The Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (A0AD) organized, in collaboration with the Arab women Organization(AWO), a national meeting on: The Rights of Arab Rural Women working in Agriculture, at AOAD Head office, Khartoum, Sudan, 29-31/12/2013. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Arab countries, concerned governments and non-governmental institutions and organizations. It was witnessed by Their Excellencies Dr. Tariq Mossa Al-Zadjali, the Director General of The Arab Organization For Agricultural Development (AOAD) and Dr. Shikha Saif Al-shamsi, the Director General of The Arab Women Organization(AWO).They both addressed the opening session.
In her opening address, Dr. Al-shamsi expressed her pleasure for participating in this activity jointly organized by two sister Arab organizations having mutual interest in the issue of rural women in agriculture. She referred to the uniqueness of the meeting compared with its predecessors in terms of essence and topic in that most of the meetings on women dealt with issues such as women and education or economic issues, while this one dealt with a new issue namely the rights of women. The rural women, she explained, have been ignored and deprived of their rights due to their ignorance and lake of awareness, mainly those related to land ownership, equal wages, banking facilities and social insurance. She stated that the meeting would facilitate the review and consideration of experiences on the rights of women in agriculture, their contribution to the economy, their protection from risks, their land ownership rights as well as their humanitarian rights. She concluded her address by hoping the meeting would come out with a joint Arab vision on the protection of the rural farm women.
For his part H.E Dr Al-Zadjali began his speech by referring to the theme of the meeting that address the right of the Arab rural woman in agriculture, describing them as the first of the family members to wake up in the morning and the last to go to bed at night. They cultivate and harvest, clean and cook, conceive and look after the young. Yet, the rural woman is being denied her rights in ownership, equal wages, financing, education, health care and decision making. He described the countryside as the Arab food store and the role of rural women in food production to be beyond doubt, thus the importance of highlighting and enhancing their role in development. He further reviewed AOAD achievements in the area of rural women within the context of the Arab Program for the Enhancement of the Role of Rural Women in Agricultural Development, mentioning the various training courses it has executed for the benefit of rural women, the projects it dedicated to women – headed households, construction of rural women schools and honoring of rural women during several occasions. He concluded his speech by hoping for the meeting to come out with clear- content recommendations and specified assignments.
The meeting, which continued for three days, discussed three main issues namely: the legal protection for rural farm women, the role of rural women in food security and the effect of the nature of the work of rural farm women on their enjoyment of their rights. The meeting issued a number of recommendations including: establishment of a network for the rural women in Agriculture, organization, by AOAD of a meeting on the Palestinian farm women, strengthening of cooperation ties between AOAD and AWO and that the two organizations shall endeavor to create a unit for the rural women in agriculture in their respective organizational structures.
The participants have also sent a cable of thanks and acknowledgements to the President of the republic of Sudan, H.H. Omer Hassan Al-Basher on the occasion of his country's 58th national day which coincided with the date of the meeting.
The closing ceremony of the meeting also witnessed the honoring of a number of ex-AOAD personnel who provided notable services to the organization during their employment.