"Raising Voices": The life of women in drug crop cultivation areas


What is known about the lives of women in illicit drug crop cultivating areas? Which experiences and skills do they have and how can these be used to improve the living situation of small-scale farming families? The "Raising Voices" publication tells the stories of the affected women smallholders and aims to convince political decision-makers to incorporate these perspectives into drug policy strategies.

Illegal drug crops are mostly grown in remote rural areas in developing countries, which are characterized by poverty, food insecurity, violent conflicts and weak state structures. In their communities, women carry out diverse and responsible duties, yet they are often discriminated. Social norms and practices impede them from being actively involved in economic and political decision-making processes. At the same time, they struggle with the negative consequences of the illegal drug economy every day. However, the stories and experiences of these women are barely told.


The publication "Raising Voices: Empowering female farmers in drug crop cultivation areas" wants to change this. It summarizes experiences of women farmers in drug crop growing areas and tells stories from their perspective. The aim is to make the situation of women in these areas better understood and to give them greater visibility. Responsible organizations and political decision-makers should take the situation of women smallholders into account when designing and implementing development-oriented drug policies.


"Raising Voices" is the result of the first supra-regional exchange of experience between women smallholders, which took place in Mexico in 2018. The conference was organized by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)  on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) together with the Global Drug Policy Program of the Open Society Foundations (OSF).