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Gender-sensitive income-generating activities in the Niger

Promoting the central importance of the economic and social roles of women in the context of the United Nations Rome-based Agencies Resilience Initiative

From 2017 to 2023, with support from the Government of Canada, the United Nations Rome-based agencies (RBAs) – the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) – implemented a joint pilot initiative to increase resilience in food security and nutrition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Niger, and Somalia. The aim of this initiative was to achieve humanitarian and development objectives by addressing immediate food needs, while sustainably improving food security in areas affected by prolonged and recurrent crises, with a particular focus on vulnerable women and children.

The goal of this good practice fact sheet is to present the commitment of the three agencies in promoting the central role of women in the Republic of the Niger, while showcasing FAO's specific activities on:

  • nutrition and family practices;
  • capacity development through training of women’s organizations;
  • strengthening of women's leadership; and
  • technical assistance for the processing, preservation, and marketing of agricultural products.

In the Niger, rural populations, especially women and children, are particularly affected by poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition. The RBA initiative helped improve the resilience and food security of vulnerable communities in the Niger, while strengthening the role of women in decision-making and their economic development. To ensure sustainability, women's literacy, financial education and access to credit have been identified as essential conditions.


  • On gender: This intervention showed that introducing technological solutions that help women optimize their time and reduce the arduous nature of their tasks, such as irrigation systems and solar energy sources, enables them to have more time to participate in more income-generating activities, thereby diversifying their sources of income and fostering their empowerment. Moreover, women’s involvement in governance mechanisms strengthens their role in the social life of their communities. Lastly, literacy, financial and entrepreneurial education, and facilitated access to financial resources empower women and women’s groups to control the planning of their business.
  • On nutrition: Knowledge-building campaigns on locally available micronutrient-rich foods, malnutrition prevention and culinary techniques were offered to actors in the target communities, while advisory support was provided to community workers and government healthcare workers on nutrition. This intervention shows that food and nutrition education empowers vulnerable members of the communities to make the best use of limited food resources and consume a variety of local nutrient dense foods. This can be achieved by thinking beyond food and nutrition education messages, including activities that involve hands-on learning, observation and discussion, while also building on existing experience and expertise.
  • On community engagement: The creation of safe spaces for dialogue and action that bring together men and women of all ages (for example through Dimitra Clubs), enables communities to identify and analyze their own problems and concerns, as well as implement solutions through collective action and by mobilizing their own resources. Moreover, by involving such clubs and collaborating with community radio stations, the knowledge shared in the various training courses is spread beyond the villages targeted by the programme.
  • On market opportunities: Access to markets, productivity, and competitivity are promoted by participative and inclusive entrepreneurial training on associative life and business planning as well as by training courses on techniques of storage, conservation, and processing of agricultural products. Such results can also be fostered by facilitating women’s groups’ access to credit to develop and finance their activities, and by allocating high-performance equipment and materials for pooled use, for example through a union.


The Niger | Strengthening livelihoods resilience in protracted crises

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