''FANRPAN Press Release
01-07/09
27 July 2009''

Funding for the programme is
provided by a $900,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The project, Women Accessing Realigned Markets (WARM), seeks to strengthen women
farmers’ ability to advocate for appropriate agricultural policies and
programmes. The goal is for women farmers to have access to the tools that help
them farm more successfully, such as access to credit and better seeds, by
ensuring that local and national policies and services address their needs.

In Africa, the majority of rural farmers are women. At the same time, research
demonstrates women are often excluded from the decision-making process and local
governance. As a result, the needs of women farmers are often not reflected in
local and national agricultural policy. By empowering women farmers to advocate
for their concerns, the WARM project aims to ensure women farmers have what they
need to increase their income and provide for their families.

Women are often marginalised in business relations and have minimal control over
access to factors of production like land, inputs such as seed and fertilizer,
credit and technology. Due to a combination of logistical, cultural and economic
factors, they are often not able to benefit fully from development programmes
and services. The WARM project will use an innovative tool, Theatre for Policy
Advocacy, to engage leaders, service providers and policymakers, encourage
community participation, and research the needs of women farmers. Amakhosi
Theatre Company from Zimbabwe will lead theatre groups in crafting policy
messages to amplify the voices of women and demonstrate the challenges they face.

FANRPAN is piloting the project in two countries - Mozambique and Malawi.
Results and findings from these two countries will be extended to other Southern
and East African countries with a combined total population of 400 million.

The WARM project will leverage FANRPAN’s experience as a regional
multi-stakeholder policy research network to bridge the divide between women
farmers, researchers and agricultural policy processes, with the goal of
increasing women farmers’ access to markets. FANRPAN will partner with other
foundation grantees, including regional and national farmers organisations,
national research institutions and universities, community based groups, and
national and regional policymakers to ensure farmers have access to markets,
extension services, better seeds, adequate fertilizer and other important
resources.

This grant is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Agricultural
Development initiative. *This initiative is working with a wide range of
partners in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to provide millions of small
farmers, most of whom are women, in the developing world with tools and
opportunities to boost their yields, increase their incomes, and build better
lives for themselves and their families. The foundation is working to strengthen
the entire agricultural value chain - from seeds and soil to farm management and
market access - so that progress against hunger and poverty is sustainable over
the long term.

About FANRPAN

FANRPAN is a multi-stakeholder, multi-national network that supports the
development of better food, agriculture and natural resources (FANR) policies in
southern Africa. The thriving multi-tiered network consists of more than 670
members (a diverse group of organisations including universities, farmer
organisations, businesses, government agencies and civil society organisations
that have a stake in the FANR policy process) organised into national nodes in
thirteen Southern African countries.

Read the article in full here

Please contact policy at fanrpan.org for further details.
URL: http://www.fanrpan.org/