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10 Things You Should Know about Feed the Future and Women’s Empowerment

By USAID, Bureau for Food Security, Sylvia Cabus, Gender Advisor

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Feed the Future is proud to highlight 10 recent examples of how our work supports women’s empowerment.

  1. The second of a series of online and in-person events comprising a Gender Global Learning and Evidence Exchange (GLEE) took place on January 30 and 31. More than 70 individuals from USAID, implementing partners, and research institutions from around the world connected online for rich and substantial discussions on innovation, women’s participation, partnering with host governments, training, gender-sensitive programming, and discovering the latest and greatest in gender integration. As part of the GLEE, Agrilinks is hosting a related Twitter chat on March 8.
  2. Feed the Future is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index this month. Over the past year, Feed the Future rolled out this innovative monitoring and evaluation tool in all focus countries. The Index measures women’s empowerment in five areas—production, resources, income, leadership, and time use—and also measures women’s empowerment relative to men within their households.
  3. The African Women in Agriculture Research and Development (AWARD) program recently announced the winners of its 2013 fellowships: 70 women scientists from 11 African countries. Feed the Future and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have joined forces to support AWARD in cultivating a new generation of African leaders in food and agriculture, including technically competent, influential women. The program is pilot-testing fellowships for women in French-speaking African countries this year.
  4. Feed the Future supports gender integration in climate change and other environmental disciplines that affect agriculture production, including a USAID report and training on Gender, Agriculture, and Climate Change for the East Africa region.
  5. This past year, the U.S. Government gained an important new tool to promote property rights, particularly for women. The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, adopted by more than 95 member countries of the UN Committee on World Food Security, places special emphasis on the need to protect the rights of women and other vulnerable groups. When women in developing countries have secure rights to land and property, it creates a ripple of benefits for their families and communities.
  6. The Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services project continues to provide support to USAID Missions on important topics such as Applying Gender-Responsive Value-Chain Analysis in Extension and Advisory Services so both men and women farmers can access the latest technical assistance and information through local extension agents. This year’s MEAS conference will highlight case studies on improving extension services to women farmers.
  7. Feed the Future supports women-led and owned cooperatives and farmers’ groups in Africa through grants from the U.S. African Development Foundation, such as Koba Club in Senegal, the Chisanzo Dairy Cooperative in Malawi, and the Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Society in Uganda. These grants provided much-needed capital to grow businesses, increase productivity, and gain new skills.
  8. Host country governments recognize the value of Feed the Future’s focus on involving women, as shown in the Cambodian Minister of Women’s Affairs recent visit to Feed the Future projects.
  9. Feed the Future provides women with opportunities to contribute to household income as well as their communities. For example, we’re supporting these women in Kenya and Tanzania as they make a difference in their communities.
  10. In Nepal, USAID’s Suaahara (“Good Nutrition”) project uses an innovative “model farmer” approach to convey key health and nutrition messages and provide information on growing home gardens. The model farmer is always a woman, may also be a community health volunteer, and is chosen by her community as an active and committed leader.

How is your work supporting women’s empowerment? Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

 More information on gender integration in Feed the Future

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