Sunday, December 13, 2009

Adaptation funds must reach Africa's women farmers

Mantoe Phakathi in, via IPS: One of the key components of global action on climate change will be measures to adapt to changes that are already unavoidable. The Global Gender and Climate Alliance argues that specific attention be paid to the needs of women. "With climate change taking away their source of livelihood because of the erratic weather patterns preventing them from farming, women must find another means of making a living," said Rachel Harris, the media coordinator for GGCA.

Women make up a majority of smallholder farmers in Africa and in other developing countries. In contrast to the options open to many men, few women can respond to drought, for example, by relocating to cities or other rural areas in search of work. Women are often tied down by the need to care for children, or social obstacles to mobility; they are also frequently without even the smallest cash savings of their own or assets to sell to bridge hard times.

Rodney Cooke, the director of the Technical Advisory Division at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), admitted that previous funding mechanisms overlooked women farmers. â-¨ â-¨"We've made mistakes before," said Cooke. "Women make up 70 percent of smallholder farmers, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, but somehow funding targets were disproportionately directed towards men."

Cooke's employer, IFAD, is the U.N. agency charged with financially supporting rural livelihoods; the organisation was set up in response to a crisis of food security in the 1970s. â-¨Cooke said there were no clear guidelines attached to previous funding on how women would benefit.

The alliance isn't waiting for a deal to be reached to complain that gender blind funding is failing the women who may need it most. Instead they are initiating proposals that will ensure women are the agents of change, able to create and adopt new agricultural options and explore other entrepreneurial ventures as a way of adapting to climate change….

Farmland in Rwanda, shot by not not phil, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.