Curriculum Planning for Women and Agricultural Households: The Case of Cameroon
Suzanna Smith and Barbara Taylor
In Cameroon, as in other African countries, women are the major agricultural producers ( Goheen, this volume). Cameroonian women produce an estimated 90 percent of subsistence production and comprise about 53 percent of agricultural workers ( Pentang 1989). Women's agricultural production is frequently hampered, however, by lack of access to both formal and extension education and to other resources, such as improved technologies and inputs such as fertilizer and credit ( Kilo 1989, Gladwin, this volume).
Recent Cameroonian government policies have recognized the fundamental roles women play in increasing food crop production and self-sufficiency and have urged that agricultural training, outreach, and development be aimed at women farmers ( International Agricultural Development 1987). In response, the University Center of Dschang (UCD), Cameroon's agricultural training institution, has begun to determine how to bring into the curriculum the subject matter that will prepare graduates to work with rural women. UCD is revising its curriculum as part of the Agricultural Education Project funded by USAID and, in the process, has initiated planning for a women and agricultural households program.
Establishing a new curriculum is difficult under any circumstances,
Suzanna Smith is assistant professor of human development, Department of Home Economics, University of Florida. Her degrees are in child and family development (Ph.D.), social work (M.S.W.) and sociology (B.A.). Her research interest is gender and employment in rural areas of the southeastern U.S. and West Africa.
Barbara Taylor is a professor, program development, Home Economics Department, University of Florida. Her degrees are in home economics with a minor in sociology (Ph.D. and M.S.) and home economics education (B.S.). Her interest is in curriculum and program development in rural areas of West Africa and the U.S. The authors are grateful to Camilla Harshberger for assistance and funds from the Program Support Grant and the Cameroon Agriculture Education Project, funded by USAID.