25 organizations and institutions launch campaign to empower rural, indigenous and afro descendent women in the face of the pandemic

58 million women live in rural areas of Latin America and the Caribbean; most of them play an important role in food production and supply.

29 July 2020
Fundación Microfinanzas BBVA

Today, 25 governmental institutions, international cooperation agencies, research centers, civil society organizations and private entities from all over Latin America, together with United Nations programs and agencies launched the fifth edition of the #MujeresRurales, mujeres con derechos (Rural Women, Women with Rights) campaign.

The regional communications campaign, led by FAO, seeks to acknowledge the organizational systems, knowledge, capacity and urgent needs of rural, indigenous and afro descendent women in the region, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 25 organizations and institutions highlighted the central role played by the rural women in producing, supplying and commercializing food, as well as their part in keeping traditional knowledge and practices. 

Rural women work nonstop to respond to the food demand in cities, rural communities and in their own households. 

However, most of them face serious constraints to access productive resources such as land, water, farming input, finance, insurance and training, while they deal with obstacles to market their products; something that is more complex for indigenous and afro descendent women.

Furthermore, most of them work in the informal sector, thus, they cannot rely on social safety nets, which have now become a basic necessity.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, where hunger has reached 47.7 million people in 2019 –a figure that could easily reach almost 67 million by 2030, even without the pandemic–, the Campaign’s fifth edition aims to spread information and proposed solutions to the plight of rural women, with emphasis on food and nutritional security, poverty reduction, elimination of gender violence, as well as supporting public policies that drive governmental institutions to approach this situation.

Excessive workload

Even before the pandemic, rural women already faced a gigantic unpaid workload, productive, care and domestic tasks for which they don’t receive any income in return.

The challenges brought by the pandemic have made the situation more complex, adding the need of a large proportion of their time to care for their children who have stopped going to school, and for the sick and elderly people.

Added to this critical situation are recent reports about possible increase in gender violence, caused by the safety measures and social distancing implemented region-wide to defeat the pandemic.

High level partnership to advance together with rural women

The Campaign seeks to put the spotlight on women as the guardians and the moving force of sustainable development, in line with the 2030 Agenda, to leave no one behind.

Likewise, it also aims to create synergies and continue advancing towards the implementation of public and private cross-sectional programs and policies that recognize and act on challenges faced by rural, indigenous and afro descendent women, placing them in the center of sustainable development strategies.

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF) is once again a co-organizer of this campaign, as part of its work with the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture (FAO). BBVAMF is a non-profit organization that promotes the sustainable development of entrepreneurs living in vulnerable conditions and present in five Latin American countries. Since its creation in 2007 by the BBVA bank, its institutions have disbursed more than USD 14.5 million to 5 million low-income entrepreneurs, the majority of whom are women, creating opportunities so they could improve their living standards. It is, according to OECD, a world leader in development financing, only after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

List of organizing institutions for the Campaign’s fifth edition:

  1. United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture – FAO
  2. Alianza de Cónyuges de Jefes de Estado y Representantes (Wives of Chiefs of State and Representatives Alliance) – ALMA
  3. World Bank
  4. Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural (Latin American Center for Rural Development) – RIMISP
  5. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean – ECLAC
  6. Consejo Indígena de Centro América (Central American Indigenous Council) – CICA
  7. Enlace Continental de Mujeres Indígenas de las Américas (Continental Link of Indigenous Women of the Americas) – ECMIA
  8. International Fund for Agricultural Development – IFAD
  9. BBVA Microfinance Foundation
  10. Fundación Promoción y Desarrollo de la Mujer de Chile (Women’s Promotion and Development Foundation Chile) – PRODEMU
  11. Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture – IICA
  12. International Food Policy Research Institute – IFPRI
  13. Instituto Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas de México (National Institute of Indigenous Peoples of Mexico)
  14. Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria de Argentina (National Institute for Agribusiness Technology of Argentina)
  15. Ministerio de Ganadería, Pesca y Agricultura de Uruguay (Ministry of Livestock, Fishing and Agriculture of Uruguay)
  16. United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner – OHCHR
  17. UN Women
  18. United Nations Industrial Development Organization – UNIDO
  19. International Organization for Migration – IOM
  20. United Nations Development Program – UNDP
  21. World Food Program – WFP
  22. Reunión Especializada de Agricultura Familiar del Mercosur (Specialized Meeting on Mercosur’s Family Farming) – REAF Mercosur
  23. Secretaria de Agricultura Familiar y Cooperativismo de Brasil (Secretariat for Family Farming and Cooperativism of Brazil)
  24. Servicio Nacional de Pesca y Acuicultura de Chile (Fishing and Agriculture National Service of Chile)
  25. Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (Central American Integration System) – SICA