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The Report Report – Documents worth digging into this week

Those of us who are passionate about the Sustainable Development Goals may want to grab a coffee and take a read through this one.

One of the Goals set out in 2015 was to achieve zero hunger by 2030. In order to do this, we need to produce more food but also ensure food reaches those who need it most. And in order to distribute food equally, we need to understand the role that women play in the production of food.

Good Practices for Integrating Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Climate-Smart Agriculture Programmes is a document for agricultural development practitioners globally. But it’s also a worthwhile read for anyone keen to understand how there are now more than 821 million undernourished people in the world and why many of those are women and girls.

There is no question that climate change is affecting our access to food. We are now experiencing climate-related disasters twice as frequently as we were before 1990. That’s twice the extreme heat, twice the droughts, twice the floods and twice the storms. (Feels uncomfortably familiar, doesn’t it?)

In the face of these realities, we also know that women and other vulnerable groups experience inequality in more than one way. For example:

  • Women may not be allowed to grow certain crops or sell their food to make money
  • In a crisis, women usually do more of the labour or care-giving work
  • Women may not be involved at all in important decisions related to food, farming and how money is spent
  • And as primary caregivers, women need to work harder to feed and care for their families

We need to come together to end these inequalities.

CARE and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) outline a ‘gender-responsive approach’ to ‘climate-smart agriculture’.

But what does this look like?

Programs designed this way consider the unique capabilities of men and women and ensure they both have equal access to the things that will allow them to farm in a sustainable way. So these programs help ensure that men and women have equal access to:

  • productive resources (water, land)
  • learning and understanding of how best to farm in a way that minimizes their labour as well as the impact of their climate
  • services and local institutions

CARE and FAO produced this report so that organizations, public institutions and local organizations can develop climate-smart agriculture investments, projects and policies that consider the rights of both men and women. The paper provides guidance, tools and examples of the successful integration of gender equality and women’s empowerment into climate-smart agriculture work.

Case studies provide great inspiration – from how women in Bangladesh who raised livestock created a network of small businesses that expanded their earning potential, to how women in Ghana started to make decisions with their husbands, and so they now work together to grow more food.

Considering the roles of men and women in agriculture will help us address the threats posed by climate change.