In the past month, Key Farmers Cameroon (KFC) in partnership with Carleton University (CU) and Viresco Solutions (VS) launched their project, “Agriculture, Labor, and Gender Equity: The Role of Biochar” in the Meme and Manyu Divisions of the Southwest Region of Cameroon. KFC, CU and VS aim to investigate the impacts of biochar on women’s labor and livelihoods through an integrated approach of pre and post focus groups combined with continuous monitoring on biochar production and impacts throughout the duration of the project.

The objectives of this study are to identify the barriers women face in producing and using biochar to grow nutritious food crops; the impact of on-farm biochar production on women’s workloads and livelihoods; and the impacts of biochar on traditional gender roles/responsibilities. Two women’s common interest groups (CIG’s), the Sunshine Ladies of Kendem in the Manyu division and the Ambitious Women of Kake in the Meme Division have been selected to participate.

Thus far, each group has been provided with 20 biochar producing kilns, and Ambitious Women have also been provided with a biochar crusher. Prior to kiln distribution, recipients participated in a focus group to discuss their current livelihoods. This baseline data will serve as a useful reference and comparison for the post intervention focus group to be held towards the closing of the study. Since distribution, Sunshine Ladies and Ambitious Women have begun using their kilns to produce biochar and are eager to test its application in the upcoming planting season.