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Our Approach to Women's Economic Inclusion & Empowerment
Land O’Lakes Venture37 believes women’s economic inclusion and empowerment is critical to achieving sustained growth in the agriculture sector and thriving communities.

Our Inclusion Philosophy

  • Drive meaningful change through action: Progress toward systemic change will only be achieved if we hold ourselves and project partners accountable. To promote accountability, we create dynamic action plans that translate gender and inclusion analyses and assessments into relevant and appropriately resourced actions to mediate transformational change.
  • Include men and boys: We engage men and boys as allies to facilitate women’s and girls’ access to critical resources and opportunities. We curate opportunities to educate all members of a community about the benefits that their homes and communities accrue when women are empowered. We include men and boys in developing and championing women's inclusion and empowerment solutions.
  • Start at the heart: Due to cultural norms, women often lack confidence in their own abilities, thereby reinforcing others’ lack of confidence in their abilities – creating a negative cycle of bias. To break this cycle, we start with the basics: cultivating an understanding of women’s self-worth and potential. From this foundation, women and girls have the confidence to dream ambitiously, act boldly and take advantage of increased access to resources. 
  • Quality over quantity: We seek to increase women’s agency and influence – a critical precursor to advocating for and attaining sustainable access to resources. Beyond simply reaching high numbers of female participants, our programs must empower women. We iteratively adjust our activities to ensure our approaches are accessible, usable and transformative, and create opportunities for women.
  • Do no harm: Our analysis, assessments and actions must monitor and mitigate unintended consequences of transformative women's inclusion and empowerment, such as gender-based violence. Community engagement is essential to this aim.

Elements of Empowerment:

Partnerships: We build partnerships across a wide range of stakeholders to identify barriers to women’s ability to participate in – and fully realize the benefits of – a program. We then collaboratively design and implement interventions to address constraints, achieve buy-in and promote accountability.

Services: We provide tailored services to enable women’s access to productive assets, training and technical assistance. As locally appropriate, we facilitate creation of collective networks that strengthen access to services, such as producer groups, cooperatives, associations and agribusiness enterprises.

Leadership: We encourage women (including Venture37 and partner employees) to move into training, leadership and management roles that enable them to demonstrate leadership and to connect with and empower other women to improve their lives, livelihoods, families and communities.

Training: Gender-related perceptions impact how household income is spent, who owns productive assets, how children are cared for and the roles of household members. We conduct trainings that build greater awareness of gender constraints and barriers and that promote equitable decision-making among women and men.

Feedback Loops: We use evidence from initial case studies, secondary data and project monitoring and evaluation data to demonstrate that WIE makes a positive difference in the lives of women and men, household income generation, social capital and program impact.

Project Examples

USAID Cooperative Development Activity 4 (CD4)
To address the issues identified in a start-of-project gender assessment, Venture37 implemented a three phase Gender-transformative Action Plan to work with male and female cooperative members to increase women’s self-confidence, address imbalanced household power dynamics, establish women’s mentorship networks and increase women’s leadership skills.

USAID Sri Lanka BIZ+ program
Family roles and community perceptions often block the path to traditional employment opportunities for women in Sri Lanka. Under the BIZ+ program, we worked with business partners to create strategies for enhanced inclusion including policy audits and safe-work place updates, introduction of home-based production, and women’s leadership training.

Public Private Partnerships for Artificial Insemination Delivery Program (PAID)
AI delivery has been a vocation exclusively practiced by men in Tanzania and Ethiopia. In addition to receiving AI tech training, women AI trainees have been partnered with allied men in the program who have introduced them to clients – providing women a platform to demonstrate their competency and grow their client base. Women’s participation in the AI vocational training program has grown from 0% to 30%.
By Kelly Thompson and Danielle Niedermaier 03/07/2021