Microfinance institutions are vital for the agricultural sector in Burkina Faso and have a desire to improve their approaches to gender and nutrition in their work. #IGNITEforChange, Tanager’s project in partnership with Laterite and 60decibels, is working to do just that. In this video, Sokhna Gaye discusses the vital work her and the team are doing with a local microfinance institution to mainstream gender and nutrition.
IGNITE has also forged partnerships with four Local Service Providers – Fair & Sustainable in Ethiopia, Nafaka Kilimo in Tanzania, PanAfricare in Burkina Faso, and Centre for Gender Economics in Nigeria to scale IGNITE’s approach. In early March, IGNITE hosted 12 staff members representing the technical experts from the four LSPs.
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.