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In November 2008, a group of women in the village of Mambu, in Cameroon’s Western Highlands, took possession of a new cassava processing unit. It changed their lives. Now they no longer have to process cassava by hand; a laborious and sometimes painful task, and what used to be the work of days can now be done in a matter of hours. Their output has risen, and so have their incomes. “I can now afford a balanced diet for my family,” explains Magdalene Sirri. “Our main meal used to consist of cocoyams, with a little oil and salt. Now I can buy vegetables in abundance, as well as fruit, fish and meat.” Her colleagues in the Mambu Self-help Women’s Group list other benefits that have flowed from their new processing business. They no longer suffer from backache, and they have more time to spend with their children. One of the women has bought a piece of land with her share of the profits. The youngest member of the group, still unmarried, says she can now afford to buy make-up and jewellery. Another says she no longer has to ask her husband for cash when she goes shopping for clothes or kitchen utensils.
    Publication year



    Pye-Smith, C.




    agroforestry, development, livelihoods, rural communities



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