3. Promote Experiential Learning

Experiential learning programs offer promising avenues for rural women and girls to build confidence in their agricultural and agribusiness skills by witnessing the fruits of their labor. In Uganda, Chemonics-implemented experiential training sessions in entrepreneurship, leadership, and financial management encourage girls to deploy innovative solutions to practical challenges that local agribusinesses face. There, a partner of the Feed the Future Uganda Youth Leadership for Agriculture Activity, KadAfrica, offers a training curriculum where 365 young, mainly out-of-school girls, cultivate and handle passion fruit, conduct cost-benefit analyses of agricultural enterprises, and receive start-up training kits.

To ensure that training curricula remain relevant and sustainable, it is critical to co-design and co-implement experiential learning programs with local private and public sector stakeholders. USAID’s Punjab Enabling Environment Project partnered with the Barani Agriculturale Research Institute (BARI) of Chakwal to roll out experiential training sessions for olive farmers with small land-holdings, including 142 women. In addition to BARI, the program engaged an extensive network of olive processors and producers to carry out training workshops that addressed real issues faced by the sector. Applying best practices from the training, agripreneur Sarah Babar recently established the first and only olive nursery registered by a woman in Punjab (pictured in the banner image above). Now, Sarah serves as an inspiration to other women in her community who hope to challenge sociocultural barriers and pursue bold risks.

As allies in agripreneurship, the development community needs to intentionally and directly address gender norms in the design and implementation of entrepreneurship promotion programs. Doing so has proven benefits for project outcomes. From the concept and design phase, we must see and treat women as equal partners in the global food system’s sustainable development. Enabling rural women and girls to access networks throughout the agricultural market system — with devoted mentors and hands-on learning experiences — cultivates opportunities to bring their leadership and innovation power to fruition.

Posts on the blog represent the views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Chemonics.