BALTIMORE, Nov. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the past three years, Lutheran World Relief has partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through the U.S. Government's Feed the Future initiative on an innovative approach to promoting women's leadership in several Western Honduras agricultural communities. This project is funded by USAID as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.
The Gender in Agriculture from Policy to Practice (GAPP) project, supported by USAID, sought to improve nutrition and access to food among these poor farm families through encouraging women to participate in the municipal political process, by raising men's awareness of gender issues and by encouraging advocacy for policies focused on gender equity. This activity helped to advance Feed the Future's efforts to create a path out of poverty and hunger for millions, particularly smallholder farmers, many of whom are women. The achievements of this initiative are highlighted in a new video that shows what is possible when women and men work together for gender equity. The methodology of the GAPP project has been detailed in an online toolkit that includes details of program activities and lessons learned from the experience of carrying them out. The GAPP project was designed to address the specific context in Honduras, which is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, with 66 percent of its population lacking adequate access to food. In western Honduras, 40 percent of farming households are headed by women, of whom 68 percent are poor. Women's leadership in the agricultural sector remains limited by disparities in income and wages, as well as limitations in political empowerment. Through the GAPP project, women in nine municipalities in western Honduras received training in leadership, public speaking and investment skills. This empowered them to participate in the local political process and engage entrepreneurially by obtaining public funding and accessing loans from rural credit banks for women-led agricultural enterprises. The women participating in GAPP successfully advocated that a portion of the 5% of municipal budgets that is designated by law for gender activities be used specifically to build women-led agricultural enterprises.