Guilla Gifty

Ashoka Fellow
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Fellow Since 2010


This profile was prepared when Guilla Gifty was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Guilla believes that the key to unlocking productivity gains among small farmers is creating trust- based groups that allow small farmers the space for self reflection. She challenges small farmers in a safe collective space to ask: “Who am I?” and listen to their answers. This process helps to set in motion a transformation among farmers, from self-discovery, to a self-assessment, to a mode of mobilization solidified by the creation of a family action plan.

By providing an avenue for dialogue and reflection, Guillia opens the doors for small farmer families to move forward together in creating group innovation, and collaborative family enterprises. In each case, the process is designed for a small group of farmers and their families (i.e. typically 7 to 10 families) and by making this process a group effort, participants gain support internally from their families and externally from other members moving through the same steps.

These sessions become the space for new ideas, with farmers guiding each other and aspiring to improve many facets of their enterprises. Together, farmers evolve their farming operations (i.e. more efficient planning of planting and follow up), they enhance their knowledge (i.e. deciding to enroll in agricultural courses about water management and crop cultivation), and they adopt new technologies (i.e. better seed varieties and the use of manure for organic compost). Farmers are encouraged to reflect upon and change their personal family dynamics, such as working on their family relations (i.e. opening communication between husband and wife and in polygamous families, the husband and several wives), and their self-discipline and self-confidence (i.e. learning how to ride a bicycle, or deciding to enroll their children in the local school).
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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