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Photo: We Effect/ Adam ÖjdahlPhoto: We Effect/ Adam Öjdahl

The World’s Toughest Job

Last updated: 23.02.2016 // In some of the poorest countries in the world, one of the toughest jobs is to be a woman and a farmer. Women often have the responsibility for both the household, the family and the cooking. They work from early hours until late in the evening at least six days a week. In January, Karin Kling, a Swedish nurse, went to Malawi to work as a farmer.

In October last year, the Swedish development organisation We Effect advertised for the “The World’s Hardest Job” in Malawi. The purpose with the initiative was to give a Swedish woman the opportunity to experience the life to a female farmer in Malawi. 560 Swedish women applied, and Karin Kling, who works as a nurse at Astrid Lindgren’s children hospital, got the world’s toughest job – to work as a farmer in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world.

Karin Kling went to Malawi in the middle of January and stayed there for three weeks with farmer Biata Chisi and her husband and five children. There she got to see the everyday life for the average female farmer in Malawi. “Part of the work involved removing weeds from the fields, protect the plants from the sun and make the plants get rainwater”, said Karin. In addition, after working on the fields from early morning, and some additional hours in the afternoon, they fetched water from the well, fed the cows, pigs and chicken. In the fields, it was primarily the women and children from the age of eight who worked. The daughters helped with fetching water and watch after their younger siblings. Biata’s husband works as a guard at a fabric.

Furthermore, Karin also got an insight into how the Malawian agriculture is affected by climate change. Karin observed that the farmers has tried to adapt to climate change by changing into sustainable farming techniques. However, the Malawian farmers faces challenges due to delayed rain and long periods of drought. 

“To read about people starving in Africa is one thing, to understand that our lifestyle affects the farming in Malawi is another”, said Karin


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