Browse by Theme: Markets

This week CARE launches its newest paper on women’s economic empowerment in fragile settings and I’ll be laying out the key points in a presentation online and in person (Thursday 8 December, 12-2pm). Here is a preview of what I’ll be saying.

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Functioning market systems and a responsible and responsive private sector are critical to livelihoods, autonomy and well-being. However they are both heavily impacted by crisis, including war.

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Looking at the endline data for Pathways Malawi might be disheartening if you didn’t know the whole story. Production numbers for women farmers showed no statistically significant increase. Does that mean we failed? No. Other farmers in the same district saw their production drop by up to 50%. Staying constant is actually a huge win.

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Growing Together, a new report launched on 29 September by CARE, SABMiller, the Harvard Kennedy Corporate Responsibility Initiative and Business Fights Poverty, sets out why businesses should take a much more proactive and collaborative approach to supporting the micro-enterprises in their value chains, and provides practical support to doing so.

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The current UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment is highlighting the major attention being paid by governments, the development community and others to the importance of women’s economic empowerment to tackling poverty and ensuring women achieve the target of gender equality which the world has agreed to as Sustainable Development Goal 5.

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Two recent CARE workshops have helped frame for me the resilience discussion that has come to dominate development discourse over the last five years. In fragile contexts, can we afford to be ambitious with our programming goals to encompass both gender transformative action and crisis adaptation? And more to the point, can we afford not to?

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Last month I visited Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, to interview farmers and livestock traders faced with the drought effects of one of the most devastating El Niños in 50 years. What are their coping strategies in the face of extreme weather patterns? How are those strategies linked to national and international market systems? And how, through these systems, can we bring about a better deal for those in the supply chain typically made more vulnerable by drought – namely, women?

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