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Media Contact: Emily Sollie, 410-230-2802, 443-220-3269 cell, esollie@lwr.org

Lutheran World Relief, USAID Work to Advance Equality for Female Farmers in Honduras

Baltimore, October 22, 2013 — Lutheran World Relief (LWR), through a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will implement the project, “Gender in Agriculture: From Policy to Practice” in Honduras. USAID selected LWR for this award through a competitive grants process allocating funds through its Innovations in Gender Equality program to advance the goals of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government´s global hunger and food security initiative.

The 30-month project will advance policies that will result in greater investments for women’s agricultural activities in 10 municipalities of Lempira, Honduras and is expected to directly benefit 2,920 individuals and indirectly benefit 65,000 people throughout western Honduras.  LWR is contributing $215,670 toward the project's total budget of $1,049,004, with USAID contributing the remainder.

“Women play a vital role in achieving food security, yet persistently have less access than men to essential resources, including land, livestock, labor, education, extension, and financial services,” explains Michael Watt, LWR´s regional director for Latin America. This persistent gender gap in access to resources is one of the root causes of food insecurity in Honduras, where two thirds of the population is food-insecure.

“Gender in Agriculture: From Policy to Practice” will improve women’s access to key agricultural resources by increasing women’s leadership to influence policy decisions at the municipal level; and by helping to ensure that policies promote gender equity in access to financial services and public investment for agricultural activities. To meet these goals, the project will engage women’s organizations, female farmers and their spouses, and municipal, regional and national policymakers.

The project builds on U.S. investments through Feed the Future, which aims to increase food security and nutrition in 19 focus countries, and specifically move 30,000 Honduran households out of poverty by 2015. The project also builds on Honduran laws passed in 2000 and 2011—the Law of Equality for Women and the Food and Nutrition Security Law—that provide a framework for increasing women’s access to resources for agriculture activities.

Watt adds, “There is overwhelming evidence showing that when the status of women improves, agricultural production increases. LWR is working to make this happen with critical support from USAID in Honduras by not only engaging women, but also working with men to change their attitudes and with policymakers to ensure funds and technical support reach female farmers.”

LWR will work with the Lutheran World Federation and the Honduran non-governmental association Asociación de Organismos No Gubernamentales de Honduras (ASONOG) to implement the “Gender in Agriculture: From Policy to Practice” project. The project is a scalable, replicable model that can be expanded within Honduras and adapted to other contexts where food security challenges exist.

Over the last two decades, LWR has worked in Honduras with local non-governmental organizations, farmers’ organizations, community councils and local governments to advance rural development, increase food security, and protect natural resources in the country.

WHO IS LWR? Lutheran World Relief works to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and people experiencing poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America, both in times of emergencies and for the long term. With the financial support of US Lutherans and other donors, LWR strengthens communities through programs in agriculture, climate, and emergency support. LWR works with partners, supporters and technical assistance providers to achieve lasting results. For more information, visit lwr.org.

Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of U.S. Lutherans, serving communities living in poverty overseas.

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