In developing countries, women hold the key to improving the quality of life and increasing the food security of rural families; to empower them, we focus on five building blocks.
Fintrac provides gender-sensitive training at times and places that are convenient for women to ensure they receive equal access to the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in agriculture. Trainings focus on areas in which women participate most, while also introducing new topics such as farm management basic business skills, accounting, finance, and investment to help farms transition into more value-added, profit-generating businesses. We tailor our trainings to meet specific needs of women in various contexts. For example, in Honduras we discovered women were most interested in value addition activities, so we targeted women for those activities and tripled our original target of female participants.
Women juggle a multitude of daily household and caretaking tasks. Introducing labor-saving agricultural practices such as irrigation systems, mulching, and improved planting material helps save women time and energy. Women often spend a disproportionate amount of time collecting and carrying water to and from the fields; basic irrigation systems free women’s time for other activities. In Cambodia, for example, we helped more than 61,000 women adopt new water management activities, saving them time to be spent on other income-generating activities.
Fintrac helps women access the inputs, infrastructure, and training they need to increase income-generating opportunities. We form strategic partnerships with suppliers, agrodealers, and rural village banks to expand the availability of inputs in remote areas. We facilitate access to credit and finance, which is often a key barrier to women’s participation in the agricultural sector, by specifically targeting female borrowers through specially-designed loan facilities. We supplement these activities through financial trainings in budgeting, savings, building credit, and business planning.
Beyond promoting high-value, commercially-oriented crops, Fintrac focuses clients on value-added products that create jobs for women in packing, grading, product selection, and quality control. We also help improve procedures and product diversification at processing plants to increase quality and output, expanding job opportunities and income potential for women. We focus on female farmers and entrepreneurs and women’s groups, helping provide them with the marketing, processing, financial, and business skills training needed to increase and control their income.
Women are sometimes unable to influence the decisions that directly affect farm yields and household income. Fintrac promotes agriculture as a family business, giving women the ability and autonomy to make decisions. We train women in leadership skills, negotiation, and group formation. We help them form and strengthen women’s groups and associations, and advocate for policies that promote gender equality in the countries where we work.
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