By Joseph Tumbey
UN Women and Orange Liberia have launched a technology initiative “Buy from Women” to provide financial support and contribute their unique technical expertise, network and existing infrastructure around digital skills, technologies and digital inclusion in West and Central Africa.
During their launch on Thursday March 10, 2022 in Monrovia, they said the project will enable UN Women and its partners to consolidate the results achieved to date through the Buy from Women initiative and its future developments in Liberia and Mali.
Accordingly, in Liberia, the adaptation of the “Buy from Women” platform to the local context is almost a complete thanks to the first collaboration between the Orange Foundation and UN Women.
They said, their two Digital Houses for Women (WDC) of the Orange Foundation in Liberia will offer support for the implementation of the “Buy from Women” platform, after a pilot with women’s cooperatives that operate in the cassava and cereals value chains.
“Ultimately, this initiative and its developments will support 1200 rural women across the country” the partners emphasized.
The partners maintain that, in Mali, the technical, financial and human resources deployed in their partnership will make it possible to densify the offer of support to “Buy from Women” and to help 400 additional beneficiaries.
Going further, the both partners noted that, their project is focusing on three major components which include: Digital for rural women’s economic empowerment: with improved access to markets and learning opportunities through the consolidation of the Buy from Women Initiative, a focus on the e-commerce platform, as well as training, marketing and other activities.
Digital for the resilience of rural women to disasters: with better coverage of risks, as well as weather warning forecasting and advice on agriculture adapted to climate change.
With Digital technology to facilitate rural women’s access to renewable energies: in favor of domestic and productive uses, and their democratization, including the financing of Pay-As-You-Go solar systems (prepaid, payment for a short period of use etc.) and the strengthening of women’s skills in the energy sector.
According to them, ” Buy from Women” is an UN Women initiative implemented in partnership with the public and private sectors, that aims to increase the digital inclusion of rural women by facilitating access to digital technology and new market opportunities, but also to information, weather alerts, and digital financial services. “This initiative improves the productivity and incomes of women-led businesses and farms”.
They noted, while Implemented in a dozen countries around the world, adapting the model to the needs and characteristics of each country, it has enabled 1500 Malian women to make known and market their products (shea nuts, cereals, vegetables, jewelry and hygienic products, in response to the COVID-19 crisis) and to have access to online training modules.
Executive Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Orange and Deputy President of the Orange Foundation, Ms. Elizabeth Tchoungui from France said, as the first continent for women’s entrepreneurship and on the front line of the climate emergency, Africa’s resilience is an encouragement to continue to invest jointly between Orange and UN Women to improve the status of women in rural areas via digital technology.”
“Women’s economic empowerment is at the heart of the UN Women’s mandate. It is also a formidable lever for emancipation and guarantee of women’s human rights in the broad sense. ‘Buy from Women’ is a flagship initiative that brings the full scope of the field possible to rural women, often far from technology, to support them in the leading role they can play in promoting sustainable development”, Oulimata Sarr, Regional Director, UN Women West and Central Africa asserted.