Programme Design

Empowering women in Kordofan, Sudan through non-timber forest products entrepreneurship, commercialisation and market systems development, Near East Foundation, 2016.

    In its effort to increase and sustain income, leadership and inclusion among 2,242 small producers, including 1,912 poor and economically vulnerable women involved in the non-timber forest products (NTFP) sector in 9 villages in North and South Kordofan, Sudan, the Near East Foundation (NEF) conducted in 2015 a business case study and value chain and market analysis aimed at informing the development of new or improved initiatives in support of this group. More generally, the overall aim of the study is to advance the body of knowledge in support of empowering women through non-timber forest products for entrepreneurship, income and food security, particularly in Sudan. The initiative will (1) establish 9 revolving credit funds that reduce the depletion of local forests and lessen the time demands on working women, (2) facilitate 21 collaborative and inclusive natural resources management projects managed by multi-stakeholders that benefit multiple groups, and (3) reach out to an additional 36 neighbouring villages through women-led practice replication – engaging additional 1,950 beneficiaries. A pillar of our approach is building women-led associations, strengthening their human and institutional capacity, and improving their technical skills and organisation in market inclusion, entrepreneurship and multi-stakeholder natural resource management.

    Methods for info gathering
    Quantitative and qualitative information was collected from producers distributed in 9 villages using a semi-structured questionnaire.

    Summary of results
    Together these activities will (1) increase women's income from NFWP by 40% and asset accumulation by 10% in 3 years; (2) improve women's decision-making and bargaining power, self-esteem, leadership, economic rights, and role in conflict mitigation; reduce resource-based conflicts (e.g., livestock corridors, land and water access) that disproportionally affect women; (3) reverse the degradation of forest resources in project area by 6% yearly; and (4) increase the effectiveness of civil society organisations (including three partners and 15 women-led associations and committees) to deliver and sustain propoor market development programmes that are supportive primarily for women involved in NTFP. This model has a high potential for replication and presents an added value for joint action.