Village farmers put food first during International Women’s Day

Some 3,000 rural women and their family members participated in a mega event organized by Solidaridad with support from various institutes to commemorate International Women’s Day on 8 March. The event was organized in the district of Dewas, Madhya Pradesh (India).

Based on the theme of “good farming, good food”, the day was celebrated by voicing a resounding call-to-action for gender balance. The overarching theme of International Women’s Day 2019, “Balance for Better”, means creating balance in the socio-economic, cultural, educational and political spheres of life by allowing for the equal participation of women.

Celebrating the success of women

During the event, stakeholders discussed ways of working together to improve the availability, accessibility and affordability of safe and nutritious foods, as well as increasing awareness on nutritional health. Women community leaders, service providers and elected women representatives also shared their experiences of struggles and achievements in pursuit of their chosen paths.

Rural women and their family members from across the state were provided a platform for cross-learning and encouraging rural women in agriculture. The occasion was also dedicated to celebrating women leaders, entrepreneurs who have created a niche place for themselves and are setting an example for others.

Working together for a better world

The event was jointly organized by a consortium of stakeholders and partners representing government and private sector organizations working on sustainable agriculture, livelihood and women empowerment in Madhya Pradesh.

Delegates from different government organizations, research institutions, agricultural universities, extension institutions, industries, corporate foundations, financial institutions, farmers and farmers’ organizations provided substantial knowledge and networking opportunities during the one-day programme.

A series of panel discussions took place with the participation of women leaders, development practitioners, government officials and subject specialists like nutritionists and dieticians. The experts discussed subjects such as nutritional health, the importance of a soy-based diet, women leaders’ role in decision making, and financial inclusion. Technical experts from CIAE shared knowledge about women-friendly farm tools, soy nutrition and the potential it holds.

Senior government officials, scientists, women leaders, board members of various farmer producer organizations and other consortium partners working with Solidaridad also addressed the gathering.

Reaching out to rural farmers

The International Women’s Day celebration marks the culmination of a weeklong programme for villages that provided training and exposure to issues like nutrition, kitchen gardens, safe farming practices, organic methods, use of women-friendly tools etc. Solidaridad programmes also help women farmers acquire advanced agricultural machinery, technology, seeds, market access and access to government programmes.

About 40 different participating organizations and rural entrepreneurs displayed their products in the exhibition stalls. The event was organized under the guidance of the Resource Centre of Women in Agriculture (RCWIA).

Learn more about sustainability in Asia

Solidaridad’s International Women’s Day 2019 programme was made possible thanks to support from the following partners: Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering (CIAE), ICAR Institute, Vippy Industries, East-West Seed Industries, East-West Seeds, Mahindra, Bio-Nutrients and Reliance Foundation, and key government agencies such as Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Mid-Day-Meal Council and Madhya Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission (MPSRLM).