What Works for Women: Proven approaches for empowering women smallholders and achieving food security

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The question of 'what changes do we need to empower women smallholders and achieve food security?' has been asked repeatedly. But transformational changes in both public policy and practice have been few and far between, although increasing access to resources and opportunities for women farmers could substantially reduce the number of hungry people in the world. In this context, nine international development agencies (ActionAid, Care, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Find Your Feet, Oxfam, Practical Action, Save the Children, and Self Help Africa) have produced a briefing to share the lessons learned based on their experience of promoting gender equality and working with women smallholders and rural women over many decades. The paper concludes with a number of recommendations for policy makers on measures to help close the gender gap in agriculture.
  What Works for Women Proven approaches for empowering women smallholders and achieving food security    2     1. Genevieve, Manishimwe, 40, Nyange village, Murambi cell, Gakenke disrict, Rwanda. © Mike Goldwater / Concern Worldwide. 2.  Thoko Mpulo, 44, Mpulo Homestead, near Bergville, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. © James Oatway / Panos / ActionAid.  3. Seng Phon, Kompong Thom, Central Cambodia. © Abbie Trayler-Smith / Oxfam.  4. Zungrana Awaya,Dassui village, Burkina Faso. © Self Help Africa. 5. Mavluda Akhmedova , Dekhanabad, Tajikistan.  © Christian Aid.  6. Reina Saenz, Macala, La Paz, Honduras. © Gilvan Barreto / Oxfam GB. 7. Ipaishe Masvingise, 46, Gutu District, Zimbabwe. © Annie Bungeroth / Oxfam GB. 8.  Maria Huaman Quispe, Pampa Ccalasaya Community, Canchis Province, Cusco Region, Peru. © Practical Action.  9. Cu Thi Hong, An Phu commune, Vu Quang district, Ha Tinh province, Vietnam. © ActionAid. 10.  Nepalese woman. © Nigel Bruce / Practical Action.  11. Rani Debi, Amijola Village, Pakur district, Jharkhand state, India. © Find Your Feet. 12. Vivian Mukashaka, Rusenge sector, Nyaruguru, Rwanda. © Mike Goldwater/ Concern Worldwide. 13. Josna Begum, Northern Bangladesh. © Kevin McKague / CARE. 14. Turkana woman, Namurupth Town, Turkana District, Northern Kenya. © Georgina Cranston / Practical Action. 15. Sar Ren, Peam Commune, Sanaki Meanchey district, Kampong Chnang Province, Cambodia. © Christian Aid. 16. Andrelice Silva dos Santos, forest region of Camamu, Bahia State, Northeastern Brazil. © ActionAid Brazil. 17. Jilo Gasara, Ethiopia. © Stuart Dunn / CARE. 18. Muklu Tudu, Mahuapather village, Dumka district, Jharkhand state, India. © Find Your Feet. 19.  Nepaliese woman. © Caroline Penn / Practical Action.  20. Falesse Joaquim, Zambezi Valley, Mozambique. © Macros Villalta / Save the Children. 21. Nepalese woman. © Practical Action.  22. Melody Mogombo, Mabwera Village, Malawi. © Self Help Africa. 23.   Karita Kayirangwa, 61, Kavumo village, Rusenge cell, Rusenge sector, Nyaruguru district, Southern province, Rwanda. © Mike Goldwater / Concern Worldwide. 24. Leyla Kayere, 76, Mnembo, Bvumbwe, Malawi. © Abbie Trayler-Smith / Oxfam. Acknowledgements This backgrounder was inspired by the presentations and discussions at the Roundtable on “Food Security a nd Gender: Approaches that work for women smallholder farmers” co -hosted by ActionAid International and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) on 5 October 2011, with participation from CARE, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Find Your Feet, Oxfam, Practical Action, Save the Children, Self Help Africa, and the University of East Anglia (Dr Nitya Rao). The backgrounder is the result of a collaboration between Ruchi Tripathi and Youjin B. Chung (ActionAid International); Karl Deering (CARE); Nadia Saracini (Christian Aid); Robin Willoughby (Concern Worldwide); Olivia Wills (Find Your Feet); Monique Mikhail (Oxfam); Hilary Warburton (Practical Action); Daphne Jayasinghe (Save the Children); Jenny Rafanomezana and Marina Churm (Self Help Africa). Design: Youjin B. Chung London March 2012  “Before working in agroecology, cacao was the main crop and the most important crop placed under men’s  responsibility. Women now fight and acquire the independence to plant other crops. We can increase the family’s food intake as well as its income.”    –    Andrelice “Déo” Silva dos Santos, from Bahia State, Brazil   “I never imagined I could become a village leader. We have a very hard time with water shortages and drought in this area. We know the climate is changing and droughts are more likely,  so we are conserving water in better ways.”  –   Sar Ren, from Peam Commune, Sanaki Meanchey District, Kampong Chnang Province, Cambodia   “For the first time  , I was given my own land to work on. Now with water I have two crops already. It gives me more than enough food, and I can sell the grain to pay for fees, medical bills, and extra help in the fields. I can even support my extended family who don’t have their own land . ”    –   Ipaishe Masvingise, from Gutu District, Zimbabwe “I have improved my knowledge and I share this with my children. Previously I was a silent woman, I feared expressing myself and trembled with fear. Now I have a radio programme through which I spread the word on the work of the Kamayoq [community-based extension agents] and on technological advances.”    –   Maria Huaman Quispe, from Pampa Ccalasaya Community, Canchis Province, Cusco Region, Peru    4     “After learning  new agricultural techniques and being linked to a local cooperative, I can now produce up to 200kg of maize. I also grow green vegetables. Previously, I only ate one meal a day and I had no porridge. Now we have an abundance of food. It is because we are growing food in a good way.”    –   Genevieve Manishimwe, from Nyange Village, Murambi Cell, Gakenke District, Rwanda “ I remember the first time I sold all my tomatoes. I made about £37. It felt so good when I had all that money in my hand. I look back to that time as being my proudest moment. I used that money for the walls of my house. ”    –   Leyla Kayere, from Mnembo, Bvumbwe, Malawi “We set up a cooperativ e around our gardening activities. The  standard of living in my community has improved a lot and we now have a better economic situation. I hope that our group will collect more in our reserve fund so that we can help and assist other members of the commu nity.”    –   Mavluda Akhmedova, from Dekhanabad, Tajikistan “The Self Help Group is of great help to all of us. Because we are   Santhals (a tribal group) the government officials didn’t used to listen to us. Now we are strong as a group and they have to listen to us. We don’t depend on anybody anymore.”  –   Muklu Tudu, from Mahuapather Village, Dumka District, Jharkhand State, India  
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