More than sixty women and women’s groups involved in agricultural processing in the most impoverished areas of Tanzania will receive commercial and technology training to boost their productivity and profitability. The project, delivered through Energy 4 Impact and UN Women, is part of the Kigoma Joint Programme, a UN initiative that aims to improve development and human security in the region.
Kigoma is one of the poorest regions of Tanzania. Women are often involved in informal small-scale agricultural and food processing activities. However, lack of access to markets and credit, coupled with little education and low financial literacy, make it difficult for them to realise their full entrepreneurial potential. The women’s economic empowerment programme aims to ramp up incomes, create jobs and food security, and build sustainable markets by forging strategic partnerships between the women entrepreneurs and equipment suppliers, banks, distributors and consumers.
Energy 4 Impact analysed the rural social and economic data of the region and identified the value-chains in which women play a key role, such as cassava, maize and millet milling, palm oil extraction and honey processing. The organisation then worked with the women entrepreneurs on ways to add value to their production processes and outputs, and improve the quality of their services and their position in the local markets.
“We look to help the women with business, financial and technology skills, and guide them through registration and formalisation processes. This support helps them build their savings and credit capacity to invest in electrical appliances such as grain mills, de-huskers, oil extraction machinery, solar powered fridges, dryers and ovens.”
– explains Godfrey Sanga, Energy 4 Impact’s Tanzania Head of Programmes and Operations.
“We have planned a series of training, market facilitation and awareness raising events engaging all the players along the value-chain, from women entrepreneurs and groups, district officials, local financial institutions and equipment suppliers. These are crucial for building and consolidating sustainable markets.”
– Godfrey says.
The Programme Specialist on Women’s Economic Empowerment at UN Women Tanzania, Ms Mehjabeen Alarakhia, is excited by the project’s potential:
“Economic empowerment can play a critical role in improving women’s livelihoods and quality of life of their families and communities. We believe that through the prosperity it can bring, this project can contribute to our goal of increasing women’s economic autonomy and contributing to the nation’s economic growth.”