The majority of the worlds poor and vulnerable are women. The lack of gender equality means that they do not have power or influence over their own lives. Vi Agroforestry’s work on gender equality focuses on enabling women in Eastern Africa to freely decide on their social-economic development.
The importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment, particularly women’s participation in leadership and decision making, is at the core of Vi Agroforestry’s work. Enhancing the role of women as drivers of poverty reduction and combating climate change and recognizing the link between gender equality and safeguarding the environment for current and future generations is key to addressing challenges faced by smallholder farmer families in East Africa.
Vi Agroforestry’s current strategy 2017-2021 has a special focus on women, children and youth. Commitment towards gender equality is actualised through the Agroforestry for Livelihood Empowerment (ALIVE) programme. Gender equality is a human right and a core development objective. Unfortunately, women face a persistent challenge in access to productive resources to enable them actively and meaningfully participate in agriculture production. Achieving gender equality will ensure that women and men have equal power and opportunities amongst the smallholder farmer families.
Targeting gender equality and women’s empowerment is not only important from in addressing women’s rights but is also smart economics. Women in rural communities are key agents of change and when women and men have equal opportunities, the rural economy grows faster, communities gradually get out of cycles of poverty and general wellbeing of their families improve. By encouraging the adaption of agroforestry practices to increase crop production, strengthening women’s capacity in leadership through training, economic empowerment through Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA), technology and clean energy solutions such as efficient wood stoves and biogas systems helps create a world where women can thrive.
Vi Agroforestry works with partners across four countries in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda) to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment at organisational and household level. Through our partner organisations, Vi Agroforestry provides technical support towards advancing women’s participation in leadership and decision making at all levels of society. As well as empowering women through targeted efforts such as the use of the household roadmap that promotes joint decision making at household level. Vi Agroforestry mainstreams gender in all programmes, projects and organisational practices.
Vi Agroforestry has developed training materials to support partners towards advancing the gender mainstreaming see link below.