The Women Accessing Realigned Markets (WARM) programme was officially launched on the 3rd of September 2009 at the VIP Hotel, in Maputo Mozambique. The project was launched to FANRPAN stakeholders attending the 2009 FANRPAN High Level Policy Dialogue. The highlight of the launch was the performance of the “WARM Winds of Change” play written and directed by top Zimbabwean playwright Cont Mhlanga and featuring actors from Bulawayo’s award-winning Amakhosi Theatre and students from Eduardo Mondlane Theatre Directorate. The play explored the challenges rural women face accessing farming inputs, particularly government subsidies.
The play was centred on Nkonkoni, a village headman who dominates access to farming inputs. When seeds and fertiliser are somehow distributed without his approval, he orders everything be returned to him. His long-standing practice is to hand these vital commodities out to his cronies; his nepotism has deprived women – among them widows struggling to support their families alone – to the extent that some have gone three years without farming. The story brought to the fore how local authorities sometimes undermine stated government policy and efforts by civil society to empower women. In the play Nkonkoni was opposed by one desperate widow, by the area’s newly-elected Member of Parliament and by his own wife. The conflict over distribution of the goods drew the audience in an emotional journey through the real power struggles as they are played out in the village: between men and women, old and young, urban and rural.