Empowering women in the cashew value chain
The traditional division of labor leaves high burdens on women in agriculture, care and household work. Due to these multiple responsibilities and low literacy rates – 50% in rural Ghana – women only constitute 8.6% of wage employment and work mostly in the lower echelons. However, women’s roles in agriculture are increasingly getting more important and due to male migration, early death, separation and divorce there is a steady rise of female-headed households.
The African Cashew Initiative (ACi) invests in women’s empowerment not only to achieve greater gender equality but also to strengthen the competitiveness of the African cashew value chain by realizing women’s potentials and capabilities. ACi mainstreams gender within all activities, such as by providing training for farmers and support for cashew processing factories which create new jobs. Trainings that particularly target women have been held on beekeeping and nursery management. To complement the empowerment initiatives, ACi has launched a gender capacity building and sensitization program reaching out to project staff, processing managers, trainers and male household heads.
Creating new and much needed employment opportunities in remote areas gives deprived women their own income source and a stronger voice in household decision-making. This alleviates poverty and enhances the development of future generations since women tend to spend their income more on their family’s food and children’s education. It also transforms the lives of these women who realize their talents and skills and gain a higher level of self-esteem.