Browse by Theme: Value Chains

This report on a CARE workshop on our work on resilient market systems in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region provides key discussion points as well as CARE’s emerging thinking as a result of the workshop.

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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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Megan Gaventa writes: As I took part in CARE’s recent roundtable discussion, ‘Invisible Women in Global Value Chains: A Missed Opportunity?’, I couldn’t help but feel that the event was timely. Not just because it was part of CARE’s 70th anniversary celebrations. The excitement surrounding the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals – and their standalone goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment – was still fresh in the mind. Recent weeks had also brought the under-representation of women in business, politics and other spheres into the spotlight, as Elle’s photoshopped images of world leaders reminded us how far there is to go.

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Poor people are producers, workers, entrepreneurs and consumers – yet they are the most disadvantaged in market systems. Why do so many people remain at the bottom of the pyramid, unable to participate equitably in markets and improve their livelihoods? What are the barriers to their progress? How can market actors – donors, private sector partners, governments and NGOs – work together to enable more people to participate in value chains?

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The private sector is a main actor involved in women’s economic empowerment in rural value chains: large traders, retailers or manufacturers often hold the keys to improving women’s access to extension services, financial services, input provision, market information and technology. They also have the negotiating power to help put gender equality on the agenda of producers’ associations and cooperatives.

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How can we make sure that in a developing country that is economically and socially dependent on a single commodity, this becomes a development driver rather than a curse?

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