Recognising women's role in bio-entrepreneurship

In reforming bio-entrepreneurship education in sub-Saharan Africa, PBL-BioAfrica pays close attention to promoting inclusive education and working life.

Text Victor Kilui Photo Egerton University
Kenyan agriculture students in Dandelion Africa's tent
Master’s student (Daniel Musyoka) engaging youths from Dandelion Africa in setting up a tomato seedbed

Climate change increasingly impacting the lives of citizens and the environment especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and the long-term effects that it bears on women cannot go unnoticed. Women are more vulnerable during disasters such as droughts and floods. They have less access to resources, are victims of the gendered division of labour, and they are the primary caregivers to children, the elderly and the disabled. This means that they are less able to mobilise resources for recuperation. Hence, they are overburdened with domestic responsibilities, leaving them with less freedom to pursue sources of income to alleviate their economic status.

Achieving gender equality would not only elevate the most vulnerable people, but would also greatly benefit the well-being of society as a whole.

PBL-Bio Africa, through incorporating the human rights-based approach (HRBA), also addresses the role and potential of women in agriculture by improving equality and economic development. The project stands to advocate for trainings that must be available through inclusive platforms which recognise the needs of women, as well as marginalised and underserved groups. Gender balance is realised throughout the project implementation in e.g. forming the project team and participants of teachers' trainings.

“For us, gender equality is simple: the parity of rights, opportunity and participation, regardless of one’s gender”, says Ms Sally Wuodi, a research officer at Dandelion Africa. Dandelion Africa is a non-profit organisation with over ten years of hands-on experience in community health, youth and entrepreneurial development. It is also an industry collaborator of Egerton University in the project PBL-BioAfrica.

“Presently, women in rural areas number among the most marginalised in the Kenyan society. Achieving gender equality, however, would not only elevate this vulnerable group, but would also greatly benefit the well-being of society as a whole”, Ms Wuodi concludes.