Small businesses can go a long way in empowering not only women, but all members of the community through providing jobs and opportunities for franchises. The bee farming sector in Africa has been one of many prime examples on how small businesses can empower women.

In Ethiopia, bee farming is still largely traditional; however, modernizing the sector has had a positive influence in attracting women to the area. Women have also been encouraged to join the sector through assistance in accessing funding and land for their business ventures. Their main source of income has come from selling products, like honey, locally at markets, which accounts for approximately 90% of all sales.

In Kenya, the bee farming sector has attracted approximately 50% of women. This can be attributed to a high demand of bee products from the East African nation and affordable access into the sector- farmers don’t need large capital or land to enter into bee farming.

Poultry farming is also a big sector that’s providing opportunities for empowerment through job creation for women. One of the prime businesses making strides in poultry farming is AKM Glitter Company, formed by businesswoman and head of African Women in Agribusiness chapter in Tanzania, a Graça Machel Trust initiative, Elizabeth Swai.

AKM Glitter Company specializes in poultry farming and has a number of hatcheries that provide day-old chicks and fresh eggs to market. Through her business, Swai has created a network of more than 100 farmer groups. In these groups, she provides training and support so that farmers are equipped to start rearing their own chickens. In return, she buys eggs from these farmers and sells them at markets. Many businesses have grown as a result of this collaboration, empowering business owners to sell their own produce.

Explaining the motivation behind her work, Swai says in an interview with Mail & Guardian that “This is my passion and a huge part of my life. I wanted to develop a model that could have a positive effect on Africa, and to empower our youth”.

Making a sustainable difference in the lives of rural communities has been one of her biggest motivators. “Their household health and their education is improved through our work, and some of the profits are being used to help develop rural areas so children have clean water, classrooms, toilets, and access to basic facilities,” she added.

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Author : Lebogang Matshego

Publish date : 2017-10-12 16:36:24

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