It’s the middle of harvest season and Oruchinga Refugee Settlement in Western Uganda is buzzing with activity. A group of refugee farmers are filling a big plastic tub with freshly harvested onions from their green house. Eggplants, peppers and spinach will be harvested soon after.
The vegetables and tub belong to members of Twitezi Imbere group, one of the various greenhouse groups established within the settlement through UNDP’s ‘Climate Resilient Livelihoods Project.’ The project was implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with the Humanitarian Initiative Just Relief Aid (HIJRA), as part of efforts to promote climate resilient livelihoods in the settlement where the environment has been heavily degraded by the large number of refugees.
... Read more“Just last month, we got a good harvest of cabbages which we sold to restaurants and hotels,” Niyorugira Pascasin, a refugee
Many cooperatives and agri-businesses in rural areas still struggle to access high value markets in Vietnam. They rely heavily on local traders and have little brand recognition. Under the Enhancing Opportunities for Women’s Enterprises (FLOW/EOWE) programme, the Centre for Industry and Trade (COIT) in Ninh Thuan province is implementing a strategy to facilitate access for rural women entrepreneurs to high value markets and strengthen linkages between different actors in selected agricultural value chains.
One of the key aspects of their strategy is to introduce the opportunities of e-commerce to rural cooperatives and agri-businesses and women-led enterprises. E-commerce is gaining popularity in many sectors in Vietnam, however in the agricultural sector, especially in rural areas, it is still relatively unknown. The first e-commerce training under the FLOW/EOWE programme was organised in June 2018 for 36 partici
RAF Learning Lab Partners, AgDevCo and Opportunity International, are committed to investing in women’s empowerment across smallholder and rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Join this webinar to learn how organizations such as AgDevCo and Opportunity International, are integrating both business and social goals to empower women in smallholder finance.
‘Using coaching tools allows us to understand the challenges people face, and to jointly identify goals and actions. Coaching is based on the assumption that the client is resourceful and active in realizing change. Coaching unleashes the coachee’s potential and fosters self-confidence. It is thus more sustainable than giving advice or training, which are less customized to the client’s needs and are usually provided over a shorter period of time.
Relationship of trust
What I personally enjoy about coaching is the relationship of trust with the clients. I like adapting myself to their different agendas. For example, some organizations begin with an internal focus: how can discriminatory practices be changed in their own organization? Others focus on their work in the field: are the women, men, and young people in the cassava, vegetable or fish value chain fairly remunerated for their contributions? How can we eliminate barriers to their participation?... Read more
It is a documentary that uses a gender lens while following coffee from producer to consumer. It gives an intimate insight in the lives, work, concerns and joys of three generations of a coffee farming family in Chiapas, Mexico and makes us understand what it means to be young, a woman or a men in such a context. During the documentary we get to know the way traders, processers, companies, consumers perceive gender equity. It shows that gender equity is not (only) about women, it is about all of us. And it is not just addressing inequalities in producing countries, but also in our businesses, organizations and societies. It forces us to look at ourselves, our system of values and start the conversation about what equality means and how to achieve it.
Filmmakers Xavier Hamon and Hannah Stapleton have self-released “Gender in Coffee: A Documentary,”... Read more
This article presents three examples of companies experiencing the benefits of addressing gender in their business strategy. It is based on an interview with Stella Ling, my colleague from Fair & Sustainable Consulting, and me. The article is published in the glossy magazine Making Gender Work, cultivating diversity, of AgriProFocus. Read the magazine for more interesting articles!
Instead of focusing on how women benefit from economic development, the question can be turned around: how does business benefit from including women. Experts of Fair & Sustainable Consulting discuss three cases. Three companies, each playing a different role in the value chain, benefit from actively engaging women in their business.
Companies can have different roles in agricultural value chains: buyer, input supplier, or employer. All types of company can benefit from including women in their businesses, in many differe... Read more
In Vietnam, gender issues have received increasing attention in the agricultural domain. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has a Gender Equality Action Plan for 2016-2020 expressing its commitment to address gender equality in the agricultural sector and gender mainstreaming has been increasingly considered in agricultural projects. As the organisation in charge of the agricultural domain, it is crucially important for MARD to raise awareness on gender equality and build the capacity of agriculture staff working in different departments and institutions of the Ministry to mainstream gender in their work. On June 22nd, MARD, with support from SNV, organised a competition-workshop to raise awareness on the importance of gender equality in agriculture amongst its leaders, key officers and practitioners.
