Writing a book with a large group of people, from all over the world, that is what we did during the writeshop on ‘gender and value chains’, which took place in November in Nairobi. During 10 days 25 case holders, 8 resource persons, 3 editors, 2 cartoonists and 2 support staff were intensively involved in writing, writing again and rewriting ….. ‘stories’, ‘cases’, ‘tools’ and ‘profiles’ related to their experiences in gender sensitive value chain development. All this will be combined in a readable, practical and strategic publication on gender in value chains.
The workshop was organized by IIRR and the Dutch Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) together with Agri-ProFocus, the Dutch umbrella organisation of organisations aiming at enhancing the capacity of producer organisations in developing farmer entrepreneurship, and particiluarly the APF learning network on gender in value chains. Angelica Senders from FSAS (Fair and Sustainable Advisory Services) represented ICCO in the writeshop. She was one of the co-organizers and resource person on value chain development.
Participants were selected from the 104 caseholders, who submitted abstracts after the Call for Cases on the internet-based platform (the Ning) of the gender in value chain learning network. They came from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Phillipines; from Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia. Others came from Bolivia, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, or from Europe, e.g from the UK, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. And don’t forget the USA and Canada. So enough opportunity for debate, learning and some confusion every now and then.
The participants worked in groups, each covering a section of the book to elaborate specific strategies based on real life experiences. For instance Angelica, Mieke, Innocent, Emma and Gizachew worked on the section called “Creating space for women in male dominated chains”. How to do that? One of the cases is about a milk value chain in Nicaragua and on how the simple exercise of making tasks and responsibilities of women visible emphasized the importance of this work for the quality of the produce, which resulted in making the chain more competitive and women taking up leadership positions. Two honey cases in Rwanda and Ethiopia show that women can take up new roles in beekeeping after the introduction of modern beehives replacing traditional beehives, situated in trees and thus not convenient for women. New technologies have now provided new and profitable markets for women and for their families. Emma’s case is about the successful business formulae of the Ricomida restaurants in Cochabamba, Bolivia all owned and managed by individual women and with a common branding: a green décor, the same posters and pictures, and the same staff uniforms. They serve cheap, nutritious food, prepared and served hygienically.
More information on the Ning of the gender in value chain learning network.