Gender in Agriculture Partnership

Transforming agriculture to empower women and deliver food, nutrition and income security

The power of trust and solidarity: Building rural entrepreneurial capacities in Colombia

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Empowering disadvantaged indigenous and Afro-descendant women and men is essential to lasting peace in Colombia, which is rebuilding following 50 years of conflict. The IFAD-funded programme known as TOP supports efforts to boost the incomes and improve the working conditions of 50,000 rural families living in extreme poverty. In line with Government policy, the programme is using an inclusive strategy to overcome discriminatory practices and include women in all activities.

“One of the most challenging issues we faced was the complete lack of associations and associative environment,” says: Lida Maria Melo, Programme Representative. “The people we worked with were not used to working together and it was very hard at the beginning, since the programme required at least 15 people per group. Also, working in remote rural areas was challenging because people had lost their trust in public institutions due to corruption and previous unsuccessful interventions from the central government. We managed to recover the credibility of the institutions, and our efforts enabled local people to regain trust in themselves, in their abilities and capacities. They felt empowered and felt the project as their own.”

Of the 13,300 extremely poor families so far reached by TOP, 57 per cent are headed solely by women. This represents over 60 per cent of the total programme goal, which is to reach 12,500 vulnerable rural households headed by women. Incentives are also being provided for women’s participation within other targeted population groups, including young people and victims of armed conflict.

Read the full story on the IFAD Social Reporting Blog