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GIBS Entrepreneurship Development Academy (EDA) developing women towards inclusive agribusiness

The Embassy of France in South Africa is working with the Entrepreneurship Development Academy (EDA) at the Gordon Institute of Business School (GIBS) and the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) to develop a tailor-made programme to support women farmers in South Africa. 

Entrepreneurship is widely seen as a means through which poverty can be alleviated; not only through empowering individuals to build livelihoods but also through multiplier effects of creating jobs. 
However, we continue to see marginalisation of women globally, in Africa and South Africa alike, and this requires a dynamic shift to transform women’s lives and livelihoods. The transformation of the agricultural sector to be a gender-inclusive space for all is an important place to start.

Through their work, AFASA aims to commercialise the developing agricultural sector and facilitate the participation of black individuals within the mainstream commercial agribusiness sector. They also work to ensure the long-term sustainability of the agricultural sector in South Africa to have competent and successful commercial farmers.

To this end, the GIBS EDA, AFASA and the French Embassy hope to contribute to the development and strengthening of the South African farming community, the agricultural sector and South African women’s emancipation and economic empowerment.

The context within which women farmers operate is dynamic and complex. Comprehensive support is critical to ensure that women farmers are equipped to run agricultural enterprises that are resilient, adaptive to change and competitive. 

To kick off Innovation Month this September, 30 women will embark on the three-month programme titled, Developing Women Towards Inclusive Agribusiness, which will be divided into three thematic areas which will run over two weeks each month. The thematic areas will cover self and leadership development as well as entrepreneurial and managerial competencies.

"We are very pleased for another opportunity to collaborate with GIBS and the African Farmers Association of South Africa, especially on such a special programme to support women farmers in the country. The construction of this programme has already highlighted a range of important issues that need to be addressed in order for the agricultural sector to be a gender-inclusive space. We are excited to see the outcomes and future impact of this important partnership,” said French Ambassador Aurélien Lechevallier.

Managing Executive for Social Education, Miranda Hosking, added, “The EDA is delighted to partner with the French Embassy to develop and strengthen the South African farming community, the agricultural sector and South African women. Educating and empowering women to become flourishing farmers is crucial to end world hunger and to ensure the economic empowerment of women.”

Keatlegile Mnguni, Youth Desk Chair for AFASA, added, “A great thanks to the French Embassy on our partnership. AFASA Youth and Women are enthusiastic about the development of our female farmers. It is crucial to grow the economy by improving the agribusiness productivity and commercialisation of our young future leaders as well as women in the sector who were previously disadvantaged and were not afforded the opportunity. We are looking forward to further implementing youth and women transformation and skills revolution to solve many challenges and barriers young women experience in the sector. We are eager to have well capacitated, skilled, empowered, and productive young African farmers post the Developing Women Towards Inclusive Agribusiness programme.” 

The programme is scheduled to be delivered in a blended format comprising of a combination of asynchronous and synchronous lessons. The blended format aims to facilitate the inclusion of participants in rural outskirts of South Africa as well as women juggling multiple roles.

Furthermore, the 30 delegates will receive virtual group coaching support through peer-to-peer engagement which will run concurrently with the training programme to support the women to embed the academic business management concepts, as well as enhance their personal development journeys. 

As with many of the EDA’s programmes, a robust Monitoring and Evaluation process will be undertaken to ensure mutual goals are met, to determine ongoing programme impact and to ensure ongoing learning while implementing the programme.  

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