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German teen empowers African women

Anna Pertl, 17 year old teen from Germany, created One Woman One Garden to feed and empower the women of Burkino Faso. Photo: Supplied

One teen making an impact to help with basic needs of food, water and empowering women is 17 year old Anna Pertl of Germany. She created the project One Woman One Garden so women in Burkina Faso can grow vegetable gardens as a source of food and income.

From an early age Anna visited Burkina Faso in West Africa every year to support her parents’ charity. During a visit when she was 15 years old, she started to fully realize the country’s extreme poverty.

"Something that stood out to me was the lack of agriculture during the dry season. I also noticed that women were considered inferior to men in the social hierarchy and had few options to support themselves," she says.

Anna says she remembered thinking how the lack of food production had to be detrimental to a country already facing extreme poverty. She also wondered why family vegetable gardens didn't exist in an area plagued by malnutrition since they are common in rural Europe.

Anna created One Woman One Garden that year. She began teaching women to garden with the help of a local teacher and provided them with seeds and fertilizer.

"After this first investment, women could access vegetable gardens financially and break free from the cycle of poverty. My organization has helped over 5000 women sustainably support themselves," she says.

Further to this, Anna has established community gardens with wells that provide water to 10 villages. She also plans to incorporate basic technology into her programs and is creating a cell phone platform for women to connect, exchange experiences and make digital purchases of garden resources.

"With a simple idea, we reduce malnutrition, increase economic independence and generate resilience. My vision is to continue inspiring and empowering women," says Anna.

This teen inspiration was selected as one of the Three Dot Dash Global Teen Leaders of 2019. The initiative run by the We Are Family Foundation chose 33 candidates from 15 countries and six continents between 13 and 19 years old in March 2019.

These teens are helping to address issues of concern around the world. To find out more about One Woman One Garden, check out www.onewomanonegarden.com.

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