Background: COWAN, established in 1982, is an organization for rural women intended to assist them in overcoming key problems inhibiting their fruitful participation in food production and economic and social development. It operates on the philosophy of self-help” and “bottom up” organization.

Objectives: COWAN’s objectives are: to mobilize and organize women into cooperative societies; to run a credit scheme that is responsive to traditional knowledge of the people; to design small-scale