Agri-TAF is supporting MINAGRI with the development of the Agriculture Gender and Youth Mainstreaming Strategy whose vision is increased and sustainable productivity in the agriculture sector for healthy and wealthy women, men and youth. This Agriculture Gender and Youth Mainstreaming Strategy builds on the work of the previous gender-specific sector strategy developed in 2010. It aims to support the implementation of the Fourth Strategic Plan for Agricultural Transformation (PSTA4, 2018) and the National Agriculture Policy (NAP, 2018). The aim of this strategy is to ensure that women and men and youth benefit equally from policy action, programs and activities and that inequality is not perpetuated. The strategy will enable MINAGRI and its agencies to better mainstream gender and youth into programming and to deliver on the mandate and commitments established in the PSTA4.
The development of the strategy involves extensive stakeholder consultations, field visits and a review of the available literature. Consultations targeted stakeholders at all levels across the agriculture sector – from senior officials to district extension workers and farmers (men, women and youth).
Rwanda has consistently shown a strong commitment to gender mainstreaming, as one of the approaches to attain rapid and inclusive growth. At the national level, the constitution (2003) enshrines gender equality and sets out the obligations of the State and others to support the promotion of gender equality. Both PSTA4 and NAP acknowledge that, in order to achieve their respective vision and goals, the current constraints and inequalities need to be addressed. This means doing more to leverage the under-utilised human capital among women and young people in delivering increased competitiveness and value addition in the agriculture sector.
While the legal and policy context in Rwanda is gender- and youth-sensitive, implementation barriers including cultural norms, practices and attitudes in nature effectively reduce opportunities for equitable and inclusive growth and development in the agricultural sector. There are five key areas where gender and youth inequality issues are most pronounced: low levels of financial inclusion among women and youth, low participation in lucrative parts of agri-value chains, limited access to extension support, inputs and technologies, weak institutional capacity for gender-responsive development of the sector and limited control over resources and decision-making.
To overcome these barriers, strategies for change are needed to lead into specific actions to create change pathways towards the vision. Strategic entry points are presented around the technical interventions that provide projects, services and products, through capacity development of institutions and systems, through behaviour change relating to cultural norms and through the enabling environment which underlies progress across these areas. Targeted to each strategic entry point, a series of interventions are proposed to deliver change and achieve the following outputs:
- Access to finance: Appropriate financial services tailored to the needs of women and youth and reduced barriers to access.
- Markets and Value Chain Representation: Support mechanisms developed for women and youth to access markets and increase representation throughout the value chain.
- Extension, Support, Inputs and Technologies: Support mechanisms to enable women and youth to access extension, inputs and technologies to improve productivity.
- Institutional Mainstreaming: Institutional systems strengthened to better plan for and mainstream gender and youth.
- Empowerment and Decision-making: New approaches developed to target mindset and behaviour change at all levels and encourage women and youth into leadership roles.
MINAGRI, its agencies (RAB and NAEB) and Districts are responsible for the delivery of this strategy and for driving change within their organisations. Strengthened collaboration on gender and youth specific issues with a broader range of stakeholders across sectors such as local government, health, education and infrastructure, could increase the effectiveness of institutional mainstreaming.