Funds for rural women in Colombia
Colombian rural women leaders are sceptical about the latest government plans to boost women’s participation in agriculture, IPS reports.
The government announced an $850,000 fund for rural women’s initiatives in 2011.
Rural women are one of the most marginalised communities in Colombia, suffering from the patriarchal system in place.
Angela Orozco, a farmer in Usme, welcomed the announcement, but pointed out the need for advice and support of how best to use the fund if it is to create any real change for women on the ground.
The traditional mechanisms to access funds involve hurdles that routinely disadvantage women, Orozco argues. A woman’s land may be registered in the name of a male relative, or they may not be able to travel to cities with small children to obtain necessary documentation.
To ensure more equal access, Orozco calls for “projects for cultural and educational changes, as well as mechanisms for oversight of how funds are handled”.
Colombian rural women have long been caught in the crossfire of the armed conflicts which displaced millions of small farmers. Despite being more than half the rural population, their contribution to the economy and food security is largely ignored, the NGO Infogenero claims.
The new fund is to be channelled through the Rural Women’s Development Fund which has not received any finance in the last four years.