Women living in cocoa growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire are disproportionately excluded from participating in cooperatives or benefiting from them. To address this gender inequality, a gender lens was applied to Rabo Partnership and Barry Callebaut’s ‘Empowering the Middle Program’. Specific entry points and activities were designed to promote women’s inclusion and elevate their status in cooperatives, and enhance their benefit from cooperatives, including through gender sensitive financial service provision to cooperative members.
Barry Callebaut and Rabo Partnerships combined their expertise to develop the programme ‘Empowering the Middle’. This programme aims to transform the existing cacao cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire into business like models, with a particular focus on supporting formal financial inclusion among other priorities.
In 2021, we began a collaboration with Rabo Partnerships to integrate a gender lens into the Empowering the Middle programme, with the goal of promoting women’s inclusion and benefit from participation in select cooperatives.
In December 2021, a “High Level Gender Strategy” was finalised with Rabo Partnerships. The strategy guides Rabo Partnerships and Barry Callebaut on steps for integrating a gender lens into select aspects of the programme and provides guidance including the entry points and activities for empowering women in cooperatives, and an implementation roadmap.
- Gender capacity training to Rabo Partnerships teams
- Rapid gender analysis conducted to understand gender relations in select cocoa communities in Cote d’Ivoire
- Strategy workshop with Rabo Partnerships
- High level gender strategy developed for integrating a gender lens into the ‘Empowering the Middle Program’