• Monday, February 26, 2024
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Tech Herfrica taps technology to boost female farmers’ productivity in rural communities


Tech Herfrica, a nonprofit organisation championing the digital inclusion of female farmers and traders in African rural communities, said it has engaged the services of 26 young professionals to work together and contribute to the creation of an equitable and sustainable agricultural system on the continent.

Speaking at a virtual event held to inaugurate the 26 young professionals who agreed to work as volunteers, Esohe Ekunwe, director of Strategy and Communications at Tech Herfrica, said the young professionals will contribute their skills and expertise toward fostering some of Tech Herfrica’s initiatives such as creating an e-commerce solution like, ‘Herlocalmarket’ that connects rural sellers to buyers.

Ekunwe said Tech Herfrica is to provide access to local technology for farmers and traders to increase production and conduct digital financial literacy programmes for women to enable the adoption of new technologies and access to financial services.

She said the idea is also to facilitate access to smartphones, health insurance, and micro pension plans to enable sellers to live financially stable and healthy.

On the professional background and experience of the volunteers, she said the goal of achieving an inclusive digital economy will be met, adding that pending the launch of Herlocalmarket.com, trades are currently being facilitated using WhatsApp, and millions of naira have been exchanged.

Also speaking, Imade Bibowei-Osuobeni, founder of Tech Herfrica, said the desire for an inclusive digital economy cannot be achieved by mere sentiments.

According to her, it is a pursuit that requires critical thinking, evidence-based programming, and a risk-based implementation framework that translates actions into clear outcomes.

She urged the first cohort of volunteers joining the team to carry out their work with a great sense of transparency, responsibility, integrity, accountability, and innovation.

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Promise Akpan, one of the volunteers, said she hopes to join the team to impact and invest in the capacity of rural women by giving them orientation on the things they need to know and do to help them thrive financially.

“I also hope to develop my capacity and skills in my direct role with Tech Herfrica, and gain exposure to certain things I may be ignorant of,” Akpan said.

Mary Claire Ashara, another volunteer, said her personal theme for the year is ‘self-discovery and development, adding that this has helped in directing her path to Tech Herfrica among other opportunities.

According to her, in the next year of volunteering with Tech Herfrica, she intends to unlearn and relearn, while contributing to the creation and implementation of projects that will advance the economic growth of women and girls in rural African communities.

“I hope that by the time one-year elapses, I will be a better version of myself and will have directly or indirectly provided help to the rural women whom this project is solely meant to uplift,” she said.

Precious Nwaeze, another volunteer, said she hopes to acquire new skills and experiences, improve her self-confidence, and make professional connections.

She pledged to also contribute her skills and experience to implement programmes that will advance the cause of the inhabitants of rural communities across Africa.

A recent report by the International Labour Organisation, states that economic growth remains robust in Africa, but the region has seen a steady rise in the number of extremely poor people, especially in rural areas.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a wide variety of literature is available on the importance of agriculture to economic development in Africa and on the critical role that rural women play within this sector.

BusinessDay understands that attention is also being given to the role of smallholder subsistence agriculture in ensuring the food security of the continent, as 73 percent of the rural population consists of smallholder farmers, many of whom are women.

Meanwhile, despite their significant contributions, women in rural areas are easily marginalised from development and gains, especially in the fast-growing digital economy. Boosting agriculture and building a strong rural economy have the potential to create millions of jobs as well as increase wealth, inclusion, and food security.