Madam Benedicta Beyou is a 42-year old farmer/trader who is married and has four children. Her highest educational qualification is a Junior High School certificate. She joined the Pathways project in 2013 as a Community Based Extension Agent. Before joining the project, she was already engaged in soy and groundnut production as well as pretty trading. According to Benedicta:
“After joining the project, I had the opportunity to learn many agronomic practices such as; use of certified seed, mixing soy seed with inoculants, row planting and many more. In 2014, I cultivated 1.5 acres of soybean and 4 acres of groundnut and my yields were remarkable. For instance, from the 1.5 acre of soybean I had 0.7 tons and 1.025tons from 4 acres of groundnut.
Besides the GAPs trainings, she also participated in trainings on leadership, negotiation, advocacy, and lobbying skills. These trainings have enhanced her ability to engage with her husband and negotiate for more fertile lands to increase her soy and groundnut production. In addition, she has been able to influence her husband to also join the Pathways project and now her husband is a Gender Champion. Beyond her household, she has also encouraged other women to participate in the Pathways project by sharing with them the benefits that she has gained from being part of the Pathways project. According to Benedicta, she has been able to negotiate with other men in Billaw to release fertile lands to their wives for soy and groundnut production.
Through her engagement with women and men in the community, she became an acclaimed leader among the women in Billaw. Therefore, when the nominations were open for interested people to contest the district assembly and unit committee elections, her colleagues encouraged her to pick up the form and run, and so she did. Fortunately, she was elected and now she is the chairperson of the 4 unit committee members in her community.
Benedicta is very happy about this achievement in her life: “The votes that I had were more than the votes that the elected assembly member had. My next step is to contest the position of assembly person when the next district assembly and unit committee election is due.”