Joint Programme on Gender Transformative Approaches
for Food Security and Nutrition

card alt card alt wfp-logo card alt

Ecuador: Gender transformative approaches help reduce inequality gaps in agricultural organizations


A passion for sustainable agriculture brought together rural associations and technicians from government institutions in Guayas and Morona Santiago, with the aim of facilitating transformative processes that promote gender equality in their communities.

In August 2022, in the framework of the JP GTA, IFAD together with 10 technicians from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Ecuador, the Institute of Popular and Solidarity Economy (IEPS) and the Municipality of Huamboya provided gender capacity strengthening for 33 leaders of rural associations. The learning activity was implemented through a methodology and training process called “Cerrando Brecha” (“Closing the Gap”) and entails that the knowledge gained is replicated in their organizations. 

The Cerrando Brecha methodology seeks to identify forms of gender inequity in rural organizations through practical tools that guide reflection and analysis, with the aim of reducing obstacles that limit the ability of men and women to have equal opportunities to improve their lives. Based on their shared tasks, the members agree upon transformative measures and personal development actions to strengthen the economic empowerment of rural women. 

For example, José Palma from the parish of General Vernaza in Guayas represents ASODULVA, an association of producers of artisanal jams made from organic fruit. José emphasized the important contribution of the Cerrando Brecha approach to the inclusive development of small farmers associations, and – together with his team – committed to replicate the methodology in their community.

Likewise, 17 other organizations have benefited from a modernization of infrastructure and from learning about operational issues such as sustainability, climate change and gender equality – topics promoted by IFAD in Ecuador.

In Morona Santiago, the training was carried out over the course of six days, aimed at a number of associations of rural entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector, as well as district technicians of the IEPS, the Family Farming Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Human Rights Board of local governments.

Knowledge and self-assessment capacities were strengthened using a technique known as “Learn, Practice, Apply” which seeks to ensure the application of Cerrando Brecha concepts, in addition to identifying affirmative actions linked to gender equality and women's empowerment. Overall, it is aimed at developing a concrete action plan to challenge unequal conditions, in addition to triggering a theory of change and follow up on the case.

Another of the beneficiary associations in the province was the Sinai (Macas) Cooperative of Agricultural Production of Sugar Cane Derivatives, made up of 70 farmers. The participants noted that the training, organized under the JP GTA, leads not only to economic development, but also to a better quality of life for the diverse members of the cooperative. 

The participants from the agricultural sector, who were trained as facilitators of the methodology, emphasized the fundamental contribution of the two specialists of the Cerrando Brecha methodology, Ana Lucia Moreno from Costa Rica and Elsa Tejada from El Salvador. Through the Joint Programme, they were able to highlight the power of change to reduce gender inequalities in the most vulnerable areas of the country.

Workshop participants have signed a commitment letter pledging to apply the knowledge gained within their organizations and institutions. 

The Joint Programme on Gender Transformative Approaches for Food Security and Nutrition (JP GTA) is implemented by the United Nations Rome-based Agencies – FAO, IFAD and WFP – in collaboration with and through financial support from the European Union, with an investment of around US$ 1 million towards rural women and men in Ecuador.

Images: ©FAO/Andrea Vera