Press Release | 10 March 2022

Orange and UN Women join forces to support women’s economic empowerment in West and Central Africa

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Orange and UN Women have teamed up to support women’s economic empowerment and rural farm’s resilience to disasters in West and Central Africa.

An initiative to support women’s digital inclusion

In addition to the financial assistance given to the project to bolster these initiatives, Orange and the Orange Foundation offer their unique technical expertise, their network and their existing infrastructure in digital skills, technologies and digital inclusion. The project will also allow UN Women and its partners to build on results achieved so far through the “Buy from Women” initiative, and its future developments in Liberia and Mali.

Liberia: project launch following a pilot project

In Liberia, adaptation of the “Buy from Women” platform to the local context is almost complete, thanks to a first collaboration between the Orange Foundation and UN Women. The two Orange Foundation Women’s Digital Centers (WDC) in Liberia train women, who are not familiar with new technologies, on using digital toolsand platforms”. Specifically, women will learn in these centers how to use the “Buy from Women” platform, following a pilot project with womens’ cooperatives working in the cassava and cereal value chains. Over time, this initiative and its developments should help support 1,200 rural women across the country.

In Mali, the technical, financial and human resources deployed through this partnership will help expand the “Buy from Women” offering and assist an additional 400 women.

A project focused on three major components

The three components of the project which will complement Orange and UN Women’s support in Liberia include:

  • Digital to support the economic empowerment of women in rural areas: with improved access to markets and educational opportunities thanks to the consolidation of the “Buy from Women” initiative, a focus on the e-commerce platform as well as training, marketing and other activities.
  • Digital to support women’s resilience to disasters in rural areas: with improved risk coverage, weather forecasting and warnings and advice on how to adapt farming with the current climate change.
  • Digital to improve women’s access to renewable energies in rural areas: supporting domestic and productive uses and their accessibility, including financing of Pay-As-You-Go solar systems (prepaid, payment for a short period of use, etc.), and building women’s skills in the energy sector.

About the “Buy from Women” initiative

“Buy from Women” is an innovative initiative implemented by UN Women, in partnership with the public and private sectors, which aims to improve the digital inclusion of women living in rural areas. It does so by facilitating access to digital technology and new market opportunities, but also provides information, weather warnings and digital financial services. This initiative helps boost the productivity and income of businesses and farms run by women.

Implemented in around ten countries across the world, where the model is  adapted to the needs and characteristics of each country, it has allowed 1,500 women in Mali to market and sell their products (shea nuts, cereals, vegetables, jewelry and hygiene products, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic), and to have access to online training.

Elizabeth Tchoungui, Executive Director CSR at Orange and Deputy Chair of the Orange Foundation, explains: “As the leading continent for female entrepreneurship and in the front line against the climate emergency, Africa’s resilience is an incentive to pursue the partnership between Orange and UN Women to improve conditions for women in rural areas with the help of digital tools.”

Fanny Benedetti, Executive Director UN Women France adds: “Women's economic empowerment is a crucial element for UN Women.  It is also more broadly a major driver of emancipation and a means of safeguarding women’s human rights. “Buy from Women” is a flagship initiative that opens up a full range of possibilities for women living in rural areas who are often not familiar with technology, to support them in the driving role they can play in favor of sustainable development.”

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About Orange

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