Globally, women play a very key role as far as agricultural production is concerned. However, they have lesser access to productive resources like inputs, land, financial services, extension services etc. and the situation is much more worse in rural areas. A certain proportion of these women happen to be youths.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation 2010-11 State Of Food and Agriculture, closing the gender gap in agriculture could increase agricultural productivity by 20-30% .Its also a fact central to this year's International Women's Day theme of "Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” . However, this is a feat that could only be achieved if men and women work together to ensure gender mainstreaming in various agricultural activities globally. But, at the same time, we can't negate the Gender in Agriculture strides that have been made so far.
In line with the 2016 International Women's Day, celebrations, YPARD is highlighting some of the young women and men across the globe who are championing for the rights for youth inclusion in the policy debate especially on matters gender equality. These Young men and women were part of the 2015 Young women and Youth's Gender Perspectives in Agricultural Development series that highlighted young professionals' experiences for women's empowerment in agricultural development. From research to private sector, mass media to civil society work, the Gender series featured, every month, young "gender champions" from different regions of the world. It also highlighted YPARD as special youth catalyst in the GAP : Gender in Agriculture Partnership. Meet these exceptional 11 young women and men as thus;
With an internship opportunity at Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), Moses started working later at project level as Projects Officer, working with rural women farmers on a number of projects. The most important of all these projects was the “Enhancing access to Agricultural Information using ICTs in Northern Uganda” where they deployed a combination of both traditional and modern ICT tools such as radios, radio cassettes, audio tapes, community radios, mobile phones, mini-studios and internet.
Michelle has a degree in Tropical agriculture. She was sponsored by New Zealand Aid to do her undergrad studies under their 'empowering women in agriculture' program. She did research on beans and chickens and worked with rural farmers and she currently works in the U.S.
She works in WorldFish as a Gender Specialist and has been working on gender in aquatic agricultural systems for the past 3 years. She has focused on specific agricultural projects like the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia in Bangladesh (CSISA), the CPWF Ganges Basin Development Challenge Program and the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems. She has been involved in studies around targeting women in agricultural innovation and the gender relational constraints/opportunities. She is currently interested in gender transformative approaches to agricultural interventions and she is testing different approaches. Likewise, she is co-chairing the Bangladesh National Gender Working Group which she founded together with Helen Keller International (HKI) and includes 30 institutions as members.
Alice-Norra – Legal expert – Private sector/ Cameroon
Wouedjie Alice-Norra is a lawyer who advises women farmers in Cameroon in urban agriculture and small-scale agriculture. She works in ICT Agriculture and Development program - Agrotic-dev - in a youth association called Cameroon youth Initiative for Rural Development (CAMYIRD). She has a blog named “Norra Urban Agriculture” as well as a Facebook page “Alice urban agriculture”.
Anauim Valerín – Journalist - Media/ Costa Rica
Anauim works with young environmentalists to empower young people, especially women and raise awareness of environmental issues. She also works within the framework of agriculture. She is very much interested in agricultural land access for women, women entrepreneurship and the important role of banks in women empowerment in Costa Rica.
Luisa Cartesio – Urban Agriculture – civil society / Italy
Luisa’s studies in rural landscapes led to her interest in urban agriculture projects in particular those in city landscapes and in semi-urban agricultural belts. Luisa has been working during the last year as coordinator of the pilot project ”Orticulturom”; inside the gypsy settlement of Scampia neighborhood, in Naples. As women are the focal point of the gipsy community, Luisa and her colleague Mauro have raised awareness on the important role of women in educating the community in proper nutrition. They have built horticultural plants in the settlement and trained the young women in farming. The next step is to generate a little agro-economic network to improve social economic condition of the gypsy community and connect the Italian and the Gypsy cultures.
Bidhya has worked for three CSOs in Nepal within the Sustainable Soil Management Program (SSM-P), Nucleus for Empowerment through Skill Transfer (NEST) and the Center for Environment, Agriculture Policy, Research, Extension and Development (CEAPRED). She has coordinated a project on Livelihood and Vegetable seed production, which actively involved women farmers in the sector of Agriculture and Micro-enterprise. She has also documented the case study (success story) of a women involved in push-cart business. Besides, she provided training on Gender Equity and Inclusion as project level activities. The main motto of the training was to sensitize farmers on women participation in outdoor activities, internalize the gender inclusive behavior among the target group and analyze the gender division of labor.
Taryn Devereux – Gender & Climate change adaptation- Research field&NGO/ International experience (Colombia, Kenya, Paraguay and U.S.)
Taryn is focuses on the intersection between gender and agriculture. She has worked as a Visiting Researcher for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia, conducting strategic gender research on how climate change and climate change interventions impact women’s empowerment in agriculture among farmers in the region. Her specific project used Gender Analysis to investigate the social networks within the community, how men and women learn about new information and technologies, and why they decide to implement them on their farm. She has also conduct fieldwork in Kenya, as part of a CCAFS Theme 2 project on women and agriculture. They examined the primary sources of information for farmers, which climate- smart practices they have adopted, their level of food security; and ultimately in what ways does access to climate Information impact gender empowerment. She has been recently hired as the new Program Coordinator for the Women’s Leadership Program in Paraguay (WLPP). The program seeks to elevate the capacity of female Paraguayans to obtain higher education and positions of leadership in the agricultural sector.
Wendy Nicolás – Regional Program leader w/ Hunger Project-NGO / Mexico
Wendy collaborates with The Hunger Project – Mexico. She is a Regional Program Leader in Chiapas and her overall responsibility is to run five programs: Mobilizing for Community Action; Economic Empowerment; Empowerment for proper nutrition; Catalysts for ending Hunger, and Strengthening municipal governments, programs for Integral sustainable development and sustainable communities, to achieve our vision of a world free of hunger and poverty. She works in women empowerment as key agents of change in the Chiapas region, the Altos de Chiapas a Tzotzil-Tzeltal region. For now her work is primarily with women: a group of artisans tsotsiles who have formed a cooperative. Since 2012, she has been working with indigenous communities in raising women’s voice. She also has experience raising awareness on the strategic role of women in order for families to achieve food security.
Justin Kakumba – Agriculturist & Millennia2015 founder-NGO/ Rwanda
Justin has six years’ experience working with communities on fighting against gender-based violence and supporting women empowerment in the African Great Lakes Region. He frequently travels to villages to interview people with the purpose of gaining information about their gender status, view and then report the situation to his directors in Millennia2015 and the WURN List serve of the United Nations. As the responsible local officer of Millennia2015, a non-governmental and volunteers’-based organization, Justin has frequently analysed problems that face women who are victims of harmful traditional cultural beliefs, norms and any other kind of discrimination and has suggested solutions to those problems. Justin founded the Millennia2015 with the aim of encouraging communities and people to say no to gender based violence in Eastern DRC. He has also created an agricultural-based organization in order to share knowledge from students to rural people. This organization also had the second aim of allowing some students to have internship opportunities. Justin has been educated by Millennia2015 about gender and related issues since 2008. He has done his best in order to see if women can be empowered, mostly those girls and women coming from rural areas.
Yasmeen is the chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation of Sinai Youth for Development and Human Rights, which has a long experience with women empowerment, rural entrepreneurship, and agro-food enterprises. This foundation carries out 3 different kind of programs oriented to rural women: the awareness program (women’s legal rights when starting an agricultural project); the training program (training women in manufacturing,marketing, etc.); financial support through small loans for the implementation of agricultural income-generating activities.
Check also YPARD Kosovo's Agri-facts vlog for the International Women's day: Agrifacts: Women.