UN agency launches film tribute to rural women

 ROME – A short film featuring poet Maya Angelou was launched in Rome by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Friday, the International Day of Rural Women.  It aimed to raise awareness of the power and potential of rural women to help fight global hunger.

 The film “This Is How We Rise” is produced by award-winning production company Somesuch & Co.  It forms part of IFAD’s global campaign ‘Real Groundbreakers’ which aims to increase investments in the economic and social empowerment of women through rural and agricultural development.

 President of IFAD, Gilbert Houngbo, said, "With hunger rising over the past few years, women's empowerment needs to be at the forefront of all development work.”  

 “Women are a cornerstone in building holistic and sustainable food systems,” he continued.  “We all rise – men and women, communities and nations – when the 1.7 billion women and girls who live in rural areas have equal access to resources.”

 Although women make up about half of the agricultural workforce globally, yet the gender gap in food and agriculture remains extensive: in every region of the world, women are more likely to be food insecure than men.

 As producers, rural women face greater constraints than men in accessing essential productive resources and services, technology, market information and financial assets.

 Numerous studies have shown that when women are able to earn their own incomes, they invest the majority of their earnings back into their families - on nutrition, food, healthcare, schooling, and farming.

 "If we can mobilize political support to empower rural women and increase funding to agricultural development through IFAD and others, there will be higher overall food production, better nutrition, poverty reduction and increased access to education," said Houngbo.

 The film includes Angelou’s voice, reading lines from her poem “Still I Rise.”  Images in the film are of rural women from IFAD-supported projects in Mozambique and Nepal who face the daily challenges of life in some of the world’s poorest rural areas.

 As in Angelou’s poem, they demonstrate their bravery and resolve in going about their daily tasks and building their own agricultural businesses.

 “The women in this film are locally cast. They’re real farmers, fisherwomen, mothers, sisters, friends and community leaders. It was deeply humbling to be in their company," said Camille Summers-Valli, the director.

 "We wanted to show the beauty and potential of rural women and girls by showing them in their everyday environments and routines,” she said. “The film is about sending a message of hope and of strength."

 Angelou was a poet, humanitarian and civil rights activist.  Her writing and work, which championed women’s rights and gender equality, had an impact on millions of people around the world.  touched the lives of millions around the globe through her teachings, writings and actions.

 The film will be broadcast on global television networks and other channels.