IDH for Gender

Since the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, Human Rights Day, IDH is proud to be joining this year’s global 16 Days of Activism campaign, calling for action to raise awareness of and prevent violence against women.

Together with our partners we are voicing on our social media channels why we believe a gender lens should be applied to the value chains we work in. Across all IDH projects, we are committed to empowering women and it is our strong belief that addressing gender is crucial to creating sustainable value chains.

In support of the 16 days, we would like to share some highlights of our gender-focused projects where we are shaping business practices to address gender based violence and promote female leadership.

The IDH Gender Tool

We are proud to pilot a comprehensive Gender Tool to further explore and understand gender dynamics in our work to improve the lives of smallholder farmers.

With support from IDH Farmfit Intelligence, we have worked with Dalberg Advisors to design this Gender Tool that can be used by our teams and service providers to conduct an in-house gender analysis at different touchpoints. We are currently testing this Tool as an integrated analysis as part of IDH Farmfit Business Support.

From capturing richer data during market assessment to better understanding each service provider’s intentions, the Gender Tool helps us identify opportunities to address gender gaps as well as highlight potential interventions and track gender outcomes.

Financial Inclusion for Workers: Including a Gender Lens

We are also pleased to release a new brief on the importance of integrating a gender lens into financial inclusion programs. To help address the issues of financial inclusion and household decision-making, we have published together with BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) HERproject ‘Financial Inclusion for Workers: Including a Gender Lens‘. With this we aim to shed a light on the importance of integrating a gender lens into financial inclusion programs and to provide practical recommendations on how to do so. 

Further gender transformation achievements in 2018 

Over 2018, throughout IDH, we have optimized our standard operating procedures to integrate gender in all project-related documentation and procedures, from project templates to result measurements. Gender awareness sessions are held with our program teams and we have published a gender database with documents related to integrating gender in all our programs. Through this, we are able to address gender considerations better in our field-level projects with workers and smallholder farmers.

In our Flowers program, we are directly engaged with a gender transformative strategy on empowering women. Our field project has seen 20.000 workers and 800 gender committee members of 42 farms trained on gender related topics. By documenting the outcomes of this intervention and creating awareness in the other sectors, we stimulate private companies to promote gender equality, leading to increased worker satisfaction, better working conditions and improved production.

In our Tea, Flowers, and Cotton programs we see that farmers, workers, community members and field facilitators have been sensitized on gender. A gender equality, sexual harassment and discrimination policy has been launched and rolled out across the Malawian tea industry. Additionally, Village Savings and Loan activities have proven to empower female smallholder farmers to gain access to finance and provide both input for loans as an opportunity for investment in tea in Malawi and in cocoa in Cote d’Ivoire.

In tea, we are using financial literacy as an entry point to open the discussion around gender dynamics as well as more sensitive issues like gender based violence (GBV). We will continue to address these issues in the Kenyan tea sector through the Gender Empowerment Platform, and aim to work with our partners towards the establishment of a safe spaces for survivors of GBV from tea plantations and the surrounding communities.

In cotton, we continue to sharpen our understanding of the local realities through a gender analysis in Mozambique. More broadly, in India around 2000 field facilitators who provide extension service to over 1 million cotton, spice and grape farmers, have been trained on gender concepts, integrating gender into field level implementation, gender (and power) dynamics and how to conduct a gender analysis.  We have also up-scaled our Race to the Top program in apparel, are developing an app as an e-training tool for workers, in which gender issues are to be included.

Looking ahead 

Gender will continue to be a key impact theme for IDH in 2019. As well as continuing to integrate gender in our supply chain approach, we are committed to further developing ourselves to address gender issues and demonstrate how gender-smart business practices drive impact. To this end we are developing a list of key indicators to keep track and monitor changes over time. These indicators are recommended by companies working on promoting gender equality and will help to communicate the efforts made and results reached in this area.

We look forward to sharing the results of our Gender Tool, gender transformative interventions and propositions for gender lens investing in the new year.