“Buy From Women” Digital Platform Awareness-Raising to Boost Women’s Skills and Products Hits Lofa County
By: Tokpa Tarnue -email@example.com |
Voinjama, Lofa County – As part of efforts to increase awareness of farmers and buyers on the “Buy from Women” Digital Platform or App, two UN Women and Orange Foundation-supported local Farming Cooperatives based in Voinjama on Wednesday December 28, 2023 conducted a day-long awareness-raising in the Voinjama Central Market.
The “Voinjama District Women Organization for Peace and Development Multipurpose Farmers’ Cooperative” (VODWOPEDE) and the “Stand Forever Women Initiative” (SFWI) also based in Voinjama are part of the e-commerce platform, called “Buy from Women”, which was launched in 2022.
According to UN Women Liberia’s National Project Officer, Ms. Aisha Kamara Kolubah, the activity is part of the Digital Inclusion for Women’s Economic Empowerment (D4WEE) project that is being implemented in Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties by UN Women supported by the Orange Foundation. The project is implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MOGCSP), Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), and the Disaster Management Agency (DMA). The project is leveraging digital inclusion of rural women smallholders and entrepreneurs in Liberia, economically empowering them, and enhancing their resilience to disasters. The Buy from Women platform has brought together 3,449 women farmers from 17 Farming Cooperatives from the project counties. In Lofa, 187 women farmers are making use of the platform to sell and buy agricultural products.
Victoria N. Giddings, Office Assistant at UN Women Liberia, said the initiative links women farmers and entrepreneurs to markets, shares information, and improves their finances/businesses. “Through this internet-based platform, women farmers can sell their produce, including potatoes, pepper, rice, cassava, amongst others.” Speaking in Voinjama, Ms. Giddings told the women that the platform has a unique record system that has helped rural women keep track and trend of their transactions.
The day-long awareness-raising activities in Voinjama City brought together several women farmers, potential entrepreneurs, local county officials among others where women farmers showcased their products. Beatrice Y. Smith from Stand forever Women Initiative, expressed satisfaction over the process and mentioned that the platform has helped to reduce post-harvest losses due to the involvement of third party individuals and groups in the sale of their products. She called on other women farmers and entrepreneurs to join them because the initiative has exposed them to the use of technology to sell their products.
VODWOPEDE Program Coordinator, Mawolo Daniels, highlighted that the “Buy from Women” digital platform has provided the space for women farmers to experience an increase in their access to and the use of information and communication technology (ICT), which impacted women including their households, and their various communities through better sales. The sellers and buyers also use Orange Money to do their transactions on the platform. This has increased the number of users (especially women) of Orange Money in Voinjama and other parts of Lofa.
The market day event was also earlier held in Bong and Nimba counties with the objective of increasing visibility of the platform. The aim is to reach more women farmers and entrepreneurs and provide critical value addition to these initiatives, through networking and existing infrastructure around digital skills, digital and mobile technology, and digital/financial inclusion to ensure that rural women in Liberia are not left behind.