How we #InspireInclusion this International Women’s Day


At NCBA CLUSA, we recognize the critical importance of gender equality to empower individuals and families to achieve resilience and economic security and exercise a better, longer and healthier quality of life.

Beyond supporting gender integration to challenge inequitable gender and social norms and practices among women, men and gender diverse individuals in our programming, NCBA CLUSA also recognizes the importance of addressing gender as part of its wider efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.

To kick off this year’s #InspireInclusion campaign for International Women’s Day, observed around the world on March 8, we are highlighting some examples of how our global and domestic projects are implementing inclusive programming to empower women of all ages, races, ethnicities, and abilities.

Timor-Leste | Women and Youth Creating Our Future

While only in its first year of implementation, more than half of the participants in this project are women.

Through the five-year USAID-funded Women and Youth Creating Our Future (WYCF) project in Timor-Leste, NCBA CLUSA is supporting a local social enterprise with a sustainable business model to increase formal job placement and the establishment and growth of job-creating enterprises—specifically for women, youth and persons with disabilities (PWDs). In partnership with local institutions, NCBA CLUSA will strengthen their capacity to increase workforce readiness and the technical and entrepreneurial skills of women, youth and PWDs through education, employment and entrepreneurship. While only in its first year of implementation, the project pilot exceeded targets for women’s inclusion, with more than 50 percent of the participants identifying as female. The project aims to build on this success and empower 22,000 youth, women and PWDs to gain market-relevant skills, secure formal jobs or establish and grow job-creating enterprises across Timor-Leste.

Guatemala | USAID Rural Financial Inclusion Activity

This project aims to provide 100,000 rural Guatemalans—particularly women—with financial services.

In Guatemala, NCBA CLUSA is implementing the USAID-funded Rural Financial Inclusion Activity, aimed at improving the supply and demand of financial services and leveraging remittances towards productive use for underserved rural consumers—particularly women, youth and indigenous peoples. This is especially important because an estimated 44 percent of the rural population, especially women, youth and indigenous communities, experience financial exclusion and encounter challenges meeting collateral, financial literacy, internet connectivity and smart phone needs to take advantage of current savings, loans and digital financial tools. These challenges reduce their economic opportunities and increase their vulnerability to economic events and/or natural disasters.

To address these challenges, the project will work to tailor the supply of financial products and services to meet the needs of women, while also providing financial literacy training to improve the capacity and demand for financial products and services by women consumers. Overall, the project aims to provide 100,000 rural Guatemalans, particularly women, with financial services, increasing their economic empowerment.

Global | CDP Cooperative Ecosystem and Social Inclusion

NCBA CLUSA, with funding from the USAID Cooperative Development Program (CDP), is focused on promoting women, youth and indigenous peoples’ participation and leadership in cooperatives. With cooperative sector partners in Kenya, Madagascar, Guatemala and Peru, we work to improve cooperative capacity and enabling environments for gender and social inclusion. This project is building on the successes realized under the previous CDP Creating an Environment for Cooperative Expansion (CECE) project.

Specifically, NCBA CLUSA developed a comprehensive gender analysis and Training of Trainers guide called “Women’s Inclusion, Empowerment and Leadership in Cooperatives (WIELCOOP),” which uses a modular approach to train cooperative members on how to best engage and promote women’s participation and leadership in cooperatives.

U.S. | USDA Strengthening Co-op Capacity for Historically Underserved Farmers

This project will encourage women’s participation in agriculture and cooperatives, and facilitate equitable access to markets and funding opportunities.

NCBA CLUSA is supporting the needs of historically underserved farmers, ranchers and other socially disadvantaged groups in the U.S. through the USDA-funded Strengthening Co-op Capacity for Historically Underserved Farmers project. This project will provide technical assistance designed to strengthen local capacity and create opportunities for scaling agricultural production and accessing markets through the cooperative model. It will also create a community-led cooperative development ecosystem to invest in agricultural communities and build equity into American agriculture.

Through our project, we have successfully reached and collaborated with more than 250 people, 49 percent of whom are women, and more than 30 organizations, 13 of which are women-led. Our overarching goal is to enhance and fortify the cooperative ecosystem in the United States, encourage women’s participation in agriculture and cooperatives, and facilitate equitable access to markets, USDA resources and funding opportunities.

Global | USAID Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F)

Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer Dr. Elena Garcia, center, discusses the differences between organic and chemically grown avocados.

NCBA CLUSA’s Diversified and Resilient Farmer Business F2F Program will deliver high-quality technical assistance (TA) in Peru, Ecuador, Honduras and El Salvador through 300 volunteer assignments that develop local capacity for more productive, profitable, sustainable and equitable agricultural systems. TA will focus on addressing context-specific barriers for women, youth and indigenous people and tailor interventions to the needs of these underserved populations to ensure they are able to participate in and benefit from technical training and integrate into markets. Program activities will also focus on promoting ancestral farming skills among Andean and Amazon tribes to support climate-friendly practices, target value chains where women and youth are more dominate such as horticulture, deploy our WIELCOOP guide for advancing gender integration in cooperatives, and include volunteer assignments on gender equity. Within its 27,000 anticipated beneficiaries, the project will train 40 percent women and 25 percent youth over five years.

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