach Initiative helps provide women with the empowerment they need to succeed in their lives. In many of the poorest cities of Africa, including Cameroon, work is scarce and in many instances there are few opportunities for education, leaving women at home with their families. The cycle of poverty can be perpetuated through a lack of adequate health care, education, or even hope. The Mbeng Adio Mushroom Farm—MAMF for short—was founded in 2007, and has trained over 1500 local people and their families since then.
The initiative began at the grassroots level, recognizing that the western tiered power structure will not work in Cameroon. Grassroots means that the focus is on the most basic level of the organization. In this case, the focus is on the female mushroom farmers of the region. Grassroots focuses on the people, and is non-hierarchical. Every woman has a say.
The program began with women empowerment in their own communities, though the program assists some men and their families too. The goal of MAMF's Outreach Initiative is to train one woman at a time.
Training women to be self-sufficient also provides for economic empowerment. In Cameroon, there are three mushroom farms that are helping to improve the economy: Banjah, Nso, and Mulion. To date, over 1500 local female farmers have been trained in the production and cultivation of mushrooms.
Mushroom farming is a lucrative economic venture. It can be done in a smaller space than animal-based farming, and since mushrooms can be grown quickly, as well as year-round, women have a career year-round too. And since mushrooms don’t require as much care as vegetables or fruit does, women can spend a greater portion of their days caring for their families too.
Mushrooms are utilized in all diets around the world. MAMF focusses on farming three delicious high-quality varieties: Pleuretus ostreatus, Sajor Caju and pleurotus Florida.
Mushroom farming provides female farmers with constant source of income, provides economic sustainability to the three villages they are located in, and can break the vicious cycle of poverty. Women also have education, which can then be passed down through families.
Mushrooms also don’t require any great expense to grow, and even the mushroom substrate can be recycled as compost. This compost is rich in nutrients and organic properties, which is more beneficial than any purchased commercial fertilizer. It’s used to provide an affordable alternative to growing organic fresh vegetables.
MAMF has been a great success, as well as becoming the largest producer of mushrooms in the Cameroon, and in Central Africa. MAMF provides over 36,000 kilograms of mushrooms per year. The goal is to ship mushrooms locally, nationally, and internationally. The organization’s commitment to female empowerment will help MAMF expand into newer farms, helping more people over the next few years.
MAMF has its headquarters based in Delaware, USA. Please feel free to contact us for further information about the Mbeng Adio Mushroom Farm, to help empower women at the grassroots level.
The vision of Mbeng Adio Mushroom Farm is to economically empower women farmers at grassroots level in their communities, "ONE woman at a time!"
Bridget Mbeng Mbu
Founder and President of Mbeng Adio Mushroom Farm