Laureates 2011


AFRICA · Kenya

Solidarity, the key to success

Since 2006, Betty Munga (55) has worked, alone, as a Program Officer for the Self Help Groups Approach Program in Kenya. The program works to empower women, economically, socially and politically in order to improve the lives of women and their communities.

Read more: Betty MUNGA

Lydia SASU

AFRICA · Ghana

An advocate for women’s skills and rights

Lydia Sasu (65) was born into a farming family in Ghana where she witnessed her mother struggle to make enough money to feed her family.  Involved in agriculture from an early age, Ms. Sasu has dedicated her life to improving the lives of rural women farmers.

Read more: Lydia SASU

Ndeye Seynabou TALL WADE

AFRICA · Sénégal

A true leader for the advancement of rural communities

Born in a village, Mrs. Ndeye Seynabou TALL WADE (61) was raised by her grandmother with great care and love which left a very positive mark and empowered her to do something for the poor and work with women and children in rural areas, supporting them in improving their living conditions and that helped her to feel useful. Aware of the importance of women’s role in development and sensitive to their problems related to lack of education, Mrs. Tall Wade, married with five children, works to help develop their capacities and increase their visibility in the villages.

Read more: Ndeye Seynabou TALL WADE


AFRICA · South Africa

Boosting the “Wild Coast communities”

Since finishing high school, Nokwanda Langazana (32) has been an activist for the Wild Coast communities against the commercial development of Sun International Hotels.  Having been forcefully removed along with her family due to this development project, Nokwanda has said it is in her bloodline “to fight for the integrity” of her community.

Read more: Nokwanda LANGAZANA

Prativa SUBEDI

ASIA · Nepal

From the forest to the University, from the University to the rural communities: an atypical history of a Nepalese activist

Growing up in a rural village surrounded by dense forests, Prativa Subedi (58) has devoted her life to raise the living standards of those in need. Creating the Women Awareness Centre Nepal (WACN) in 1990, Prativa works to empower rural women and gives women a sense of dignity for their lives.

Read more: Prativa SUBEDI


ASIA · Tajikistan

Transforming rural girls into economic actors

Rano Kosimova (52) was elected chief executive of the non-governmental organization “Parastor” in 1996. Receiving higher education and graduating from university, Rano had the passion to empower other rural women to receive education, along with health and economic resources, in order to become vital members of the community.

Read more: Rano KOSIMOVA


EUROPE · Switzerland

A creative countrywoman and writer about farm life

Celebrating the WWSF 20th anniversary, we are happy to have among our 2011 prize winners, a creative Swiss farm woman.

30 years ago, Romy Schmidt moved to the Bergün village (1367) near the Albula Pass in Switzerland, married the Swiss farmer Marco, learned to adapt to local customs and embraced the raw life in the Bündner Mountains with much humor, joy and enthusiasm. Together they manage their medium-size farm.  As mother, wife, farmer, daughter-in-law, and grandmother, Romy is with heart and soul a farmwoman, who never loses hope, always finds a way out, and is also connected outside the country. Besides raising five children, Romy also took care of her parents-in-law who lived with the family till their end.

Read more: Romy SCHMIDT

Saman BUTH

ASIA · Cambodia

Empowering mothers to save lives

Saman Buth (60), who suffered significant personal losses and trauma in the Pol Pot years, is a dedicated woman who has deeply affected the lives of those who have come across her.  Her kindness and commitment has driven women to take ownership of their own future.

Read more: Saman BUTH


ASIA · Kyrgyzstan

“Women can do everything”

Shaiyrbubu  Abdyldaeva (61) is the Founder of “Umai Ene”, a Kyrgyzstani non-governmental organization supporting rural women. Growing up in a hardworking family in the village of Kyzyl-Oktyabr, Shaiyrbubu was determined to actively work towards resolving problems in life. Rather than just standing aside, she took the initiative to receive a higher education, graduating from university and becoming a teacher.  Applying her own philosophy of “Be a mother, not a step-mother, for everybody”, Shaiyrbubu began implementing projects in her community to benefit everybody.

Read more: Shaiyrbubu ABDYLDAEVA


ASIA · India

Using knowledge as a weapon to break down barriers

Urmilaben Parmar (42) began her farm work upon marriage.  Living in tough economic conditions, she was forced to learn how to do labour work for the survival of her family.

It was during these challenging times that Urmilaben met SEWA – the Self Employed Women’s Association, attended training programs and began to learn about the importance of women’s strength and ownership.  She underwent midwife and agricultural training, and also learned about saving, credit, and other awareness campaigns helpful for community development.

Read more: Urmilaben AMRUTAL PARMAR