The conference is one of the activities under the cooperation framework between SNV and MARD (2016-20
Interesting article by CGAP about a recent survey which shows that a/o funders are prioritizing countries where women are more financially excluded and that funder support has not resulted in much progress in addressing the gender gap. And quoting a blog post by Mayada El-Zoghbi suggesting that perhaps the financial inclusion community has prioritized the wrong barriers. Access to credit may be a need for many women, but funders encouraging FSPs to offer this service may just not be the answer. There are other reasons why women remain financially excluded, such as social and cultural norms, as well as policy and regulation. It is perhaps time for funders to also focus on these issues to achieve meaningful progress.
From Rainforest Alliance and others:
Xavier Hamon and Hannah Stapleton’s Gender in Coffee – A Documentary offers an intimate look at coffee farming through the lens of gender equity. Backed by Rainforest Alliance, Lutheran World Relief, Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, The CQI’s Partnership for Gender Equity, and the SAFE Platform (powered by the IDB and managed by Hivos), the film follows the path of coffee from a smallholder farmer’s household in Chiapas, Mexico into the roasters and cafés where it’s enjoyed.
The Queen Maxima Hall at the Royal Tropical Institute will host the next screening of the documentary as part of the "We Make the City" Festival and the World of Coffee Conference and Exhibition on Saturday, June 23, from 9:30 to 11:30 am.
The success of women in agribusiness is not only determined by the level of access to resources and business assets, but also by gendered-specific behaviour and roles, which influences women’s decision-making power and control around these resources and business assets. Tackling the inequalities that exist between men and women in many rural agricultural societies therefore also requires a change in the deeply entrenched gender norms that are at the root of these inequalities.
As an entry point to reflect on and transform restrictive gender norms and power relations, the EOWE programme of SNV Netherlands development Organisation organises facilitated Household Dialogues among targeted family and/or community members in Kenya and Vietnam to critically reflect and discuss around the key norms that prevent women from fully participating in and benefiting from economic activities.
The EOWE prog... Read more
Many female farmers in Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Nigeria have a few chickens for home consumption and for sale. To empower these women, several research institutes have partnered with governments and private sector actors within the African Chicken Genetics Gain programme (ACGG). The programme supports the female farmers with new productive breeds, and services to sustain these.
Research shows, however, that whenever chicken rearing becomes more profitable, men often take over the business. ‘For example, they may ask their wife for the income from selling eggs or chicks’, says Julie Newton, gender specialist at KIT Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. To guarantee that women really benefit, KIT has formulated a gender strategy.
The strategy helps to make the needs and position of female farmers more visible. Where possible, they are invited to speak up... Read more
Like many industries, coffee tends to be a male-dominated business, while 70 per cent of the work is done by women. This is one reason why the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI), as part of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) supports female entrepreneurs in its Ethiopia Coffee Program.
'We work with local organizations, to identify women’s needs from the start of a project’, explains Lisanne van Beek, gender coordinator of RVO.nl. For example, CBI supported Sara Yirga, owner of YA Coffee Roasters. Yirga’s ambition is to roast and export traceable, high quality Ethiopian coffee. CBI helped her to develop an export marketing plan, offered her advice on the market potential, and supported her with branding and packaging. Furthermore, CBI connected her to the international organization Women in Coffee Alliance. Yirga is now promoting her company, in which 85 per cent of her employees are fem... Read more
Hello Dear friends,
WOMEN IN COFFEE INITIATIVE LTD PROFILE
Our Mission: To economically empower women through coffee.
Our Vision: To be suppliers of the best quality coffee, the most Transparent, Fair and Loving Coffee Business in the value chain.
Our Coffee: Ishema Women’s Coffee
The “Ishema Women’s Coffee” Story
Ishema Women’s Coffee story began in 2004 after Tushabe Joy, a Rwandan woman found out how women are not actively involved in Coffee production and the entire value chain. That is why she had an idea of leading rural women into coffee production. Joy believes that when Women are empowered, they can improve their livelihood. Traditionally, coffee farms in Rwanda were owned by men, processed the coffee, sold the produce to local and international markets and proceeds from the coffee was used at men’s discretion.
