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FAO and India's SEWA seek closer cooperation to boost rural women's access to land, skills and financial resources

Partnership would include capacity development and empowerment initiatives

27/05/2016 - 

27 May 2016, Rome - FAO said today it will engage in a strategic partnership with India's Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) in order to optimize its efforts on the empowerment of rural people, women in particular, which are key to eradicate poverty and hunger and to promote nutritious and healthy food systems.

The partnership will be signed later this year.

Registered as a trade union in 1972, SEWA is a membership organization of 1.9 million poor self-employed women workers. Its primary focus is assisting marginalized women farmers and informal sector workers through social mobilization campaigns and capacity development.

Recognizing that high poverty levels, especially in rural areas, stem from many factors, including limited income-generating opportunities, inadequate livelihood options and a lack of participation in decision-making processes, FAO and SEWA are currently exploring a range of cooperation opportunities.

These include, monitoring and evaluation processes, and inter sectoral participatory approaches for the empowerment of the rural poor, particularly women and young people.

By joining forces, FAO and SEWA would add value to this and other aspects of their work, which is underpinned by the common objectives of reducing rural poverty and ensuring food security.

Good practices, shared objectives

Important areas where FAO and SEWA will work together include identifying, documenting and disseminating successful and innovative experiences and good practices. These in turn could contribute to multi-disciplinary research studies at national, regional and international level.

Both FAO and SEWA believe that generating evidence, experience and knowledge on the inclusion of women and young people in the rural economy serves as a crucial means to ensure sustainable food security and nutrition and to inform policy dialogue. 

A primary shared objective includes strengthening the capacities of poor rural people to organize themselves and put in place sound governance practices, gender equality measures and to use these to engage in lobbying and advocacy to help bring about policy change.

As part of their engagement, FAO and SEWA are developing a work plan envisaging exchange visits and south-south learning among different regions in Asia and in Africa.