The WRF and the Forest and Farm Facility promote the catalytic role of cooperativism in empowering rural women

The WRF and the Forest and Farm Facility promote the catalytic role of cooperativism in empowering rural women

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As a result of the project implemented in 2021 and 2022, the WRF and the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF), in close collaboration with six regional agricultural organizations in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, promote the central role that associations and cooperatives in the empowerment and resilience of rural women.

The project identified and analyzed successful experiences to pinpoint the key elements for success, the main challenges, and the role of cooperatives and associations in the empowerment and resilience of rural women.

It was coordinated by the World Rural Forum, in collaboration with six regional agricultural member organizations, representing different regions : Central Africa, PROPAC (Plateforme Régionale des Organisations Paysannes d’Afrique Centrale); Southern and Eastern Africa, ESAFF (Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers’ Forum); Central and Eastern Africa, REFACOF (Réseau des Femmes Africaines pour la gestion Communautaire des Forêts); Central America, PDRR (Programa de Diálogo Regional Rural para Centroamérica y República Dominicana); South America, COPROFAM (Confederación de Organizaciones de Productores Familiares del MERCOSUR); and Asia, AFA (Asian Farmers Association). The project was made possible thanks to the collaboration of the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF).

The aim of the project was to design useful, effective, and adaptable tools to reinforce the advocacy work of family farming organizations, defending women’s economic empowerment through association and cooperativism on the agendas of governments and international organizations.

It was implemented through two main axes: communication activities to promote the role of cooperatives in the sustainable and inclusive development of women in agriculture. As a result, several documents were published (Lessons learned and Public Policy Recommendations), a series of videos of successful experiences (see here) and a cycle of exchanges.

The Rural Women and Cooperativism cycle of exchanges promoted six of the experiences and good practices of rural women’s cooperatives and associations identified within the framework of the project. It was carried in two webinars that highlighted the diversity and dynamism of women’s agricultural groups and cooperatives. Inspiring and valuable experiences of women’s agricultural groups or cooperatives from Central and East Africa, Latin America, and Asia were shared. The agenda of the first webinar is available here and the second one here.

Interventions in the exchange cycle enphasized the key role of associations and cooperatives in rural women’s empowerment. Cooperatives offer solutions for generating income, accessing markets, improving production conditions, and fighting poverty. Cooperativism was unerlined as a response to the the challenges faced by women farmers : improved access to markets, risk reduction through diversification and financing, capacity building, negotiation, participation of women in all decision-making processes.

This project served to highlight the importance of supporting cooperativism, with the need for public policies and programs that promote and sustain this type of organization, thus improving the socioeconomic conditions of women farmers, promoting employment and transparency in governance.

For the World Rural Forum, it is crucial to ensure that women family farmers can be provided with the frameworks, mechanisms and incentives to unlock their enormous potential towards sustainable, resilient, inclusive, and viable food systems.

In this sense, the WRF will continue to work within the framework of the enormous opportunity presented by cooperativism and the United Nations Decade for Family Farming (UNDFF) 2019-2028.

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