005 Women's empowerment for food security and nutrition for all: evidence from joint UN work

How to demonstrate the value added of joint work for women's empowerment to achieve food security and nutrition for all? Lessons from the JP RWEE

Organizers

  • Sweden
  • Norway
  • FAO
  • IFAD
  • WFP
  • UN Women

Abstract

Through its 2017 Forum on “Women's Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition”, the Committee on World Food Security has reiterated how gender equality and women's economic empowerment are a key prerequisite to ensuring the right to adequate food, achieving food security and improved nutrition for all, and ultimately for realizing the 2030 Agenda. This is why, since 2014, FAO, IFAD, WFP and UN Women have been working together through the Joint Programme "Accelerating progress towards the economic empowerment of rural women"(JP RWEE), in order to strengthen rural women's meaningful participation in agricultural production, improve their food security and nutrition, increase  their incomes, and support their leadership and decision-making in households and communities. The JP RWEE integrated, layered approach aims at addressing key structural barriers to gender equality and women's economic empowerment in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Niger and Rwanda through a set of interventions targeted at individuals, communities, and national governments. As demonstrated in its 2017 annual report, the JP has been able to achieve significant results in all its thematic areas, and has found innovative ways to measure the added value of a joint approach to women's economic empowerment in which each individual programme component contributes to broader results. The side event will therefore present emerging lessons on the impacts of the JP RWEE support, including methodological aspects, with a focus on food security and nutrition. Country level results and impact studies conducted by the JP will serve as a basis for a broader debate on how to capture the gender dimension in monitoring and evaluation activities of joint multidimensional programmes.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Carin Jämtin, Director-General of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) (via VC)
  • Gerald Günther UN Women Representative in Kyrgyzstan
  • Susan Kaaria, Senior Gender Officer, FAO
  • Ndaya Beltchika, Lead Technical Specialist – Gender and Social Inclusion, IFAD
  • Ibrahim Bangana, Technical Advisor, Ministry of Agriculture of Niger (via VC)
  • Per Mogstad, Senior Advisor, Section for UN Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway
  • Amir Abdulla, Deputy Executive Director, WFP

Main themes/issues discussed

The main theme discussed in the side event was the new evidence about the joint work of FAO, IFAD, WFP and UN Women to eliminate hunger and malnutrition through the provision of a layered, integrated approach for women’s economic empowerment. Emerging lessons from both the programmatic and coordination aspects of the UN joint programme were presented, including innovative methodologies, such as the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) and the Gender Action Learning System (GALS), to support and measure women’s empowerment in agriculture in relation to the value added of working jointly to end hunger and malnutrition by addressing key gender issues in agriculture.

Summary of key points

The 2017 session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) reiterated that gender equality and women’s empowerment are prerequisites to secure food security and nutrition, the right to food, and for the overall success of the 2030 Agenda. As part of this effort, since 2014, FAO, IFAD, WFP and UN Women have been working together through the Joint Programme "Accelerating progress towards the economic empowerment of rural women"(JP RWEE) in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Nepal, Niger and Rwanda. The JP RWEE is achieving significant results in all its thematic areas, and has used innovative ways to measure the added value of a joint UN approach to women's economic empowerment.

The event highlighted country-level results of the JP and contributed to the debate on how to capture the gender dimension in monitoring and evaluation of joint multidimensional programmes. The interventions included a keynote presentation of the JP evaluation in Kyrgyzstan, a video presenting the JP impacts in Nepal through the voices of women beneficiaries, and a plenary discussion featuring country experiences with using different evaluation methodologies such as the WEAI in Ethiopia; GALS in Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan and Guatemala; and Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) studies in Niger. In the concluding segment, the donors of the JP (Sweden and Norway) outlined why it is important to invest in joint initiatives for women’s empowerment, and to systematically evaluate their results.

Key take away messages

The evidence presented in this side event, compounded by the key results included in the JP RWEE 2017 annual report, clearly showed that the JP is generating new knowledge on ways to measure women’s empowerment. This can be attributed to the specific features of the JP RWEE:

  • The provision of an integrated development package to each beneficiary maximizes the impact of interventions in all domains.
  • Working in partnership and building on each participating agency’s comparative advantage enhances programme performance and results.
  • The use of innovative, participatory methodologies such as GALS has the potential to deepen results for economic empowerment and ensure sustainability through a process of transforming gender relations.
  • Rigorous quantitative and qualitative tools, such as WEAI and pro-WEAI, are useful in designing appropriate strategies to foster women’s empowerment.
  • The results of nutrition studies in Niger show that the JP’s holistic approach is more impactful than other sectoral interventions, because each programme component contributes to the broader result.
CFS - Side Event 005 - Women's empowerment for food security and nutrition for all: evidence from joint UN work