This year’s theme for the International Day of Rural Women focuses on “Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All” and highlights the role of women in agriculture and the barriers they face.
Women in agriculture face compounding layers of exclusion including a lack of land ownership rights, of access to extension services, and of access to financial capital. In addition to having less access to more lucrative agricultural ventures, women are also more likely to be susceptible to impacts from crises. Droughts disproportionately affect women as the burden of water gathering lies on their shoulders. Women from Sub-Saharan Africa spend almost 40 billion hours a year collecting water. And, a crisis like COVID, places the care burden on women and exacerbates issues like the gender pay gap and food insecurity.
Strengthening Women in the East African Tea Sector
WE4F Innovator Kazi Yetu aims to build local value chains in Tanzania and support women in agriculture and processing. They promote the advancement of women and gender equality by paying premium prices to the women farmers that supply them and by working with them to expand their operations through technical investments. Kazi Yetu also encourages women in production and 22 of their current 26 employees are women. They work with these employees to train them for leadership positions and increase their confidence in the workplace.
There are many challenges in the promotion of women in the agricultural sector, but there are also many innovative approaches and solutions. Innovators such as Kazi Yetu prove that overcoming these challenges and enabling a supportive environment for rural women is possible!
Kazi Yetu’s impact through WE4F so far
In addition to Kazi Yetu, WE4F is supporting more and more women-led enterprises and enterprises focusing on women as customers and end-users in Asia and Africa. Empowering women in businesses and in agricultural value chains in rural areas is essential to the program.