GROW Learning Series / GROW Plan D'apprentissage
MEDA is pleased to share lessons learned from our Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project through the GROW Learning Series (Available in French). In seven years of implementation, the GROW project learned a great deal about women’s economic empowerment and food security in northern Ghana.
From 2012 to 2018, MEDA implemented the Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project in the Upper West Region of Ghana. GROW’s goal was to improve food security for 20,000 women farmers and their families in the Upper West Region of Ghana. Project activities included helping women improve the availability, access to and utilization of appropriate and nutritious food by strengthening production, processing and linkages to markets.
Why invest in women?
In many countries around the world, women are not seen as farmers or business people in their own right; rather, they are viewed as 'helpers' in their husband's farm operations or enterprises. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), more than 90% of farms around the world are run by an individual or family and rely primarily on family labour. Women and youth comprise the majority of this labour.
Although women are frequent drivers of economic and social change, they often lack access to resources, training, investment and networks. Exclusion from financial services, weak connections to private sector actors, and socio-cultural restrictions such as mobility and networking can seriously impact a woman's ability to succeed.
In order for people around the world to leave poverty, women need improved access to information, training and services in order to participate more effectively in market systems. MEDA links women to appropriate financial and business services and higher value markets, enabling them to produce and sell their products and services to domestic and international buyers.
Key highlights from the GROW Learning Series include:
- Promoting women into leadership roles, such as Lead Farmers who train others in good agricultural practices
- Adapting service provision, such as offering business training for women with mobility restrictions
- Connecting farmers and producers to gender-inclusive intermediaries, such as Women Sales Agents
- Linking producers and businesses to financial services, from savings groups to impact investments
When farmers and business people, especially women, receive training and investment, they can improve and expand their product offerings and grow their income. This can lead to better livelihoods for families and communities.