Given the challenge of making gender approaches and concepts actionable, especially the concept of women’s empowerment, multiple tools have been developed to operationalize theory and thus improve the lives of women in the agricultural sector. However, many of the opportunities that exist to improve the capacity of practitioners to generate change still lie in our ability to share the lessons we learn by implementing these tools with rural communities.
After four years, the Rural Opportunities Project (POR) in the Golfo de Fonseca, funded by Global Affairs Canada, reveals how, through research and the use of qualitative and quantitative tools, concrete actions can be identified and implemented on the ground to empower women in the production and processing nodes of three value chains of great importance for the economic and social development of the region and the country: cashew, dairy, and fruits.
How we design practical actions
National decision-makers, the international community, and development practitioners are demanding guidelines on how to define relevant indicators and design specific actions that can be implemented in particular places within the framework of a program or project to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality in the agricultural sector.
To respond to this demand, we joined efforts with Swisscontact in the context of the Rural Opportunities project to demonstrate how gender research, particularly approaches to women’s empowerment, can result in concrete, practical, relevant and transformative actions that can be implemented in development projects. We applied two quantitative tools, developed by the CGIAR, to measure women’s empowerment in the agriculture and livestock sectors: