FAO Liaison Office in Brussels

Belgium and FAO: Leaving no one behind in community development


In collaboration with the Belgian Development Cooperation, FAO’s Inclusive Rural Transformation and Gender Equity Division held the first in a series of five webinars, “Community Engagement for Empowerment: Key for People-Centered Rural Transformation?” Participants looked at the achievements, potential and challenges of community engagement for empowerment in development and humanitarian interventions and strategies.

FAO Chief Economist, Máximo Torero Cullen underscored the value of community engagement as a tool to address problems like rural poverty and gender inequality, while empowering all community members without discrimination.

Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the Rome-based United Nations Agencies, Frank Carruet pointed out how Belgium and FAO share the same vision of leaving no one behind, and stressed the need to push for behavioral and social changes to achieve the engagement of the entire community. He underlined the importance of rural women as key actors for food security.

Secretary General at the Ministry of Agriculture of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Evariste Bushabu Bopeming praised FAO’s Dimitra clubs in his country as spaces that facilitate dialogue and joint decision-making, which contribute to achieving gender equality.

Professor at the University of Sussex, Robert Chambers was one of the keynote speakers at the event.

The FAO Dimitra Project is supported through Belgian Development Cooperation. It aims to improve the visibility of rural populations and highlight their potential as producers, so that their respective interests are better taken into consideration, allowing them to fully participate in the development of their communities and countries.

Since 1998, the project has been helping to strengthen the capacities of rural populations, women in particular, through the sharing of information and the exchange of experiences.

The next session in the series, entitled “Community Engagement for Gender Equality and Rural Women’s Empowerment” is scheduled to take place on 11 March.

The recording of the event is available here.