More equality on the land

English1. October 2015

An agreement on strengthening entrepreneurship and learning for female farmers in Uganda was recently signed by the Kavli Trust with Norway’s Forum for Women and Development (Fokus).

Neil Palmer:CIATThis collaboration focuses on helping 660 women to export agricultural products from the east African country to its regional neighbours.

Together several partners, Fokus has developed a programme covering various aspects of economic rights and participation for female farmers in the Luwero district of central Uganda.

“In our work, we see all too often that women are hampered by a lack of information and financial instruments,” says Gro Lindstad, executive director of Fokus. “This programme seeks to give them the opportunities which men already have.”

Resource centres

Laura Elizabeth PohlThe Kavli Trust is supporting the creation of resource centres for female exporters by the Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (Eassi).

This body, which can draw on good existing contacts in the transport sector, works with women’s groups and sets up cooperatives able to benefit from joint production and marketing.

Eassi will use the new centres to provide training in rules and standards for exporting to Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, which all belong to the East African Community Common Market.

According to Fokus, the main problem for many women in Uganda who want to sell and export is that they are illiterate and unfamiliar with their opportunities and rights.

“We want to help women to move up from the micro-level and into the markets which have so far been dominated by men,” explains Lindstad.

“The World Bank has documented that giving women workers equal opportunities with men would boost the gross domestic product (GDP) of a developing country by 25 per cent.

“This programme gives some women the chance to contribute, while earning an income at the same time which boosts the whole family.”

Entrepreneurs

General manager Inger Elise Iversen at the Kavli Trust is convinced that this project will mean a great deal for female entrepreneurs in Uganda.

“Given that women devote 90 per cent of their income to their families, supporting 660 of them could have big spin-offs for the next generation,” she says.

“I’m thinking particularly of the opportunities for girls to get an education and to become financially independent.”

Read more: www.fokuskvinner.no (in Norwegian)

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