Capitalize and share knowledge on food security
and empowerment of rural people
December 2012: The inauguration of the inventory credit centre in Founzan, Burkina Faso will be celebrated 13 December 2012.
November 2012: Two workshops (mini-sharefairs) on the exchange of good practices will be held in December, on the subject of management of inputs. One will be held in Niamey, Niger on 5 and 6 December 2012, the other will be held in Founzan in Burkina Faso on 13 and 14 December 2012. Participants are the partners of the Programme "Knowledge Management and Gender" in Niger and Burkina Faso. These meetings are organized by the project Good practice capitalization in support of agricultural production and food security, and serve as the final event in order to learn lessons from the Project, which ends in December 2012.
October 2012: Dimitra Newsletter 22 is now available in English and French. This issue places the spotlight on the Dimitra community listeners’ clubs, with a special dossier made up of several articles that focus on the impact of projects under way, the development of this approach and the launch of new initiatives.
In Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the rate at which listeners’ clubs are being formed and the fact that the approach is now being reproduced in various settings are indications of the success of this strategy and the extent to which it is proving sustainable. In South Kivu, for example, a new formula has been tested with excellent results: the introduction of Farmer Field and Life Schools has been supported by existing community listeners’ clubs. In addition, a process for evaluating the impact of the clubs has revealed an unexpected but promising factor: the improved capacity of club members to engage in more formal rural structures. In this sense, the clubs are paving the way for greater participation of women in producers’ organizations and rural cooperatives.
The success of the clubs has led to the setting up of new projects in Burundi, Senegal, Mauritania and the DRC (Oriental Province). At the request of various organizations and agencies, FAO-Dimitra is helping to implement these projects based on gender sensitive participatory methodologies that are flexible and well adapted, with a goal that remains unchanged: the empowerment of men and women in a rural environment.
October 2012: From Dimitra Newsletter 22: Still on the question of empowerment, we highlight FAO’s Capitalisation of good practices in support of agricultural production and food security project, which, together with VIE Kande Ni Bayra, is implementing an initiative in Niger to empower producers’ organizations that are members of the Cigaba Union. In this country, the position of women in producers’ organizations and the issue of gender in agricultural innovations have been explored in two separate studies carried out by the Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division of FAO, with the support of Dimitra. The results are presented in this issue.
October 2012: In this episode of Hungry Planet, three reports on agricultural cooperatives, a key to food security. In Guatemala, farmers making a living from small plots of land struggle to produce bigger crops, become better connected to markets and earn more money. In Afghanistan, as foreign troops prepare to leave, an unexpected kind of peace building is taking place thanks to the rise in dairy cooperatives. In Southern Niger (at 07:13 minutes), agricultural cooperatives gain access to better seeds and better farming techniques to fight the region's severe droughts.
See also IARBIC website: www.iarbic.net/
July 2012: Agricultural cooperatives are the focus of World Food Day 2012. “Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world” is the formal wording of the 2012 theme. It has been chosen to highlight the role of cooperatives in improving food security and contributing to the eradication of hunger. Interest in cooperatives and rural organizations is also reflected in the decision of the UN General Assembly to designate 2012 “International Year of Cooperatives.” See also Issues Paper on Agricultural cooperatives.
May 2012: Despite the key contribution they make to producing and processing agricultural products and providing food security for their families, women farmers in Niger still have very limited access to natural resources and productive opportunities. They also play a quite marginal role in decision-making in rural institutions. These observations were highlighted by an FAO study on the role and participation of women in producer organizations (POs) in Niger.
The study was conducted by FAO’s “Rural Institutions and People’s Empowerment” (RIPE) team in eight different regions of the country, targeting both mixed POs (71%) and women’s POs (29%). Specific aim: to identify the constraints that prevent women from becoming involved in POs in Niger.
The study showed that joining a producer organization was no obstacle for women, since they can become members without any particular restrictions. The situation changes when it comes to women taking a full and active part in PO activities. For example, in the case of mixed POs, it emerges that women are in the majority in terms of members (59% are women, 41% are men), but their numbers fall dramatically when it comes to management positions (81% are men; 19% are women). It was observed that the obstacles are not structural or economic, but are mainly linked to cultural and social norms woven into the fabric of Nigerien society. The study also revealed that in general, women’s access to resources and information remains very limited. Marginalization of women was also observed when it comes to active participation in management committees and decision-making in POs. In almost half of all cases, women were under represented in such bodies and in one quarter of the cases, they were totally absent. In the rare cases where women obtain key posts in POs, the decision to allocate these posts is always taken by men, never by women.
May 2012: Three years after the launch of the Dimitra community listeners’ clubs project in Niger, a participatory evaluation process was set up to analyse its results in terms of the changes which came about as a result of the clubs’ dynamic. The evaluation was carried out in two phases, a field study followed by a forum which brought together all stakeholders.
After collecting data in the field through a basic questionnaire, meetings were organized to find out if club members had noticed any changes to their livelihoods at individual or community level. An impact evaluation forum was then organized on 22 and 23 May in Niamey. The meeting brought together about fifty women and men listeners’ club members from all the areas involved. The objective: examining the results of the field study and the discussions in terms of individual and collective changes, discussing the lessons learned and drawing up future plans.
