Rwanda is moving toward a more service and knowledge-based economy. For the time being, however, the agriculture sector employs approximately 69% of the labor force (NISR, 2014). Women are the majority of this farming workforce. Yet, they face gender-specific barriers in agricultural productivity, market and resource access, income generation and nutrition. To help inform and strengthen gender integration and to generate cross-sector recommendations, Three Stones International was recently awarded a contract from Plan International to carry out a gender gap assessment of the Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity.
Women continue to dominate the subsistence agricultural sector in Rwanda, with more than 8 in 10 female workers active in this industry.
The purpose of the two-phased assessment is to more thoroughly understand challenges women face in agricultural production and identify opportunities to dismantle gender-specific barriers including: 1) reduce gender disparities in access to and control over agricultural resources, 2) reduce gender-based violence, and 3) increase capacity of women to influence agriculture and nutrition decision-making.
The Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity is a five-year, $32.6 million USAID-funded project that aims to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of women and children, and increase the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food systems to a changing climate. Hinga Weze implements holistic interventions that target the interrelated issues of undernutrition, food insecurity and barriers to agricultural productivity by focusing on the sustainable intensification of Rwandan smallholder farming systems, with an emphasis on climate-smart, nutrition-sensitive approaches. Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) is implementing the activity through a consortium of local and international partners, including Plan International, Souktel, Rwanda Development Organization and the Imbaraga Farmer Federation.
Gender equality is a corner stone of Three Stones as it is vital to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. While empowering women and girls to exercise their rights and build resilience, Three Stones also actively engages men and boys as allies and advocates to challenge and eliminate oppressive gender norms and practices, gender-based discrimination and gender-based violence. Three Stones has completed over 10 gender-related assignments in Africa focused on: gender integration; gender programming and research; and promotion and advocacy utilizing gender-related findings and evidence-based practices to influence policy.