Originally published at: http://humidtropics.cgiar.org/equitable-rural-development-impact-study-on-public-policies-and-women/
Seeking to share the results of the Humidtropics study on the Impact of Public Policies on Rural Women and their Protagonism for Equitable, Integrated Rural Development, 43 representatives from 20 member organizations of the Nicanorte Territorial Learning Alliances gathered to discuss the socio-economic implications of the country’s public policy framework as it affects the particular case of rural women.
The Nicanorte Territorial Learning Alliances came together to discuss the current status of women in the context of public policies at a national level, as an important element to guide future efforts aimed at achieving equitable, integrated rural development.
The study delved into the public policies and programs that have had an impact on women’s lives in the area’s rural communities since the decade of the 80s until the present. Considering women’s context within their communities as the base for the potential benefits and difficulties they face as a result of the implementation of various programs, the study evaluated elements such as ease of access to the community, availability of infrastructure for public transportation, electric power, and potable water access, and availability of health care and education services, as well as the main economic and productive activities within the community.
Women’s current status within their communities was also defined, assessing factors such as family leadership, academic level, land ownership, knowledge of agro-ecological management, and participation in the family’s productive activities. Based on these results, the study analyzed women’s life context parallel to the implementation dynamics of the various programs and public policies present in the region. The main purpose of this evaluation was to characterize the positive and negative impacts, both desired and unexpected, on women’s lives.
The study discovered that citizen participation is mostly reserved for women who are organized through NGOs, cooperatives, and other local initiatives. However, there are certain limitations which block women’s free participation in decision-making processes at a local level.
Although the communities have organizational structures where women are able to develop their protagonism in order to influence the processes which affect them, these structures have not developed to their maximum potential. This limits the ways in which women can transform their organizations into collective development tools to enhance their agency.
Another important obstacle which emerged was the exclusion of rural women’s organizations from established citizen participation spaces at a local level, such as cabinets and meetings with municipal-level decision-makers. This lack of access to the spaces of citizen expression has resulted in the creation of alternative spaces were women can develop their protagonism. However, including women in traditional decision-making spaces remains an obstacle to ensure inclusive processes that consider the needs of all members of the community as a whole.
The event had the participation of the Farmer Association of Waslala (ACAWAS), the Association for Communal Diversification and Agricultural Development (ADDAC), the Association for Integrated and Sustainable Development (ADIS) Waslala, Aldea Global, the Association of Mothers from Families who are Victims of War in Waslala (AMFVGW), the Association for the Promotion of Women in Waslala (Apromuwas), the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the Association for the Social Development of Nicaragua (Asdenic)’s Innovation and Information Center (CII), the New Waslala Cooperative, the Foundation Among Women (FEM), Foro Miraflor, Mother Earth Foundation (Fumat), the Foundation for Women and Communal Economic Development (Fumdec), the Jinotegan Foundation for Sustainable Development (Funjides), Octupan, the Union of Agricultural Cooperatives Soppexcca, the National Union of Agriculture and Livestock Farmers of Nicaragua (UNAG), and the National Engineering University (UNI).
The study was carried out by three students from national and international universities, in five municipalities of Northern Nicaragua. Chandreyi Guharay, from St. Olaf College, and Elisa Rocha, a consultant for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), conducted their research in the municipality of Waslala (RAAN), together with the Association of Mothers from Families who are Victims of War in Waslala (AMFVGW) and the Association for the Promotion of Women in Waslala (Apromuwas); Celia Mena, from Thomas More University, researched the topic in the municipality of Rancho Grande (Esteli) in alliance with the Center for Education Services on Health and the Environment (CESESMA); and Clotilde Hoppe, from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, conducted this research in Pantasma (Jinotega), Pueblo Nuevo and Condega (Esteli) in close collaboration with the Foundation for Women and Communal Economic Development (Fumdec), the Foundation Among Women (FEM), and Octupan, respectively.
For more detailed results of the study, consult the presentations (in Spanish) here.
This is a follow-up story on the blog published on January 5, 2015, entitled Public Policies and their Influence on Rural Women’s Agency.
Blog by Shadi Azadegan, Communication Specialist, Central America and the Caribbean, CIAT; blog edited by Valérie Poiré, Communication Officer, Humidtropics. Photos by Shadi Azadegan/CIAT.