Alphonsine Nyiranzeyimana, a farmer from Cyahinda, in the southern part of Rwanda, says that learning new farming techniques completely changed her life. She’s not exaggerating. Today, Nyiranzeyimana is the leader of a farmers’ cooperative and the yield on some of her crops has more than doubled. The agricultural sector accounts for a third of Rwanda's GDP and more than 70 per cent of Rwandan women are engaged in farming activities since their childhood. Yet, they don’t have the same access to land, production inputs, finance or markets as men.
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Working closely with national stakeholders, through the RYM project on youth mobility, food security, and rural poverty reduction, FAO has promoted innovative pathways for decent youth employment and agricultural entrepreneurship in areas prone to migration. In particular, the project provided unemployed youth with training and equipment, helping them launch their own small agricultural enterprises, also by productively investing the remittances received form the diaspora.
Through women's cooperatives, a joint UN programme provides training in agricultural techniques, improved seeds and time-saving machinery, while also granting loans and encouraging saving.
Fighting food taboos for women In Yalosuna, a village in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dimitra community listeners' clubs have played a role in changing people's perceptions about food taboos for women, improving food security and nutrition issues in the communities as a result.
Rural women in Rwanda say a joint UN initiative is helping them both hope and plan for a better future, by empowering them with knowledge to improve and sustain their own livelihoods.