Rural women face challenges such as isolation, illiteracy and low social status. In occasion of the International Women's Day, we are glad to highlight a successful FAO initiative focusing on gender equality and communication for rural development.
Dimitra is a participatory communication project that aims to help close the gender gap in agriculture by boosting social dialogue and cohesion. Since 2006, it gives voice to rural women in various African countries and increases their access to information and knowledge resources, contributing to their social and economic empowerment.
Named after the ancient Greek goddess of agriculture and harvests, Dimitra supports the exchange of information and good practices to make the role of both men and women producers equally recognized. Participatory communication processes give women more self-confidence and leadership, so they can play an active role in community life.
Communicating Gender for Development is a valuable and comprehensive resource that Dimitra produced to illustrate why and how a gender perspective should be introduced in communication for rural development activities.
The project has given special attention to community radio as a powerful tool for awareness-raising, education and agricultural extension among highly disperse rural communities. Its unique experience in Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo is summarized in the publication Community listeners’ clubs. Stepping stones for action in rural areas.
Another interesting resource is Dimitra's on-line database profiling organizations based in Africa and the Near East whose development work involves or concerns rural populations, and in particular women.
Photo credit: Dimitra