International Day of Rural Women

Why Nutrition is Key to Women Economic Empowerment in Burundi

Date: Thursday, October 15, 2020

A chicken farm supported by UN Women in partnership with WPHF and owned by women mediators in Ruyigi. Photo: UN Women

In Burundi, just like many low-income countries in Arica, women play an important role in food production and nutrition within the household but on the other hand women and children are the most vulnerable groups when it comes to malnutrition. Hence there is need to empower women and combat malnutrition.

It is within this framework that UN Women and UNICEF jointly developed a project that aims to introduce innovative approaches for a multi-sectorial fight against chronic malnutrition among children under the age of five in Burundi.

UN Women's innovative approach seeks to strengthen and build the capacity of women to become key actors in the fight against malnutrition, especially at the household level. UN Women aims to support women groups in small and medium enterprises sector and local cooperatives in the production process, certification, and standardization of supplementary foods with high nutritional value for children from the age of six months.

In Burundi, rural women are actively involved in every stage of agricultural production to cater for basic needs. According to a study that was conducted in 2002 by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), 97.4% of women, of working age, work in the agricultural sector, which remains the dominant activity and contributor to the Burundian economy with an added value of more than 50% to the gross domestic product (GDP). These indicators demonstrate the potential role of Burundi's rural women and their contribution to sustainable economies, despite having inadequate access and less control over assets and active participation in decision-making at the household level and resource allocation.

The UN Women Economic Empowerment programme addressing chronic malnutrition of children under 5 in Burundi is funded by the French Republic. It aims to contribute to the reduction of chronic malnutrition for children under five and strengthening the resilience of vulnerable rural populations in the provinces of Gitega, Karuzi, Muramvya, Kirundo and Muyiga. This joint project UN Women/Unicef is expected to empower at least 2,000 women in the selected areas and 40,000 men/women/girls/boys and children.