SHE FEEDS THE WORLD: Celebrating International Women’s Day

Women members of a cassava processing and aggregation center in Kenya.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we affirm our commitment to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive world where women are celebrated and valued. Collectively, we can all #EmbraceEquity and advance women’s rights, together.

Women hold the key to building a world free from hunger and poverty. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), if women are given the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.

At Bountifield, we embrace the power of women as leaders in the fight against hunger with our “She Feeds Africa” program. This initiative supported by Zinpro Corporation and Anderson Foundation works to advance women’s economic empowerment in the field of agriculture Kenya. Through the program, we are providing emerging women entrepreneurs with access to small-scale mechanized tools, technical training, and business support for their agribusinesses to process nutritious crops for their communities. This key strategy contributes to the greater global efforts as outlined by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 2 ‘Zero Hunger’ and SDG 5 ‘Gender Equality.’

“We truly believe that women are not only a key to addressing food security around the world, but that they also have the potential to be strong agricultural leaders in their own communities,” explains Bountifield CEO, Alexandra Spieldoch. “Women use their time and resources to reinvest in their agribusinesses and their families. Empowering women is empowering entire regions, with potential to have reverberating impacts around the world.”

Jennifer, a Bountifield entrepreneur, poses in her shop.

Jennifer Shines in Maize Shelling

Jennifer is an entrepreneur and owner of a small agribusiness called Tojeni Agrodealers in Eastern Kenya. As part of our work with women entrepreneurs, Jennifer acquired a maize sheller to provide farmers in her community with shelling services. As a result, she has been able to increase her revenue and farmers have been able to save time and money at the time of postharvest. Jennifer and farmers in the community where she works have experienced challenges due to extreme drought that have resulted in smaller yields. She is working with farmers to reduce postharvest loss and stabilize food intake at this critical time. Through our She Feeds Africa program, we are providing Jennifer with digital marketing support to brand her business and to connect digitally with a wider demographic of potential customers in their areas. Thanks to our support, Jennifer is reaching more people.

“I am thrilled by social media marketing (Facebook). You just post and boost and then you get so many serious customers whom you have never met. It has simplified my marketing activities and helped me sell my products to customers who were outside my reach.”

Jennifer with the maize sheller.

As the new season approaches, Jennifer has been able to get some vital practice and use out of her newly acquired digital marketing skills that will greatly benefit her as she promotes her shelling business.

Creating Opportunities for African Women in Agribusiness

Technology combined with skills building and business development programs are crucial to the Bountifield model. Entrepreneurs in our network have not only expanded awareness of their postharvest processing services, but they have also been able to maximize the opportunity to promote other aspects of their agribusinesses. They have increased sales of products such as animal feed, crop protection products, seeds, and other inputs. Jennifer is just one example of an entrepreneur that has seen positive results in her business growth.

At Bountifield, we understand that women are the center of a sustainable future. That is why we are focused on helping women like Jennifer to realize their potential. International Women’s Day reminds us that for societies to thrive, benefits must be shared by everyone–no matter their gender, ethnicity, religion, age, or income level. It is time for ALL of us to #EmbraceEquity. What will you do to progress gender equity this year?