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Invest-In-Women Window II competition opens

By Charles K Mark

Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) partners with Global Affairs Canada to funding for women-led cooperative organizations.

The project, named “Invest in Women South Sudan” is funded through Apha Commercial Banks.

According to the project objective, it aims at empowering women’s cooperatives and farmer groups in South Sudan, especially in agriculture and food systems.

The funding will provide training in financial management, technical assistance; coaching women to businesses grow, and offer business loans.

Eligible women businesses in crops like groundnuts, sorghum, Shea butter, honey and sesame will receive support to strengthen their production and market access.

AECF’s chief executive Officer, Victoria Sabula said the project seeks to reduce gender barriers, promote climate-smart farming practices and generate livelihoods for female farmers.

“The initiative seeks to foster gender equality and promote economic inclusion, with a special emphasis on South Sudan’s agricultural sector,” she said.

Sabula said the project also aims to address key objectives, including the reduction of gender-specific barriers in agricultural value chains.

She said it will also promote gender-sensitive climate-smart agricultural practices and the enhancement of employment opportunities and livelihoods for women in the agricultural and food systems.

“The IIW-SS program, a collaborative effort between AECF and GAC, is poised to make a transformative impact by economically empowering women in the agricultural sector in South Sudan through targeted value chains,” she said.

The program expects to benefit 6,000 smallholder farmer households or 36,000 individuals.

Speaking at the launch of the program, yesterday, Alpha Commercial Banks’ Business Development Director, Elizabeth Githaiga said the Invest-In-Women South Sudan (IIW-SS) helps women’s enterprises.

“This investment is about helping women to receive additional support and help to move them from the traditional relief into being strong businesses,” Githaiga said.

The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund and Global Affairs Canada to economically empower women farmers through targeted value chains.

Head of Cooperation at Embassy of Canada to South Sudan, Micheal Rymek, said the initiative highlights the importance of fostering gender-sensitive and climate-smart agricultural practices for livelihood.

“We are affirming Canada’s shared commitment to gender equality and economic inclusion for women and young women in South Sudan,” Rymek continued.

Meanwhile, national minister for gender, child and social welfare, Aya Benjamin Warile said significance of the initiative extends beyond immediate impacts.

Aya notes that the program reflects broader goal of achieving security, livelihoods and gender justice with an emphasis on pastoral and agro-pastoralists.

The minister commended the approach, saying it adds the voices of those who remain marginalized in conflict-ridden areas.

“Let us embrace this opportunity to transform the lives of our women farmers. Let us work together to build a society where women’s contributions are celebrated, where their rights are protected, and where their dreams can flourish,” minister Aya said.

The funding competition was launched yesterday with the support of government officials and stakeholders.

Eligible cooperative women-led organizations willing to compete for the Invest in Women program are expected to pick up application forms at Alpha Commercial Bank.

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