Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM)

Gender equality and women empowerment in food and agriculture


To ensure that policy and institutional frameworks and strategies for rural poverty reduction, food security and sustainable agriculture are more gender sensitive and promote rural women’s economic empowerment and stronger voice within communities and organizations.

Status of the subprogramme
On going

Major results


  • Partnerships strengthened with the World Food Programme (WFP), UN Women (Ethiopia, Italy and Rwanda), and CARE USA staff from Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe under Output 3.
  • Partnership within FAO is at the core of the Dimitra Club approach. The Regional Resilience, Emergency and Rehabilitation Office for West Africa/Sahel (REOWA) has included Dimitra Clubs in its package of approaches used in the Caisses de resilience. Collaboration with farmer field schools is also essential in this regard in the framework of the caisses.
  • Discussions were initiated by the FAO Office in Senegal regarding a possible partnership with the Global Environment Facility-funded project being implemented by FAO to increase climate resilience for food security via Farmer Field Schools and Dimitra Clubs. This partnership would create positive synergies between improved environmental impact of interventions and greater gender equality, benefitting both projects.


  • The capacity of 25 field practitioners was strengthened to implement the Women’s Empowerment Farmer Business School approach, aiming to empower women by applying a gender lens to business skills development in the field of family farming (Kenya, November 2019).
  • Training organized directly by field projects to reach estimated 5 000 individuals, covering issues such as gender, group activities, inclusive participation, communication and the Dimitra Clubs approach. Trainees will then deliver training to members of their clubs (75 000 people). New Dimitra Club facilitators (100) were trained to provide adequate support to Clubs.


  • The achievements of Dimitra Clubs led new countries to request clubs (i.e. Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia); new projects have integrated the approach, particularly resilience projects and countries in post-conflict or fragile contexts. In the Niger, for example, UN Women decided to use the approach in its large project to fight gender-based violence.


  • The project’s cross-sectoral nature (gender equality) and of Dimitra Clubs approach is an incentive for collaborative work across numerous divisions and Strategic Programmes in FAO headquarters and in Decentralized Offices.


  • Gender equality and women’s empowerment are the core intervention areas of this subprogramme.


  • The Dimitra Club approach has been successfully used in several projects financed by the Peacebuilding Fund to reduce conflicts between farmers and pastoralists as well as Global Environment Facility-funded projects to boost community actions to mitigate and prevent climate change.
  • Four FAO country offices (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, the Niger and Senegal) are investing in developing capacities and hiring FAO experts of Dimitra Clubs to follow the projects.


  • Given the unpredictability of resources under the FMM, it will be a challenge to secure financing to work in three different countries and continue to provide support to the Dimitra Clubs in an increasing number of countries. In this last case, even if the countries engage resources to implement the clubs, the learning, M&E and capacity development process will constantly require additional funding.
  • In almost all the countries, insecurity is dominating (Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, the Niger).

Due to COVID-19, challenges faced are:

  • Travel and movement restrictions. FAO country offices in sub-Saharan Africa and HQ experience reduced missions, workshops, and contacts with people. Several missions have already been cancelled; others are delayed. Capacity development and training efforts will be delayed.
  • Recruitment of consultants on hold.
  • Social distancing rules pose challenges to the modality of functioning/ creation of the Dimitra Clubs.

Mitigation of the challenges:

  • Smaller gatherings respecting social distancing were organized at village level to sensitize on the virus and measures.
  • The Dimitra Clubs were selected by FAO offices (Niger and Senegal) to sensitize communities on the COVID-19 measures, and to make sure that development activities do not suffer too much delay. A technical note is being prepared to illustrate the role that the Dimitra Clubs could play in this context.
  • Hiring local consultants for tasks originally envisaged for international consultants.
  • Postponement of activities.

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