[Resilient Andes in Ecuador] Rural women’s ancestral knowledge as a driver for climate change policies and family farming

Resilient Andes has been formulating materials that retrieve and promote the ancestral knowledge of rural Andean women to help communities to adapt to climate change in Ecuador. Its aim is to strengthen the guidelines of the National Agricultural Strategy for Rural Women (ENAMR) promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Under-Secretariat of Family and Peasant Agriculture.

Gender inequality is one of the biggest problems for equitable development in family farming. In Ecuador, 61 per cent of women farmers receive no recognition, which prevents them from accessing better conditions and resources to improve their production systems, or opportunities for the knowledge they inherit about the care of natural resources to be appreciated for its true value.

Since 2020, SDC has been working with the National Agricultural Strategy for Rural Women (ENAMR) through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock’s Under-Secretariat for Family and Peasant Agriculture. This project encourages the retrieval and priority of the ancestral knowledge and practices that rural women preserve, which are key practices for better, more sustainable and climate-resilient production.

In 2021 the Resilient Andes project supported the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG) in holding four dialogues on ancestral knowledge and traditional knowledge for adaptation to climate change, with 112 rural women from the provinces of Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Azuay and Bolivar. The dialogues aimed to use this knowledge subsequently among as ENAMR’s main lines of action.

These meetings led to two types of products for dissemination:

Systematisation of the lore found in the four dialogues

Which accurately presents detailed information about the knowledge described by the women and analyses the way this knowledge contributes to climate change adaptation

Mujer, Guardiana de la Madre Tierra radio programme

to be broadcast on radio stations in the four provinces and on MAG radio stations. The programme has six episodes broadcast free of charge, each focusing on the themes of climate change, agricultural systems, water resources and land management, agro-diversity and food sovereignty, health and ancestral spirituality, based on the reflections of rural women and their role in family farming. The MAG and Resilient Andes will look for other radio stations and on-line platforms to join in broadcasting these episodes which show the key role of women in agricultural activities, but which also show them in their true measure, not just with a single role but including them as decision-makers.

The Resilient Andes project will also form part of the Sustainable and Resilient Agri-food Systems sub-committee of the MAG’s Inter-Agency Technical Roundtable for Rural Women, which will be re-established at a public event on International Women’s Day, in line with the Ministerial Agreement 106-2020 that governs the ENAMR.

Source: Regional project “Andes Resilient to Climate Change”

About Andes Resilient to Climate Change

The regional project “Andes Resilient to Climate Change” is promoted by SDC and facilitated by the consortium Helvetas Swiss InterCooperationAvina Foundation in partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Resilient Andes is part of SDC’s Global Climate Change and Environment Programme. Its first phase will run from May 2020 to April 2024.

Related notes (Spanish only)

  • [ECUADOR Desarrollo] Los saberes ancestrales de las mujeres rurales como potenciador de políticas de cambio climático y agricultura familiar en Ecuador (see)
  • [El Mercurio newspaper – Ecuador] Productoras azuayas enfrentan el cambio climático con saberes ancestrales (see)
  • [Radio Riobamba al Día – Ecuador] Diálogos de Saberes de Mujeres de la Agricultura Familiar Campesina en Chimborazo (see)
  • [Cotopaxi Noticias – Ecuador] 40 mujeres expusieron saberes ancestrales (see)
  • Se dio inicio a la Serie de Diálogos de Saberes de Mujeres de la Agricultura Familiar Campesina en Ecuador (see)

Useful links:
FS Regional Andes Resilient to Climate Change Project
Brochure Regional Andes Resilient to Climate Change Project
Fact Sheet Andes Resilient to Climate Change in Ecuador
Facebook Andes Resilient to Climate Change Project



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