Hi, I am Parvez , Director Private Sector Engagement at CARE Bangladesh.
There has to be first of all an appreciation among business leaders that everybody wins when you invest on women. Women are often not even part of formal value chains, rather part of unpaid labor within the value chain. It is not as straightforward as one would like, to see through that women are actually engaging productively in value chains and more importantly benefiting equitably from their engagement.
For companies, they have to make deliberate attempts to ensure that women are participating in value chains, and gainfully. This is where NGO and private sector co-creations and collaborations can work out. My colleague Gerry Boyle has talked about the Dairy Value chain experience in Bangladesh. To add to that, animal rearing has always been a household occupation where women would engage, but that never constituted a primary source of income for the household or an economic role for the women. This is where CARE and BRAC Dairy partnership has mad all the difference. By introducing digital fat testing, fair price (and much higher than what they would get earlier) has been ensured.
The value chain of milk collection for processing has fully fledged and become efficient as a result of CARE’s complimentary investment (through private foundation’s social investment) side by side BRAC’s core business investment. BRAC being the lead firm has benefited from the investment that has offered it the risk capital to venture into this new business model, while as many as 30,000 households (75%of the participants are women) have permanently scaled out of poverty, generated economic and social wealth to improve their livelihoods by investing on health, education and other essential social services. A new cadre of service providers, called collection point managers, have emerged who are facilitating transactions between the milk processing units and households who produce milk through animal husbandry. Collection point managers, offer aggregation points as well as fat testing provision paving the way for transparent terms of trade for the individual households based on quality of milk. Extension services in the form of inputs, feed, vaccines and animal health services have emerged through a social franchise of micro entrepreneurs.