Foods Resource Bank’s members and their overseas partners put in a tremendous amount of care and attention to the needs of local communities when designing overseas programs. Understanding the local context including the root causes of hunger, are essential for helping a community design a program that best fits their needs. The root causes of hunger and poverty are often things unseen on the surface that are complex and intertwined.
While the proverb of “feed a man a fish and he eats today, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime” is true, it also oversimplifies very complex issues. Dhrubaa, a recent guest from the India Banka program said that working to overcome poverty is as complicated as rocket science. Not impossible, we did put a man on the moon after all, but complex.
New program proposals that members submit to FRB for funding have gone through exhaustive, community-led processes of determining what types of interventions will work best for their context. It is this grassroots effort between FRB’s members and their local, on-the-ground partners that make FRB programs successful. Each and every one of FRB’s programs teach us something that can make the process better.
Recently, our colleagues at Lutheran World Relief (LWR) approached us with an idea of funding three food security pilot programs looking specifically at how gender plays a role in the success of agriculture development programs. Beginning in the new year, FRB will fund three new programs in three very different contexts for a period of two years. On the surface, these new programs will not look any more unique than the other 55 programs we currently fund.
The three pilot programs with LWR will give a unique insight into the processes that go on at the grassroots level and, in this case, how local partners and program staff respond to the unique needs of each member of the family when it comes to agriculture development and sustainable approaches to ending hunger.We invite you to learn along with us. We will be posting stories and updates from LWR and our staff as we embark on the learning process together.
The first step in the process is understanding what is meant by gender integration. Patrick Bell of LWR writes:
Gender integration means looking at the different experiences of men and women and then identifying and responding to the gaps that exist between them. For example, we may be working on a project that is intended to provide better quality seeds and training in improved farming techniques for men and women farmers. But in many places women have inferior land to grow their crops on, or they are so burdened with domestic work that they do not have time to put the improved farming techniques into practice. When this happens there is a clear gap between men and women in terms of their opportunity to benefit from the project. A gender integrated approach to project planning attempts to close those gaps.
The FRB-LWR Gender Integration pilot program is focusing on learning from three programs in India, Uganda and Nicaragua. Read about the first steps of the process in Uganda on Patrick’s blog post. Similar workshops have taken place in India and Nicaragua.
Subscribe to our blog for more on what we are learning together.
Angela Boss, FRB Staff