Through IGNITE, Tanager, along with partners Laterite and 60 Decibels, is seeking to shine a spotlight on gender and its relationship to nutrition. The initiative — funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — aims to strengthen the ability of African institutions to integrate nutrition and gender into business methods and agriculture interventions.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the vulnerability of smallholder farmers to unexpected crises. The crisis disproportionately impacted women, leading to negative consequences on household gender and nutrition outcomes. The pandemic exposed agricultural institutions to risks that impacted day-to-day operations and long-term impact, forcing institutions to adapt to the difficult environment on the ground.
Africa’s agriculture sector faces long-standing obstacles and opportunities. Many challenges — related to climate change and drought; pests and disease, such as the recent locust infestation in East Africa; gender gaps in access to land, as well as agricultural inputs and extension; and trade — affect farm productivity and nutrition security in intersecting and overlapping ways.
Tanager, ACDI/VOCA, and AV Ventures share a mission to improve economic and social conditions for vulnerable populations around the world. Although our organizations have different structures and approaches, collaboration and support for each other is vital for creating a positive impact for project participants and funders. The story of the newly formed Tanzanian NGO NAFAKA Kilimo is a wonderful example of how our organizations can contribute to sector-wide impact through collaboration.
The IGNITE mechanism is a five-year investment implemented by Tanager, Laterite, and 60_Decibels to strengthen the ability of African agricultural institutions to integrate nutrition and gender into their interventions. As part of the work, IGNITE has developed a diagnostic tool to identify areas where institutions can work to institutionalize gender and nutrition, and assess the progress of an institution towards the goals of gender and nutrition mainstreaming.
For at least the last 15 years, the international development community has increasingly prioritized improving social and economic outcomes for women. As Tanager’s team prepares to participate in AGRF 2020 – “the world’s premier forum for African agriculture, bringing together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African agriculture forward”, I am especially interested in how the international community can leverage this increased focus to improve women’s access to finance.
“Previously, it was unimaginable for a woman to think that, like a man, she could raise poultry to sell for income. But today, things are changing,” says Bibata Traoré, from the village of Ouahabou in Burkina Faso. At the age of 44, this mother of five worked selling flour and ground peanuts to help her husband cover health care and education costs for their children. Now, thanks to her hard work and Tanager’s expertise, she has overcome a disability to become an entrepreneur.
Tanager experts Garima Joshi and Joseph Boulier examine the challenges faced by women farmers in India and explain how Tanager’s co-created projects work to address these challenges.