Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla. 00153 Rome, Italy
The mandate of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy.
Areas of Focus
FAO seeks to promote gender equality and reduce discrimination against women through various activities that also support the elimination of violence against women. Activities focus on the reinforcement of food security and the economic rights of women, mainly by promoting their access to and management of economic resources, the reduction of women’s workload, access to healthcare, education, training and information, and the promotion of women’s participation in decision-making processes. In agriculture and rural settings where FAO operates, GBV is a pervasive and persistent reality.
In 2016 and 2017 FAO continued its work on energy access and environment with an emphasis on protracted displacement. For example, in Syria, thanks to an EU-funded FAO project on strengthening the resilience to food insecurity, crisis-affected households can now benefit from the installation of biogas digesters. These digesters provide vulnerable household with an affordable and eco-friendly fuel source and help improve women's livelihoods by relieving them of the chore of collecting fuelwood. Through Danish funding, FAO provided direct and time-sensitive support to crisis-affected populations in the form of emergency livelihood kits in South Sudan. As of 2017, FAO has distributed more than 30 000 fuel-efficient stoves in camps, improvised settlements and host communities. The project also included training to ease the pressure on natural resources as well as to help protect women from the risk of sexual and Gender Based Violence (GBV) associated with woodfuel collection. In Nigeria, FAO is implementing a project funded by Norway where the host community and internally displaced people (IDPs) work together to produce fuel-efficient stoves to be distributed to the communities, which again helps to reduce the need for firewood collection.
A specific guidance (“How can we protect men, women and children from gender-based violence? Addressing GBV in the food security and agriculture sector”) and a policy brief (“How can food security interventions contribute to reducing gender-based violence?”) were developed to introduce FAO staff and relevant partners to both the relevance and practical know-how of addressing GBV in food security and agriculture interventions. The Guide specifically calls upon FAO and partner staff to contribute to the protection of all human rights, including the right to a life free from GBV.
- Improve understanding of the different forms of gender-based violence, their causes and consequences, and how they directly and indirectly affect the agriculture sector, food security and livelihoods;
- Better define FAO responsibilities and identify the best opportunities to address GBV;
- Provide practical information and tools to inform protection and GBV analysis at each stage of the project cycle.
A network of field ethics focal points has been created to receive and escalate complaints related to sexual exploitation and abuse. Trainings have been conducted for focal points on ethics procedures and the handling of these complaints, as well as on Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) and FAO's PSEA procedures.
1) FAO, together with UN Country Teams, UN Women, UNFPA and other national and international partners, led the “16 Days of Activism to end Violence against Women” campaign in 5 regions of Niger (Maradi, Tillaberi, Dosso, Tahoua and Zinder). In 120 villages where there are Dimitra Clubs, the campaign raised awareness on gender-based violence.
As part of this Campaign”, which began on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, two further events took place to raise awareness on the links between gender-based violence and its relevance to the work of the Organization.
The first was the ESP-sponsored “Forum theatre around gender-based violence – Out of the box”. Through games and role-plays, participants worked on situations where GBV can occur.
The second event was a UN Rome-Based Agencies event that took place entitled “Ending gender-based violence to end hunger and poverty: The role we play”. As part of the UNiTE campaign, FAO, IFAD and WFP came together to raise awareness of this global pandemic.
2) FAO is actively engaged in the IASC developing global standard operating procedures (SOPs) for community based complaints mechanisms (CBCMs). In addition, FAO made to meet PSEA minimum operating standards, which currently serve as a planning and monitoring tool.
FAO facilitates the preparation of Country Gender Assessments for agriculture and food security, as part of the implementation of its Gender Equality Policy. During 2017 and 2018 several CGAs were finalized with GBV analysis forming a part of the assessment.
A guidance note (“Gender, food security and nutrition in protracted crises”) was developed as part of a series of materials for improving food security and nutrition in protracted crises. Drawing on FAO technical experience, the guidance notes series supports implementation of the Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises (CFS-FFA), endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in October 2015.
The document build on past experience to provide guidance on how to address gender equality as part of food and nutrition security interventions in situations of protracted crisis. It includes case studies from FAO's interventions in protracted crisis situations.
In 2017 and 2018, two key training workshops were held for FAO staff and partners in Somalia (Mogadishu and Hargeissa) and north east Nigeria (Maiduguri). The scope of the trainings was to support the integration of gender, gender-based violence and accountability to affected populations (AAP) in FAO’s programming and planning. They were articulated around participatory, practical and interactive sessions and participants were oriented on relevant global frameworks such as the World Humanitarian Summit, Grand Bargain commitments and the Secretary-General’s Bulletin on PSEA as well as have the opportunity to apply tools for gender and GBV analysis and assessment, amongst others.
In Nigeria, the importance of energy access for affected populations in the context of acute emergencies and protracted crises cannot be overstated. Vulnerable populations – including refugees, IDPs and the communities hosting them – often have very limited access to cooking fuel and other forms of energy. Women and children primarily shoulder the burden of collecting fuelwood and preparing meals for the family. This gender-differentiated role has major consequences in terms of productive time lost and exposure to protection risks and health risks. Against this background, the participatory, practical and context-specific training was delivered on challenges relating to energy access, environment and displacement, with a focus on resilience programming and gender mainstreaming in the three Nigerian states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
In Central African Republic, where the current crisis has affected the social fabric of society and survivors of GBV are stigmatised, deprived of support and known to engage in risky coping strategies such as transactional sex for survival, FAO has partnered with UN Women to ensure that women affected by the conflict, including GBV survivors, benefit from livelihood strategies.
FAO facilitates the preparation of Country Gender Assessments for agriculture and food security, as part of the implementation of its Gender Equality Policy. The CGA aims to inform evidence-based planning towards gender equality and women's empowerment to improve food and nutrition security and reduce poverty. The CGA usually relies mainly on secondary sources and existing data, although data collection is also conducted as part of the process, for example through key informant interviews to identify the most critical issues. The specific aspects looked at in each country depend on the available data and national priorities. During 2015, 5 CGA's - Albania, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe - were finalized with GBV analysis forming a part of the assessment.
In March 2016 a webinar on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Food Security and Nutrition interventions was delivered, available to all staff, as part of the roll-out of the new corporate guidelines. Tailored guidance will be provided to staff working on projects in decentralized offices during 2016 and 2017.