At thirty, Olga Macz is a teacher and entrepreneur, and a force to be reckoned with. She leads a women’s group in Campur, a small municipality in the mostly rural Alta Vara Paz department of Guatemala, which makes and sells organic shampoo. For many of the women, this is the first time that they are making their own money and making decisions.
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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.
On 17 October 1987, more than a hundred thousand people gathered in at the Trocadero in Paris, France, and declared that poverty was a human rights violation and one that had to be addressed. Five years later, the General Assembly adopted resolution 47/196, which officially declared 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. On this day, the everyday struggle of people living in poverty is recognized and it is a chance for their concerns to be heard.
The fight against extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition is not possible without gender equality and women empowerment, José Graziano da Silva, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said today in Rome, where he called for more efforts to ensure that rural women, "the backbone of our work in agriculture," enjoy a level playing field.