Women in coffee initiative Ltd was formed in 2014 to break that fear of women to enter into the coffee business. “Ishema Women’s Coffee” as a brand name for th... Read more
Watch this new video telling the story of Jennifer Nzioka Mutunga, a chicken farmer from Kenya, who turned chicken rearing from a household task into an enterprise with support from SNV's Enhancing Opportunities for Women's Enterprises (EOWE) programme.
The video was developed by the EU delegation to Kenya as part of this year's European Development Days under the theme ‘Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest.’
The programme Gender in Value Chains (2015-2018) is funded by the Dutch Ministry for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. The objective is to build practical gender in value chain expertise by training national coaches. Through coaching tracks, these coaches support organizations and companies in making value chains gender sensitive.
Do you want to know more about the results of this programme so far? Check out this page from the magazine 'Making Gender Work - Cultivating Diversity'
(Article from the Gender Magazine 'Making Gender Work: Cultivating Diversity')
Intan Darmawati is a gender trainer in Indonesia. Her commitment to gender issues comes from her own experiences as a girl in a patriarchal family.
‘My engagement began with my personal experience of being born a girl in a minority patriarchal family. People blamed me for being born a girl (rather than a boy) to justify the reason why our father left us. At the same time, family members criticized my mother because she had now become a single parent. I was also a victim of sexual abuse. These experiences have made me realize that there is something ’wrong’ with our social structure. I am now more sensitive to discrimination, and highly motivated to do something against it.
I have seen many women and men who are not aware of discrimination, because they considerexisting relationships to be normal, as taught by tradition and religion, and controlled by laws an... Read more
Since FrieslandCampina established its Dairy Development Programme in the 1980s, the company has trained over 170,000 local dairy farmers in nine countries. The programme increasingly noticed that women often do not show up at training sessions, despite being responsible for rearing young stock, milking and bookkeeping. FrieslandCampina and partners therefore started to develop training courses especially for women in Nigeria and Pakistan.
‘In Pakistan, over 26,000 women are now trained in husbandry practices’, says project manager Tanja Goedhart. As well as this, 300 women have been trained as female extension entrepreneurs and 300 as village milk collectors. This has resulted in over 600 female-led micro enterprises, an increase in yield of 1-2 litres more milk per cow per day on average, and better milk prices. A film was made in which four women tell how the training courses have improved their lives (see film bel... Read more
(Article from the Gender Magazine 'Making Gender Work: Cultivating Diversity')
To get companies, NGOs and other partners on board, it is important to be explicit about the benefits of including women throughout the project. In many developing countries, women play an important role in agriculture, but lack access to resources. Addressing the constraints faced by women leads to better performing value chains, better agricultural production in general, and economic empowerment of women. The benefits of including women throughout the project should be specified, not only in the introduction of your proposal, but also in the strategy and monitoring. When dealing with companies, it can be useful to stress the economi... Read more
SaFal is Solidaridad’s food security programme in the southwest of Bangladesh, implemented together with local partners and the Dutch Embassy. So far, the partners have supported 57,000 families (women and men) to become successful entrepreneurs in dairy, vegetables or aqua fisheries. Altogether, 1,500 producer groups now deliver their products to 20 local companies.
‘We pay special attention to creating togetherness’, says Emma Feenstra from Solidaridad. ‘We empower women and bring men on board.’ Women have benefitted from equity interventions such as financial literacy training, and training to improve family health. Men and women have benefitted from mixed leadership training courses that increased their skills as entrepreneurs. In one of the ‘life stories’ collected by field staff, Jolly Mondol from a village called Jessore explains what such training courses mean for her community: ‘My mother and grandmot... Read more
AgDevCo recently published an interesting report on gender and how investors in agribusinesses can create impact in terms of women's empowerment:
The report summarises the business case for gender, gender considerations for investors and findings from AgDevCo's own experiences promoting gender equality amongst its investees. AgDevCo believes that promoting gender equality is not only fair but also presents a significant opportunity to enhance the commercial and social impact potential of its investments.
The company started to engage with the topic only a few years ago, by doing gender impact studies, developing a gender policy and (with support of Fair&Sustainable and AgriProFocus) a toolkit to help its staff integrate gender aspects in investment decisions, as well as training of most staff in gender. AgDevCo has come a long way and is now taking a leadership role as a gender inc... Read more