Through its partnership with Lutheran World Relief, FRB supported a pilot project called Learning for Gender Integration. Read about the results in the article below.
Farmers in the Flor de Pancasán area of Nicaragua’s Matiguás municipality were struggling. They were seeing low crop yields for a variety of reasons, including soil depletion, a lack of resources to make key investments and weather fluctuations, and this was affecting their ability to feed their families. Through its Learning for Gender Integration project, Lutheran World Relief wanted to see whether an initiative to increase agricultural production and improve food security might be bolstered with efforts to reduce gender gaps.
FRB’s Uganda-Busoga program is based on the premise that the food security of smallholder maize farmers increases when husbands and wives learn to work together toward the goal of increasing their maize production. Traditionally, women and men have farmed separately, with women’s efforts going toward caring for the whole family, and men raising money that sometimes went to the family but most often went to meet their individual needs. This program encourages both spouses to think about the family as a unit that needs to be cared for first.
The FRB/LWR Nicaragua-Pancasán pilot program seeks to reduce the gender gap evident in the practices of a local farmer cooperative by including as many women as possible in the co-op’s services. Gender inequality has a profound effect on food security. When women have less access to land and capital for farming activities, they are less involved in economically productive activities, and earn much less than men. When both women and men have access to resources they can grow more food and generate more income for their families.
In the Busoga region of Uganda, FRB and its member organization Lutheran World Relief (LWR) are partnering with NAMUBUKA Grains Area Cooperative Enterprise (ACE) to help increase the income of 1,500 smallholder farmers. FRB's Uganda-Busoga program is one of three pilot programs in LWR’s cross-regional, gender-integrated food security and agriculture initiative, the Learning for Gender Integration (LGI) initiative.
One of the focuses of the FRB’s Uganda-West Nile program is equal gender involvement in agricultural production. In Uganda, the perception of farm work as women’s work is slowly changing through trainings. In fact, men like Bran are now helping their wives in the field!
Mariam and Bran have nine children. Mariam is a member of one of the programs Farmer Field Schools (FFS), and she always shares her knowledge with her family. As Bran explains it, “I was changed by the training on equal gender involvement in agriculture.
In Part 1, I talked about how this International Women’s Day coincides with the start of LWR’s Learning for Gender Integration (LGI) initiative, where we hope to learn how to create equal opportunities for men and women to benefit from our work in communities around the world. In part 2 I’d like to talk a bit about why a gender-integrated approach is better and what we’ve learned so far.
Talking to Men & Women Farmers
In the design stage of our three model projects — located in India, Uganda and Nicaragua —
Today, March 8, we observe International Women’s Day, an international holiday created to inspire women and celebrate achievements toward gender equality.
It just so happens that this year IWD coincides with the start of a very special initiative that Lutheran World Relief is undertaking toward the same goal. We are kicking off three special model projects as a part of a project we’re calling Learning for Gender Integration (LGI).
FRB is partnering with Lutheran World Relief (LWR) on three new programs which are focusing on the impact of gender on food security. The following blog post was written by LWR on the new India-Jamuni program.
Food security — or all the factors that provide for sufficient, safe and nutritious food — is an issue that is at the heart of LWR’s work around the world. Our work to improve agriculture among small farmers and provide clean water for consumption, or irrigation, is so that families around the world can have a greater amount of food security. With food security comes greater health, independence and economic well-being. Of the many factors that contribute to food security, there is one that we have been looking at recently that may come as a surprise: gender.
In an earlier post we introduced the gender integration pilot program that we are undertaking with Lutheran World Relief. The first pilot program to launch is in Uganda and will be working in the eastern part of the country with a newly formed grower’s society that works with 11 co-operatives. The pilot program will work with two of these cooperatives to help improve farm production, marketing and to introduce a model called “Farming as a Family Business”.
Foods Resource Bank’s members and their overseas partners put in a tremendous amount of care and attention to the needs of local communities when designing overseas programs. Understanding the local context including the root causes of hunger, are essential for helping a community design a program that best fits their needs. The root causes of hunger and poverty are often things unseen on the surface that are complex and intertwined.