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10 December 2007 | Updated on 6 May 2024

The Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development in the Information Society (GenARDIS) small grants fund was developed in 2002 to support work at the grassroots level on gender-related issues in ICTs for agricultural and rural development in the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions.

It recognises the constraints and challenges encountered by rural women particularly – challenges which include cultural factors that hinder ICT access by women, lack of time to participate in ICT training and use, minimal access to technologies such as radio, mobile phones and computers, and lack of relevant information in local languages, adapted to local realities.

APC-Africa-Women coordinates the fund, and grants were issued in 2003 and 2005. In 2008, the third round of small grants was issued, and projects are currently being implemented. Grantee organisations enhance their skills around gender, evaluation and advocacy in the process of carrying out their projects, and report an increased ability to influence policy.

GenARDIS projects’ beneficiaries are mainly rural women smallholders. In Burkina Faso, the Manegbzanga Association used GenARDIS funds to provide basic French language and ICT training for 30 women. Trainees are now able to use computers to write reports and communicate via internet. In Lesotho, rural women received cell phones to emulate traditional water well communications network using mobile technology, enabling women farmers access to prices and agricultural coops.