Young school children
in rural India eating
millet chappatis with
rice and vegetable
Building livelihood options to empower
omen are far more likely than men to channel their income from agriculture
into the nutrition, health and education of their children.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO),
tackling gender differences could increase agricultural output by as much as 4%
each year, and lift an estimated 100 million people out of poverty.
We can make changes now through livelihood options for rural women.
Science with a human face
The problem and opportunity
Even the farmers and their families do not have
enough to eat.
If you are worried about having enough to eat,
you are not concerned with nutrition levels.
If you do not know how you will survive
this year, you are not going to invest in the
condition of the soil for next year.
Participatory analysis and solution building at
Bring together the women and the broader
community in a village, the players along
the whole value chain (e.g. traders and
processors) and scientific and business
Children are only sent to school if there is
enough income that season.
Analyse the barriers and opportunities
Provide nutrition and health education
There is a cycle among livelihoods, education and
Develop solutions together that are science
based and owned by the community
We know that engaging and empowering women is
critical in making a positive change within this cycle.
Implement the solutions. This can include:
- Training the women
This is because women do not have the same access
to key assets.
Creating/strengthening self-help groups
Women farmers in developing countries are 20-30%
less productive than men.
Giving access to needed assets
Rural women are the poorest in the world. The
number of rural women living in poverty has
doubled since the 1970s
Building knowledge on nutrition and
health. This will include understanding
cultural norms and how to manage these,
food options and social interventions
to overcome malnutrition, and other
practices such as water, sanitation and
In Africa, for instance, women own just 1% of
the agricultural land, receive only 7% of available
extension services, and are able to access less than
10% of all agricultural credit.
Women are generally responsible for the food and
nutrition of the family.
Women are more vulnerable to discrimination and
It is based on sound diagnostic research and
incorporates strong scientific knowledge to
develop solutions and continues with scientific
backing in implementing and monitoring the
It brings together health, education, livelihoods
and food security in a new and powerful way.
If we can close the gender gap in rural areas we
How you can be involved
Key for this approach:
Health is typically treated as a separate issue and is
not integrated into agriculture and rural livelihood
Produce more food in developing countries
by 2.5 to 4%.
Reduce the number of hungry people in the
world by 100 to 150 million people.
Build more businesses.
Have healthier future generations.
So how do we change things?
The focus is to implement agricultural and
agribusiness solutions for women that lead to better
and sustainable livelihoods.
A concept note for
Ensuring nutritional security in rural India
Continually monitor the approach,
developments and impacts.
Sponsor the whole program and be a global leader.
Engage with the wider general public by encouraging
their involvement to:
sponsor a village;
sponsor a women’s Self-Help Group; or
sponsor a woman to run a business (through
training and providing assets).
Chanda Goodrich, Principal Scientist (Empower
Women), E-mail: G.firstname.lastname@example.org