Twin has worked with The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands (KIT) to produce a report that looks at the gender inequalities in the cocoa and coffee sectors along with their underlying causes.

Changing the terms of womens engagement in cocoa and coffee coverThe report, Changing the terms of women's engagement in cocoa and coffee supply chains, shows how inequalities can be addressed systematically and features case studies that focus on: women’s participation and leadership in producer organisations, women’s access to land, the household approach and innovations in extensions services.

Following a conference in 2016 at FAO, which brought together a range of actors in coffee and cocoa value chains to share experience of gender initiatives, a need was identified for more in-depth sharing and documentation of approaches. Responding to this interest, in May 2017, FAO, KIT and Twin participated in a workshop led by KIT promoting inclusive and gender sensitive producer organisations in coffee and cocoa supply chains. Representatives came together from three producer organisations: Mzuzu Coffee Planters’ Cooperative Union in Malawi, CAC Pangoa in Peru and Kookoo-Paa in Ghana. They were joined by Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, Mondelēz International, Nespresso and Sustainable Management Services, Kenya.

The group shared their experiences of investing in gender sensitive policies and activities. It was the first time Twin had participated in an event that brought such a diverse group of people together from both coffee and cocoa supply chains. It very useful to create a time and space for a group that wouldn’t ordinarily meet to share ideas. One of the core outcomes of the event, was a clear interest in highlighting good practice – which created the foundations for the report.

The discussions at the event led to Twin and two producer partners, Pangoa and Mzuzu, contributing case studies to the report:

Integrating gender equity from the start – looking at cocoa producers in the Gola Rainforest in Sierra Leone. Gender sensitivity in cocoa value chains has been a consistent feature of Twin’s approach. In Sierra Leone, we have been working in collaboration with the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB) to establish a new producer organisation – the Ngoleagorbu Cocoa Producer Organization. This has given us a unique opportunity to mainstream gender equality from the outset of the organisation’s development and operation.

Women’s inclusion through training and microfinance – looking at the benefits of financially supporting women coffee farmers in Peru. Pangoa started to work on women’s empowerment in1997 and in 1999, established the Committee for Women’s Development (COMEMU). Since its inception, the committee has provided a space in the cooperative for capacity building of women farmers and their integration into the organisation. CODEMU initially focused on microfinance schemes and women in leadership positions. Today, it supports women farmers, including the wives of male members of CAC Pangoa, to improve family nutrition and promote gender justice through training.

Campaigning for women’s access to productive resources – looking at promoting women’s ownership of coffee farms in Malawi. Following Twin’s experience of marketing coffee grown by women, Mzuzu carried out an internal campaign to encourage men to share land with their wives, working closely with men who were interested in trying. Mzuzu also promotes women’s ownership of coffee farms by advocating for sole ownership and user rights for widows, and co-ownership for married women.

The workshop and reported uncovered a series of steps to take in the future that would benefit everyone involved. These include:

  • Networking and advocacy – collective campaigning and continuing conversation in the sector
  • Exchanging and disseminating knowledge – critical to support efforts to take successful gender initiatives to scale and mainstream the conversation
  • Capacity building – learning between cooperatives, gender champions and women producers.

In general, participants mentioned the need for a more holistic approach to gender equality that considers women’s specific constraints and stressed the importance of a continued discussion.

You can download and read the full report here.