The FRB/LWR Nicaragua-Pancasán pilot program seeks to reduce the gender gap evident in the practices of a local farmer cooperative by including as many women as possible in the co-op’s services. Gender inequality has a profound effect on food security. When women have less access to land and capital for farming activities, they are less involved in economically productive activities, and earn much less than men. When both women and men have access to resources they can grow more food and generate more income for their families. Lack of access to technical training for women has meant that, when they do have the opportunity to work, they are not as well prepared and face more challenges to their long-term success.
The new program at the Flor de Pancasán Cooperative will integrate a gender-awareness component into all its food security practices, and involve men as well as women in the work on gender relations, roles, and participation. The goal is that both sexes benefit from the co-op’s value chain through access to land, technical training and assistance, credit and marketing, and more.
Program participants will also be encouraged to examine and improve internal factors that contribute to inequality in families, such as men’s having more control than women about how resources could be used to guarantee the family’s food security. Similarly, although 45% of women attend cooperative meetings, that is often the extent of their participation.
Addressing another widespread problem that takes its toll on family security, a youth assembly (57 women and 53 men) has created a theatrical performance on intra-family violence. They’ve taken it to four communities so far and have scheduled nine additional presentations to raise awareness about this issue.
Foods Resource Bank’s Nicaragua Pancasán program is led by Lutheran World Relief and local partner ADDAC. Nicaragua Pancasán encompasses 15 communities, 266 households, and 734 individuals.