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With equipher, tech Herfrica rolls out initiative for women in underserved communities

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
27 May 2023   |   2:56 am
In 2021, the agricultural sector in Nigeria generated about 24 per cent of the country’s GDP, and, in recent times, there has been a desire for the nation to stimulate its non-oil sector to foster improved economic development.

In 2021, the agricultural sector in Nigeria generated about 24 per cent of the country’s GDP, and, in recent times, there has been a desire for the nation to stimulate its non-oil sector to foster improved economic development.

Although women’s contribution to agricultural production has been frequently quoted as being over 70 per cent, the World Bank’s analysis of individual labour input data from Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria puts women’s share of labour in crop production across the aforementioned countries at 40 per cent, this however still shows the significant contribution of women to the sector.

While available data also supports the fact that majority of women who contribute to agricultural production are in rural communities, these women face the greatest risk of digital exclusion, which hampers their ability to participate in and benefit from the fast-growing digital economy.

The causes of digital exclusion have been largely attributed to the high cost of devices, a lack of access to affordable, reliable internet services, cultural norms, a dearth of digital and financial literacy, and a lack of localised content, amongst others.

To bridge this gap, Tech Herfrica, a leading nonprofit organisation championing digital inclusion for female farmers and traders, has launched its ‘EquipHer Project 1000 initiative’, targeted at conducting digital financial literacy training in local languages for female farmers and traders across the country and equipping them with mobile devices that meet their needs to enable them get access to information and reach new customers outside their local communities.

Hence, the team recently visited Mararaba Orange Market in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Tech Herfrica to train 40 farmers and traders and equipped them with mobile devices. Donated by Champion Mall, 4Gs Farm, Orbeets Digi-Tech Solution, Gention Global Resources, and some individuals who believe in the vision, the project has a six-month timeline to train and equip 1000 female farmers and traders across the country.

According to the founder, Tech Herfrica, Imade Bibowei-Osuobeni, this will provide digital access to female farmers and traders in rural communities to connect with buyers so that they are able to sell more of their products at fair prices, reduce food waste, rise above poverty, and be included in the larger society.

“In addition to creating an e-commerce solution, herlocalmarket, that connects rural sellers to buyers, Tech Herfrica provides access to local technology for farmers and traders to increase production, conducts digital financial literacy programmes in indigenous language and content for the women so that they are able to adopt new technologies and access financial services, as well as facilitates access to smartphones, health insurance, and micro-pension plans so that the women can live financially stable and healthy lives. So far, millions of naira have been facilitated in sales, and over 600 women have been trained across Nigeria.”

Tech Herfrica’s EquipHer Project1000 will now help women utilize the knowledge and skills they have acquired for economic prosperity. With the devices being provided, beneficiaries will be enabled to receive market information, access financial services, conduct trade, and communicate with the larger society.