Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence in Agriculture


International Women’s Day (IWD) is a time for us, as an international development community, to take stock of development programming to ensure we think equal, build smart, innovate for change—the UN's IWD theme for 2019. This includes preventing and responding to gender-based violence, which affects an estimated one-third of women worldwide.

In agricultural communities and markets, as in other sectors, gender-based violence contributes to decreased productivity and reduced economic output. Violence and harassment prevent women from fully participating in and benefiting from agricultural systems, contributes to reduced food security and adversely affects individual, family and community health.

Most stakeholders now recognize women’s empowerment and increased productivity in agriculture as essential to a sustainable global food system. Governments and donors have prioritized improving women’s access to land, credit, technology and training, but these efforts will be less effective if we do not simultaneously prevent and respond to gender-based violence in this sector.


Given the pervasiveness of the issue, donors, implementers and governments must work together to identify the extent of gender-based violence in the agriculture sector and develop strategies and approaches to prevent and respond to it. In a recent rapid learning needs assessment conducted by the Feed the Future Advancing Women’s Empowerment (AWE) Program, USAID staff said they needed more capacity to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. The AWE Program can help by:

  • Convening the right experts – Bringing together agricultural, gender-based violence prevention and response, and monitoring and evaluation experts to conduct a holistic review of project and activity goals, objectives and interventions for harnessing opportunities identified through the process.
  • Strengthening capacity – Providing USAID and implementing partners with learning opportunities such as training, workshops, toolkits and mentoring to meet identified needs in integrating gender-based violence prevention and response in the agriculture sector.
  • Bridging gaps in data availability and use – Reducing gaps in qualitative and quantitative data, designing analyses and market studies, and more to provide data to help us see bright spots and unintended consequences in our work. Empowering decision-makers to adapt their programs to better prevent and respond to gender-based violence. Developing indicators to broaden our understanding of what is happening, what works and what does not.

In 2018, AWE promoted conversations about gender-based violence prevention and response in agriculture through our involvement in the 16 Days campaign. We participated in a Twitter relay and held a discussion with experts on survivor-centered approaches.


The AWE Program is helping move this sector forward by developing indicators, training and tools to support risk mitigation, root causes and responsibility for women’s safe participation in agriculture, at all levels of the sector. We are excited to collaborate with missions, implementing partners, the Bureau for Food Security and USAID offices to make agriculture a safer and more productive sector.

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