Flexible Voluntary Contribution (FVC)

Gender equality and women’s empowerment in agriculture, food security and nutrition


To contribute to more gender-sensitive agricultural and rural development policies and poverty reduction strategies and programs, ensuring they promote rural women’s agency, economic empowerment and stronger voice within communities and organizations. The ultimate beneficiaries are rural women, especially those living in poverty and facing gender-based barriers to their economic and social advancement. In the case of Dimitra Clubs, they also include the most vulnerable (women and men, girls and boys and marginalized groups).  

Status of the subprogramme
On going

Major results

This sub-programme is coordinated by the FAO Inclusive Rural Transformation and Gender Equality (ESP) Division, and operationally supported by FAO country and regional offices. Activities have been planned according to four main outcomes expected: 

  • Improved access of policy and decision makers to evidence-based knowledge and tools to analyze gender gaps in policy frameworks, as well as programs and design to implement gender-sensitive agricultural, rural development and poverty reduction strategies and programs;
  • Enhanced rural women’s agency, participation, and voice in community and producer’s organizations through Dimitra Clubs in target countries (Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and Cambodia);
  • Increased rural women’s access to and control over productive resources, knowledge, services, market opportunities and lucrative value chains;
  • Increased use of the Dimitra Clubs model in rural development initiatives and strategies to improve their implementation in terms of gender equality, inclusive participation, and community mobilization. 


  • Women's Empowerment Farmer Business Schools (WE-FBS) approach implemented in Kenya and Cambodia: over 317 facilitators trained in the approach and about 5,500 female and male farmers’ capacities developed between 2020 and 2021. 
  • Policy advice provided on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in agriculture and food security.
  • Increased knowledge of women and men from rural communities about women’s economic empowerment and women’s land rights.
  • 4,500 Dimitra Clubs set up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and in new countries such as Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi and Mauritania, accounting for 135,000 members (60% being women and girls), including 9,000 new Dimitra Clubs’ leaders.
  • 4,500 Dimitra Clubs equipped with wind-up and solar powered radios to allow collective listening and sharing of experiences. 
  • Dimitra Clubs’ approach integrated and supported in 28 new projects (both FAO and UN Joint Programs). 


  • There is a need to set-up a global network of Dimitra Clubs’ practitioners through a step-by-step capacity development approach to ensure an adequate scale-up of the Dimitra Clubs’ approach. A pilot of this capacity development strategy took place in DR Congo in June 2022 through the organization of a four-day methodological session on the Dimitra Clubs, addressed to 30 participants from FAO, decentralized government units and NGOs. This will be replicated also in Niger and Senegal.
  • In terms of innovation and partnerships, there is a need to explore the improved use of information and communications technology in the framework of both approaches (Dimitra Clubs and WE-FBS).
  • In advancing gender equality and rural women’s economic empowerment in agriculture and food security, the sub-programme will continue to provide technical support in policy dialogues
  • To further strengthen the capacity of different stakeholders at different levels and promote knowledge sharing through technical workshops and South-South and Triangular Cooperation events


  • Promoting collaboration between partners is key to streamlining the implementation of the sub-programme.
  • Institutionalizing collaboration and synergies from the beginning facilitates the sustainability and scale-up opportunities of the sub-programme. 
  • Delays due to COVID-19. Field activities such as launch workshops, training and backstopping missions were organized using online modalities and successful mitigation measures were taken, such as working with local partners.
  • Despite the worsening of security issues in the Sahel in 2021-22, activities have been successfully conducted through new local partnerships.
Useful links

About Women Empowerment Farmer Business Schools, talking books and gender equality 



·      FAO´s FMM Digital Field Trip 2021 - Kenya


·      When gender and business visions converge

·      Talking Books provide an innovative solution to reach rural communities in Uganda

·      Entrepreneurial skills to empower rural women in Cambodia

·      Shifting mindsets on gender for rural development, food security and nutrition in Cambodia

·      Promoting gender equality and supporting female and male farmers in Cambodia to do farming as business


·       Project factsheet-Cambodia


About Dimitra Clubs and community engagement



·      Community Engagement for Empowerment


·       Strengthening Climate Resilience through People Centered Approaches 

·       Dimitra Clubs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

·  Gender transformative approaches for food security, improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture – A compendium of fifteen good practices


·       Participation in Practice: Closing the gender gap with Dimitra Clubs approach


·       FAO Dimitra Clubs in the fight against #COVID19

·       Niger: Women’s Leadership, Dialogue and Social Cohesion

·       FAO´s FMM Digital Field Trip 2021-Niger

·       Dimitra Clubs and Farmer Field Schools face off against COVID-19

·       Madagascar: Réduire le phénomène migratoire


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