In short, the community listeners’ clubs dynamic has enabled discussions and initiatives in the following areas: agriculture and livestock, access to land, literacy, health, nutrition and public hygiene. Social cohesion is decidedly stronger and individual and collective support systems have been set up for the benefit of the community, and it was noted that women have been empowered at different levels.
- Un club d'écoute dispose entre autres d'une radio solaire et à manivelle © FAO
March 2012: A very interesting article in French in New Agriculturist March 2012 on les clubs d’écoute in Niger (Community listeners' clubs) and the work of l'ONG VIE - Kande Ni Bayra ('Apporte ton savoir') and Dimitra.
"[...] Mariama, comme beaucoup de femmes au Niger, n'avait pas voix au chapitre lors des décisions engageant la vie de la communauté telles l'accès à la terre, au crédit et à la formation. Encouragées par l'ONG VIE - Kande Ni Bayra ('Apporte ton savoir') et Dimitra, projet de la FAO qui ancre son action depuis 1998 dans les dimensions du genre, de l'information et de la communication vers et avec le monde rural, les populations ont mis en place à partir de 2009 des espaces pour partager l'information et transformer qualitativement leurs conditions de vie. Ces espaces de dialogue s'inspirent du modèle des clubs d'écoute communautaires encadrés par Dimitra au Sud-Kivu (République démocratique du Congo) dès 2003."
March 2012: Bulletin Dimitra 21 is now available in English and French. This issue focuses on particularly innovative activities that enable women to have better access to land in several African countries.
March 2012: Dimitra Newsletter 21 is now available in English and French. See page 11: Within the framework of FAO’s Knowledge Management and Gender Programme, the Capitalisation of good practices in support of agricultural production and food security project organised an action learning workshop on the capitalisation of good practices in Niamey (Niger) from 5 to 9 December 2011.
The action learning workshop in Niamey was attended by 21 people, a third of whom were women. It brought together the Capitalisation project team, several members of the IARBIC project (Intensifying agriculture by strengthening cooperative input shops), of the Emergency Rehabilitation and Coordination Unit (ERCU), ONG-VIE (Dimitra’s partner), as well as representatives of three producers’ organisations: Mooriben, the Réseau national des chambres d’agriculture du Niger (RECA – National Network of Nigerien Chambers of Agriculture) and the Fédération des Coopératives Maraîchères du Niger (FCMN-Niya – Federation of Nigerien Market Gardening Cooperatives). The participants went away with an action plan and a promise to meet again in three months to exchange their good practice sheets. A handbook on the capitalisation of good practices with a gender dimension is due for publication in 2012.
Some useful resources shared during the training course: Communicating gender for rural development: Integrating gender in communication for development (FAO-Dimitra); Knowledge management and gender: clarifying the concepts ; Knowledge sharing for development – e-learning module; Du terrain au partage (Sharing experiences from the field) – handbook on building on experiences (in French).
8 March 2012, Rome: One of the keys to eradicating hunger and extreme poverty is to increase social, educational and economic opportunities for women and girls. A new Gender Equality Policy launched today by FAO aims to place the improvement of gender equality at the center of the UN agency’s work to boost sustainable agriculture and development. “FAO's gender policy underscores the Organization’s commitment to addressing gender and women’s issues to eradicate hunger and poverty,” said FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva.
March 2012, New York: From the intervention of Belgium at CSW56 - 2012, Interactive Expert Panel 1, 28 February 2012.
".....L’empowerment individuel et collectif des femmes rurales est un axe prioritaire de la stratégie belge dans le secteur de l’agriculture et de la sécurité alimentaire. Les femmes jouent un rôle crucial dans la production agricole des pays en développement, ce qui fait de celles-ci d’importants agents de développement économique. En outre, la part considérable de la production vivrière imputable aux femmes fait de celles-ci les principaux agents de la sécurité alimentaire et du bien-être des ménages en milieu rural. Malgré cela, les femmes rurales restent le plus souvent « invisibles » lorsqu’il s’agit d’investissements, de politiques et de programmes. L’effort de la Belgique en la matière vise à ce que les femmes puissent participer, sur un pied d’égalité avec les hommes, au développement agricole et aux bénéfices qui en découlent et, de la sorte, contribuer pleinement à la sécurité alimentaire et à la croissance économique en milieu rural. [...]
Dimitra, géré par la FAO et soutenu financièrement par la coopération belge dans le cadre d’un programme « genre et connaissances » est un projet d'information et de communication participative qui contribue à améliorer la visibilité des populations rurales, particulièrement des femmes. Le projet vise à permettre aux femmes rurales et à leurs organisations de faire entendre leur voix aux niveaux national et international. Ainsi il contribue à améliorer leurs conditions de vie et leur statut en soulignant l'importance et la valeur de leurs contributions à la sécurité alimentaire et au développement durable."
January 2012: New FAO animation: Closing the gap between men and women in agriculture. It aims to maintain the momentum of the key messages delivered through The State and Food and Agriculture 2010-11: Women in agriculture – closing the gap for development. See video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDM828TpVpY An accompanying website ( www.fao.org/sofa/gender ) offers a topical approach to closing the gender gap in access to agricultural resources, inputs and services, with key facts and policy recommendations broken down by theme, allowing visitors to quickly access the specific information they need.