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Friday, July 7, 2017

TechnoServe and the Kellogg Company sowing seeds of women's empowerment in India.

TechnoServe and the Kellogg Company sowing seeds of women's empowerment in India. TechnoServe and the Kellogg Company are working with women in Madhya Pradesh to grow nutritious food for their families using climate-smart agriculture. As a child, Rachna Sharma dreamed of becoming a teacher just like several male members of her family. However, she never expected to make this dream a reality, as girls were not allowed to work in her family. Little did she know that she would become a mentor to 300 local women, helping them to increase their families’ nutrition and establish their roles in family and agricultural decision-making. Rachna’s dream of becoming a teacher came to fruition through TechnoServe’s collaboration with the Kellogg Company, which seeks to improve the livelihoods of over 12,000 smallholder farmers in India through the promotion of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) techniques led by TechnoServe. This work supports Kellogg’s Global Sustainability Commitments to support a half million farmers by 2025, focusing on CSA to improve livelihoods. As research and TechnoServe’s past experience demonstrates, investing in opportunities for women leads to additional benefits at the household level and beyond; thus the initiative prioritizes the inclusion of women. In addition to training women farmers on CSA, TechnoServe and Kellogg identified an opportunity to increase the role women play in the farm economy while simultaneously enhancing the nutritional intake of participating households by training women in organic kitchen gardening. The project helps women to establish backyard gardens using organic inputs and farming practices for four nutritionally diverse crops at a time. With fresh produce at hand in the garden, women gain better quality vegetables without spending at market, saving travel time and money while diversifying their families’ access to essential nutrients. However, while many women were willing to implement gardens, finding local women to lead the training sessions was a challenge. In a region where women have not historically worked, there were no female volunteers, and women were not comfortable learning from a male technician. In order to initiate a cycle of change, TechnoServe’s village volunteer, Ratiram, went from household to household, searching for a woman like Rachna to hire as the project’s first local resource person (LRP). When Rachna expressed interest at the opportunity to become a female educator – and teaching other women, no less – the TechnoServe team supported her in reaching an agreement with her father. more