Failed inclusion of women in agroecological projects

Topic: Gender Equality
Gender Equality
Sustainable Livelihoods
Central America
Climate Action

The problem

The problem was that FSM did not initially take into account existing gender gaps when implementing agroecological projects. These include:

  • land tenure is mostly in the hands of men
  • it is mainly men who carry out in agricultural activities 
  • the training projects worked mainly with men on the issue of agricultural production and with women on marketing and gender issues

The experience

  • Most of our projects were focused on the production of vegetables and grains in an agroecological way, but most of the participants were men.
  • On the other hand, women participated in marketing activities, savings groups, and in gender trainings.
  • Women were sometimes counted as indirect participants in agroecological projects.  
  • The project team had not been concerned with addressing this gender gap as it was not sensitized and did not have guiding tools.
  • FSM did not have an up-to-date gender policy.

Reasons for Failure


  • There were no guiding instruments for gender sensible work (institutional policies, strategic plan, etc.)
  • Project team not sensitised to gender issues
  • The issue had not been discussed as a strategic commitment in FSM and nor how to mainstream its incorporation in the design, execution and sustainability of projects



  • Train staff in the implementation of the gender approach and elaborate guiding documents of institutional gender work
  • Update the institutional gender policy, and conduct gender analysis and self-assessments
  • Implement agricultural activities with women from savings groups at the community level 
  • Design ‘agroecological learning centres’ especially for women 

Lessons Learned


  • Involve women as direct, not just indirect, participants, despite existing gender gaps
  • Include women from the beginning in project formulations
  • Seek equity in participation - if it does not exist, promote it
  • Have staff who are extensively trained in gender work
Realisation period 2018-2023
Location Municipio de Meanguera, El Salvador
Contact Lucas Arguetat

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