Policy statement-The right to food?

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,the right to food does not imply that governments have an obligation to hand out free food to everyone who wants it. This is a common misconception. "The right to food is nota right to a minimum ration of calories, proteins and other specific nutrients, or a right to be fed. It is about being guaranteed the right to feed oneself, which requires not only that food is available – that the ratio of production to the population is sufficient – but also that it is accessible– i.e., that each household either has the means to produce or buy its own food. However, if individuals are deprived of access to food for reasons beyond their control, for instance because of an armed conflict, natural disaster or because they are in detention, recognition of the right to life obliges States to provide them with sufficient food for their survival.

ARUWE’s Intervention in relation to Food, Nutrition and incomes.

The aim of ARUWE’s Food, Nutrition and income program is to improve livelihoods through combined financial and technical assistance for rural women and youth with empowerment and training programs and engaging them in their development processes. Under economic empowerment, focus is put on food security and nutrition, agribusiness, livestock rearing and micro credit. Emphasis is put on capacity building in sustainable agriculture. ARUWE focuses on improving food production through improving farming practices, harvesting techniques, value addition, marketing and business management. Participants also receive intensive training in cooperative development and governance.

The goal is to establish a core of functioning cooperatives capable of producing and marketing high quality, high value agricultural products. The long-term vision of commercial farming is a women-led agricultural value chain whereby women are participants in every facet of the agricultural production cycle: producers, processors, distributors, managers and owners.

Commercial farming initiative functions not only as an income generation mechanism but as an agent of unification bringing together diverse groups of women and their families irrespective of cultural or ethnic backgrounds.

ARUWE adopted a working model that further increased capacity of farming communities to carry out profitable agribusiness. This is done by offering free advisory services and extending small loans to the farmers and small business owners to enable them to invest in their agricultural activities and business. Furthermore, by re-branding our micro-credit arm as Community Fund, ARUWE has made Financing more accessible to the most vulnerable communities, many of whom are wary of banks or financial institutions.

Community Fund’s accessibility and use of everyday language aims to offer an inclusive service that reaches those who need it most. In addition, beneficiaries are also able to invest in other income generating activities like trade, retail shops, and transportation and among others.ARUWE employs the group solidarity model where by women are encouraged to form groups which are trained. Through these groups, members have created strong bonds among themselves and instead of struggling alone, now these women work together to solve their problems.