Oxfam America, Senegal June 3, 2013 - August 16, 2013
Thomas worked with the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative, a project that helps poor, smallholder farmers become resilient to the impacts of climate change so as to improve their long-term food security and economic opportunities. It is a holistic approach to rural development and climate adaptation that brings together innovative risk management strategies through a partnership with the United Nations World Food Program and Swiss-Re, a major re-insurance company. Thomas worked with smallholder farmers and civil society organizations to ensure that the program was built upon the interests and needs of participants, and that it was designed and scaled in partnership with farmers and local organizations. He also worked with local and national governments to ensure that policies and regulations align themselves with and are in support of a long-term strategy for food security and rural development. It is important to recognize that the majority of food producers in Africa are women, yet they own less than a quarter of the land, have less access to agricultural inputs, markets, and value chains than men, and are primarily responsible for keeping their families fed and healthy. This project, therefore, targeted women farmers, providing them with the resources they need and empowering them to be productive, rights-holding leaders of their communities.