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International Day of Rural Women

Gender, News/feature, Africa, 2015
international day of rural women

Lebenía Mkayula and baby Atupele at the farmer field school, Ibumila village, Iringa region, Tanzania

Irish Aid celebrates the International Day of Rural Women

October 15th marks the International Day of Rural Women, who play a pivotal role in rural communities in the developing world. Rural women are supported through a range of Irish Aid projects, particularly in our African key partner countries.

In line with Irish Aid’s policy focus on extreme poverty, hunger, nutrition and gender equality, the provision of support to smallholder women farmers remains at the core of our work. Rural women can make a difference in areas such as nutrition; hunger; poverty and climate change.

Irish Aid support to smallholder women farmers remains at the core of our work.

Irish Aid works closely with multilateral institutions, such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), who have a proven track record in working to empower rural women.

Irish Aid funds partners such as Concern Worldwide, who were allocated over €2.8 million by Irish Aid for its work in Malawi between 2012 and 2014. The programme focuses on increased food security and livelihood stability for poor people in three districts.

The programme works with smallholder farmers to diversify agricultural production in order to improve nutrition, access to markets, particularly through increasing rural women’s access to services, control over important resources, and influence over decision making.

Irish Aid has a three year partnership with Oxfam Ireland from 2012 to 2015, providing €890,000 for its work on improving the livelihoods of 40,000 women and their families through women's economic leadership within the horticulture sector in Rwanda. It aims to ensure that women are recognised as key actors, especially as suppliers, traders, facilitators and entrepreneurs. As a result, Oxfam's business models are being widely accepted and used in Rwanda.

In 2014, Irish Aid engaged in a three year partnership with the Cork based charity  Friends of Londiani in their work to build community resilience in rural Kenya by supporting women and girls to access effective services, reducing child and maternal mortality, retaining girls in school, eliminating harmful practices like Female Genital Mutilation and building sustainable livelihoods. This €420,000 project builds on a previous partnership from 2010 to 2013.