Anna Pertl, Germany, Austria, 17
Project: One Woman One Garden
Basic Human Needs: Food, Water
From a young age, Anna visited Burkina Faso in West Africa every year to support her parents’ charity work. During a particular visit when she was 15, she began to fully realize the country’s extreme poverty. The blatant correlation between poverty and the abuse of women’s rights made Anna’s blood boil. Women were considered inferior to men in the social hierarchy and had few options to support themselves. That same year, Anna created One Woman One Garden to empower the women in Burkina Faso to grow and sustain their own gardens, providing them with a source of food and income. Anna sought the help of a local teacher and began teaching women to garden and provided them with seeds and fertilizer. After this initial investment, gardens were economically viable, allowing women to break free from the cycle of poverty. To date, One Woman One Garden has assisted 5,000+ women in sustainably supporting themselves, and increases by an average of 10 women each day. Anna has also established community gardens with high quality wells that provide water to 10 villages. Eager to keep fighting for women’s independence, Anna plans to incorporate basic technology into her programs. She is creating a cell phone platform that will help women connect, exchange experiences and make digital purchases of garden resources – ultimately creating a network of women throughout Burkina Faso to further empower each other.