Twin engages with gender on four levels:

1) Household / community: Twin works with the GALS methodology to create spaces for reflection, analysis and commitment to action towards greater gender equity, in relation to asset ownership, decision-making, control over income and the distribution of work. Twin also offers training on community savings and credit and microfinance schemes, which further the progress achieved through GALS and support women's income generating activities. 

2) Producer organisation: Twin supports POs to hold conversations at all levels about gender equity, to identify priorities and develop strategies for change. These objectives and strategies are summarised in Gender Policies which are working documents that serve as a reference point in developing their strategic and operational plans. Twin works with POs to increase women’s participation as members and leaders. It helps to train key staff such as gender coordinators and encourages the recruitment of female staff into management and non-traditional roles.

Twin recognises that gender is a cross-cutting theme as well as a stand-alone area of focus:  

Gender and sustainable agriculture: Increasingly, Twin has been working with the concept of resilience incorporating elements of sustainable agriculture, climate change adaptation, gender equity and youth engagement. More widely, it works with POs to increase the number of women lead farmers and field officers, and to integrate GALS tools into Good Agricultural Practices training. 

Gender and governance: Aside of governance training for elected women and men leaders, Twin delivers tailored leadership training to women’s groups and to women with leadership potential, to encourage them to put themselves forward for board roles.

3) Market: Twin markets coffee grown by women, a differentiated product fully traceable to women farmers, which supports gender initiatives. In the case of Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union in Uganda, Twin helps to market ‘household’ coffee which has been produced by families working with the GALS approach.  

4) Advocacy: on the international stage, Twin advocates for women's rights and works with the food and drinks industry to highlight the vital role played by women in agriculture. This is through publishing reports, participating in international events and working actively with collaborators through partnerships and networks.

 Twin's approach to gender justice:

Gender justice icon
  • Social and economic empowerment
  • Equal, meaningful representation
  • Gender policies & differentiated products
   

Case study: Leonille's Story

Leonille is coffee farmer and member of the Kopakama cooperative in the Karongi district of Rwanda on the shores of Lake Kivu. She is 43 and married with seven children.

Background

Founded in 1998, Kopakama has 615 members, including 247 women. Traditionally, most land in Rwanda is owned by men and consequently women farmers have less say over household expenditure. Kopakama set up the Women’s Coffee initiative in 2009 to support widows of the Rwandan genocide. Today, the initiative also helps other women farmers access land and achieve greater economic independence.

Leonille’s story

Leonille’s husband was the household member of Kopakama and delivered the harvest to the cooperative each season. He controlled information on the price and had the greatest say on how the money was spent. Once Leonille became a member in her own right in 2007, she learned new skills, such as how to save and plan for the future.

Leonille says: “My husband had about 800 trees and I had just a few, 85 or so. Every year when we got paid for the cherries we would fight. I didn’t know how much money we got or how it got spent. I had no control over the income we earned. So, I decided to become a member myself, in my own right. With the income from my few trees I started saving a little and began to take a bit more control over the household finances. I was able to buy more for the household than my husband had and I started paying for school fees. Now I have 325 trees, registered in my own name. I have increased my production. Things are much better now and I am now in full control of the household finances – I manage everything. Having control over the income is a big improvement for me.”