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Very poor women face unique challenges in their climb out of poverty, given that socio-cultural and gender systems/norms can significantly impact their economic circumstances and opportunities. Moderated by USAID's Jeanne Downing, this webinar featured project experience of CARE and ACDI/VOCA. Emily Hillenbrand of CARE will share how the Pathways Program draws from a push/pull framework in its work to reduce poverty and empower over 52,000 poor women smallholder farmers and their households in six countries (Mali, Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi, Bangladesh and India). The project is guided by a theory of change focused on five change levers: increased capacity and skills of women smallholders; expanded access to services, assets, and inputs; increased productivity; greater influence over household decisions; and a more enabling environment for gender equity, both within communities and in extension and market systems.
Emily was be joined by Lindsey Jones of ACDI/VOCA. Using case studies from the Sunhara India programs, Lindsey talked about how market systems projects can leverage the collective action of a traditionally marginalized group as part of its push/pull approach to overcoming poverty and gender inequality. Collective action can be a necessary element for push and pull strategies to interact effectively by enabling groups that have been traditionally excluded from markets , in this case, rural women - to have the confidence, mobility, motivation and community support to take advantage of inclusive market opportunities facilitated by pull strategies. The Sunhara India programs were funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wal-Mart Foundation to empower nearly 10,000 rural women by connecting them to markets, resources and networks.
This was an exciting LEO project-sponsored webinar, hosted by SEEP's Market Facilitation Initiative (MaFI) and the Strengthening the Economic Potential of the Ultra Poor (STEP UP) Working Group.
Emily Hillenbrand - Technical Advisor for Gender and Livelihoods, CARE USA
Lindsey Jones - Director of Gender Mainstreaming and Women's Empowerment, ACDI/VOCA
Lindsey manages strategic gender equity initiatives, including the adoption and implementation of ACDI/VOCA's policy for promoting gender equity, trainings, workshops, gender analyses and assessments for international economic and community development programs funded by agencies and foundations including USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Bank. Her experience includes work in Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Tajikistan, India, Philippines, East Timor, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Paraguay. Lindsey shares updates and insights on global women's empowerment issues via Twitter at @LindseyJonesR.
Jeanne Downing - Senior Enterprise Development Advisor, USAID Office of Microenterprise and Private Enterprise Promotion (MPEP)
Jeanne Downing is the Senior Enterprise Development Advisor in USAID's Office of Microenterprise and Private Enterprise Promotion (MPEP). For ten years, Dr. Downing was in charge of the AMAP research effort that developed a systems approach to value chain development, codified "good practices" based on rigorous evaluations and evidence, and designed an approach to evaluating market systems that is produced credible evidence relevant to the field. She has worked on enterprise development over the last 25 years, concentrating primarily on value chains/market systems, business development services, and evaluation in 20 countries in Africa, much of the Caribbean, and a handful of countries in Latin America and Asia.