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Women as Agents of Change - Englsih

Women as Agents of Change - Englsih

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Published by: Green Action Sustainable Technology Group on Jul 23, 2010
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09/01/2010

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WOMEN
as Agents of Change
D I S C U S S I O N P A P E R
 
IFAD 1978–2003
Origins
The agreement to establish IFAD in 1976resulted from the 1974 World FoodConference organized by the internationalcommunity in response to the persistence of  widespread hunger and malnutrition in the world. The conference recognized that hungerand food insecurity should not be associatedsolely with shortfalls in food production andsupply at national or international levels.Rather, they should be understood as productsof deep-seated structural problems associated with underdevelopment and poverty, espe-cially as these affect rural poor people. IFADapproved its first loan for a project in 1978.
Mandate
Thus the Fund’s mandate –
to combat hunger and rural poverty in developing countries, espe- cially low-income, food-deficit countries, and to improve the livelihoods of rural poor people on a sustainable basis 
– defines hunger not just as afood production and supply issue, but also as alivelihood issue.
Emergence of a Specific Role
In responding to this mandate, IFAD has real-ized that rural poor people can enhance theirfood security and increase their incomes only if project designs and activities are built upontheir production systems and livelihood strate-gies, and resources allocated accordingly. To beeffective, therefore, investments to reducepoverty must be linked to a proper under-standing of poverty processes and how they affect different groups of poor people, and women as compared with men.To this end, IFAD has increasingly collabo-rated with local stakeholders in developing itsoperations. It has designed and implementedprojects and programmes in a wide range of natural, socio-economic and cultural environ-ments, in remote regions and with the poorestand most marginalized sectors of rural popula-tions. Through its experience, the Fund hasacquired a wealth of knowledge of theprocesses that contribute to the generation andperpetuation of poverty. It has also gainedvaluable insights about what works or does not work to foster the conditions in which therural poor can enhance their productivity, out-put and incomes.
IFAD’s Contribution
IFAD’s contribution to rural poverty reductionhas long been based on its recognition that theeconomic empowerment of rural poor people will not happen simply as a result of the‘trickle-down’ effect of macro or sectoralinvestments. Action must address the obstaclesfaced by rural poor men and women and facil-itate their opportunities, in their different andspecific circumstances and activities. In addi-tion, since in many low-income countries themajority of the poor and extremely poor (those with incomes below one dollar a day) live in
HISTORICAL AREAS OF INTERVENTION
access to productive resources (especially land and water)
sustainable agricultural production, including fisheries and livestock
water management and irrigation (mainly small-scale)
rural financial services, including microfinance
rural microenterprises
storage/processing of agricultural produce
marketing and access to markets
research/extension/training
small-scale rural infrastructure (feeder roads, etc.)
capacity-building for small producer groups and organizations
 
rural areas, helping poor producers to increasetheir output is often the most effective, and insome cases the only, way to bring about morerapid overall growth. IFAD has therefore advo-cated for broad-based economic growth, builtupon an explicit focus on the initiative andcapacity of poor rural producers. Such anapproach acknowledges the consumptionneeds of the poor, but it also emphasizes totheir social capital and their economic poten-tial as
 producers and working peopl 
e. This, inturn, has necessitated an in-depth understand-ing of the complexities of rural livelihoods andthe different roles of women and men withinthese livelihoods. It has also required carefultargeting of interventions at people and theiractivities – as farmers, agricultural labourers,fisherfolk, hunters and gatherers, pastoralistsand small rural entrepreneurs.IFAD’s experience over the last 25 yearsunequivocally shows that rural poor people arefully capable both of integrating themselvesinto the mainstream of social and economicdevelopment, and of actively contributing toimproved economic performance at thenational level – provided that the causes of their poverty are understood and conditionsare created that are conducive to their efforts.No amount of national or international assis-tance will radically improve the rural situationunless such transformation is based on theaspirations, assets and activities of rural people– and unless poor people own the changeprocess. Major efforts need to be made toremove the critical material, institutional andpolicy obstacles that prevent the rural poorfrom seizing opportunities for improved liveli-hoods. Development cannot be done forthem. What can be done is to create the con-ditions that empower the poor to becomeagents of change.
IFAD’s New Strategic Directions
The Millennium Development Goals repre-sent a commitment by the entire internationalcommunity to take all necessary action, firstand foremost, to reduce by half the proportionof people who live in extreme poverty by 2015.The
Strategic Framework for IFAD 2002-2006 
is the Fund’s response – a statement both of the crucial issues to be addressed and of theareas that IFAD will focus on as part of thatbroader international effort.The strategic framework draws on the Fund’syears of experience and reflection, and recastsIFAD’s mission in a very simple statement:
enabling the rural poor to overcome their poverty 
.Concretely, this mission translates into threestrategic objectives upon which IFAD is con-centrating its investments, research and knowl-edge management efforts, policy dialogue andadvocacy:• strengthening the capacity of the rural poorand their organizations;improving equitable access to productivenatural resources and technology; and• increasing access to financial assets and markets.The strategic framework also recognizes thatIFAD must expand its engagement beyond theimmediate impact of ‘its’ projects and pro-grammes to influence the direction and con-tent of national and international poverty-reduction processes. Thus it emphasizes build-ing complementary partnerships and broadalliances to maximize IFAD’s contribution tothe international community’s larger poverty-reduction effort.
 VOLUME OF OPERATIONS
Number of projects: 628 in 115 countries and territories
Total IFAD investment: USD 7.7 billion
Domestic resources mobilized:USD 7.9 billion
Cofinancing mobilized: USD 6.6 billion
Total value of projects: USD 22.2 billion
Beneficiaries: an estimated 250 million

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