USAID provided $1.1 million in matching business grants for 13 women entrepreneurs from the livestock sector
The Women in Agribusiness Leadership Network–WALN–in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Livestock Market Development project honored 13 women entrepreneurs who were awarded $1.1 million as part of an innovation grants activity at the annual conference of the Women in Agribusiness Leadership Network.
The innovation grants have led to $1.6 million in investments made by the entrepreneurs in their businesses.
Ethiopian women make up nearly half of the agriculture workforce and provide a significant amount of the farm labor to produce agricultural products consumed or sold by their families. However, they are not involved in the decision-making process on what crops to grow or when to sell them. They have limited access to training, market information, and credit that restricts their ability to participate in agribusiness.
“I come in contact with Ethiopian women quite often. Many of them are quiet and nervous if asked to speak in front of a group. Many defer to their male-counterparts when it comes time to make important decisions. These fears become a disadvantage when owning and running a business,” USAID Deputy Mission Director, Ramona M EL Hamzaoui, said to an audience of over 600 people.
“We can change this. We are changing this. The Women in Agribusiness Leadership Network is a prime example of how to empower Ethiopian women working in a sector that is traditionally run by men.”
In addition, USAID awarded certificates for 125 new WALN members who completed the six-month leadership and business training and mentorship program. In 2015, USAID Livestock Market Development supported WALN by connecting 280 trained women livestock entrepreneurs and leaders to the network.