Involving women in local development programmes

Focusing on women in rural development
Giving attention to role of women in rural development

Creating programmes, for example on the use of water and sanitation, for rural women who are most directly involved with the use of these amenities.


The developmental change in one arena affects the other aspects of the community's life. Strengthening the participation of women in income development might include village creches, literacy programmes, providing transportation services, and training women in equipment maintenance. Programmes intended to benefit one aspect of community life affect other aspects of community life as well. Increased food production beyond improving the earning power of the community has nutritional benefits and creates job variety. Home gardens intended to upgrade the nutritional status in the community benefited the economic status of women. Further forms of community development can be initiated by providing programmes which raise the consciousness of those most influenced by problems.


This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends establishing legal measures to promote access of women to the land and remove bias in their involvement in rural development.

During the Decade of Women, the UN agencies developed women's programmes concerning water and sanitation use in order to move from the Decade of Women into the Decade of Water, thus maintaining a continuing stress on local village development.

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization emphasizes the importance of women in development. It seeks to improve women's access to credit, land, agricultural inputs and training, while encouraging governments to adopt appropriate measures to expand women's opportunities and protect their rights.

A project in the Sudan has successfully involved women in forestry work. Village men requesting a windbreak project planned a nursery and other forestry activities. The men were then asked to identify women leaders, who, working with trained local women extension workers, established nurseries within their compounds and planted trees around their homes. Some groups have also planted and managed woodlots near their villages.


As the prime carriers and users of family water supply and chiefly in charge of home sanitation practices, women are vitally interested in and able to implement programmes to improve home and village amenities and will use such meetings to begin organizations for contending with the issues locally.

Counter Claim:

Organizing groups around a single issue risks the possibility of their refusing to be involved once that issue is ameliorated or solved.


Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal