Joint Programme on Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women
Rural women are key agents for achieving the transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development. Their empowerment is vital for the well-being of individuals, families and rural communities and the realisation of the 2030 Agenda.
Yet many rural women continue to face significant barriers that limit their ability to fully participate in and equally benefit from profitable economic activities. Restricted access to resources and services, such as land, finance, healthcare, education, market information, agricultural inputs and technology, are further compounded by broader systemic barriers. All of which are exacerbated during times conflict, food, economic and environmental crises.
The Joint Programme on Accelerating Progress towards Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment (JP RWEE) is a global initiative with an overarching goal to secure rural women’s livelihoods, rights and resilience in the context of sustainable development, Agenda 2030. The programme is currently in its second phase and is being implemented in Nepal, Niger, the Pacific Islands, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Tunisia.
Jointly implemented by FAO, IFAD, UN Women and WFP, the JP RWEE adopts a holistic approach to rural women's economic empowerment, building on each agency's comparative advantage and strengths in order to improve the status of women in rural areas.
The JP RWEE has four main outcomes:
Improved food security and nutrition;
Increased income, decent work and economic autonomy;
Enhanced participation and leadership in rural life and institutions;
More gender-responsive policy environment
Addressing the root causes of gender inequality by working to overcome patriarchal systems and discriminatory social norms is crucial to removing the barriers to gender equality and achieving women’s empowerment. The JP RWEE works towards addressing gender-specific constraints that rural women face in accessing resources and opportunities and implementing measures to enhance women’s agency and expand their capacities as farmers, entrepreneurs and leaders.
Phase One of the JP RWEE was implemented from 2014 to 2021 in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Liberia, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Niger and Rwanda and reached almost 80,000 rural women and 407,000 household members through a set of integrated efforts, with the generous support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Norad) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Phase II is being implemented with continued funding from Norad and Sida, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Four United Nations agencies today announced the forthcoming launch of a new phase of a joint programme that aims to secure rural women’s livelihoods, rights and resilience to advance sustainable development.
On the International Day of Rural Women (IDRW), 15 October, we celebrate rural women and girls worldwide and recognize the crucial role they play in contributing to sustainable food systems and rural development.
Marta had never left her community before and was nervous to travel. Many told Carmelina not to go, saying India was too far and six months was too long to be away. But despite their concerns, the two women embarked on their journey, determined to bring electricity to their communities.
This collection of success stories and good practices shows the impact of the Joint Programme on Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women (JP RWEE) among rural women in the seven participating countries: Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Nepal, Niger and Rwanda.
Gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls is a pre-condition for the eradication of poverty and essential to achieve progress across all goals and targets set by the Sustainable Development Agenda. The JP RWEE facilitates transformation through rural women’s leadership, making gender equality and women’s empowerment a reality. Support to women's economic empowerment allows for increased influence, education and information for women to decide the use of their income, savings and loans, and the ability to make decisions about their life.