Empowering rural women: new phase of joint UN program to target countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific – World
ROME: Four UN agencies today announced the upcoming launch of a new phase of a joint program that aims to secure the livelihoods, rights and resilience of rural women to advance sustainable development.
The “Joint Programme: Accelerating Progress Towards Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment” (JP RWEE) is a partnership between the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality, UN Women, and the three Rome-based agencies, l Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The program which began in 2014 aims to broaden its funding base and expand to other countries.
This new five-year phase of the program will initially focus on Nepal, Niger, the Pacific Islands, Tanzania and Tunisia, thanks to the generous support of Norway and Sweden who have committed approximately US$25 million to the program.
“This partnership builds on previous successes and demonstrates the impact of combining expertise to achieve meaningful results for rural women. These results include increased agricultural productivity, economic empowerment and roles We are grateful to Norway and Sweden for the opportunity to expand the program in existing and new countries, keeping the rights and needs of rural women firmly at the center,” said Sima Bahous, Director Executive of UN Women.
Rural women face structural barriers, including discriminatory policies, legislation and social norms that impede their access to services, resources and opportunities. They bear the disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work and are often excluded from participation and leadership in rural public life.
“This programme, with its holistic approach, is a great way to improve the livelihoods of rural women. Lessons learned from the first phase show that securing funding from the start of the program is crucial and we encourage other donors to join us in this important effort to empower rural women,” said Astrid T. Tveteraas, Head of Food Section, Climate and Environment Department, Norwegian Agency for Development.
“This program has shown that rural women are key agents in achieving the transformational economic, environmental and social changes needed for sustainable development. Sweden is happy to support the second phase in new countries. support approaches and lessons learned from the program that can push further the overall global development of women’s economic empowerment,” said Lotta Sylwander, Senior Gender Policy Specialist, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
The program builds on the comparative advantages and strengths of FAO, IFAD, UN Women and WFP to address multiple dimensions of rural women’s economic empowerment, which include access to opportunities, resources and services, including land, credit and technology. The program works with national governments to advance policy change, with local government to ensure policy implementation, and with local communities and households to challenge unequal power dynamics and discriminatory social norms to achieve deep-rooted and lasting change.
The first phase of the program was implemented in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Nepal, Niger and Rwanda from 2014 to 2021 and reached approximately 80,000 rural women. Participants achieved, on average, an 82 percent increase in agricultural production, generated more than US$3,600,000 through on-farm and off-farm sales and nearly US$2 million through savings programs and loan. Program results also showed greater economic empowerment for rural women, more gender-equitable family relationships, and more women in leadership positions.
The new phase of the program will be officially launched at a side event during the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on March 23, 2022.
CONTACT Catherine McCarron, JP RWEE Global Coordinator, [email protected]