Addressing Gender Inequity, One Scarf at a Time

Photo of farmer wearing green and gold scarf

A farmer proudly wears her new scarf, received during the Maychew ceremony

In the Ethiopian town of Maychew, more than 500 women gathered in October 2014, some to receive scarves of verdant green and marigold and others to receive similarly colored umbrellas during a ceremony to welcome them and to celebrate a long-awaited shift in gender equity. With this ceremony, these women joined thousands of others who are finally gaining the same representation for their labor as their male counterparts, thanks in part to a behavior change communications (BCC) campaign Danya International helped spearhead throughout Ethiopia.

Women farmers contribute substantially to sustaining Ethiopia’s agricultural sector, but numbers show that both primary farmer cooperatives (PCs) and larger farmer cooperative unions (FCUs) significantly underrepresent them. The Government of Ethiopia wants to change this. In 2014, they established a 30-percent target for female membership at these PCs and FCUs as a way to emphasize the increased efficiency that these groups would enjoy through active participation and leadership from women.

This was where Danya International was able to step in and provide the BCC support needed to make this goal a reality. Acknowledging that registration is both the first step and one of the biggest challenges to increasing women’s participation, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Agricultural Growth Program-Agribusiness and Market Development (AGP-AMDe) project utilized Danya’s BCC expertise to implement an incentive-based membership drive that would help women farmers step away from the societal norms that discouraged their participation and finally join in.

Woman with umbrella

This farmer displays her umbrella, which she received in honor of her recruitment efforts

Beginning in early 2014, Danya’s BCC staff designed and implemented an intensive multi-lingual BCC strategy targeting four AGP regions—Amhara; Oromia; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region; and Tigray. They offered incentives such as scarves for women who signed up and umbrellas for current members who recruited five or more women to join. Additionally, the campaign offered walking tractors and motorcycles to the PCs that showed the highest increase in women participants.

Thanks to Danya’s collaborative outreach campaign, more than 78,000 women registered as new cooperative members throughout 2014, according to government reports (AGP-AMDe has verified more than 42,000 of these registrants so far). The regional average membership increase for women went from 25 percent to 32.5 percent, with Maychew’s Bokra FCU reporting that 52 percent of its membership comprised women farmers—the highest percentage of women members in all four targeted regions. All four regions have demonstrated significant membership increases among women farmers.

Aside from the incentives offered for joining and recruiting others, women farmers already are reporting increases in income and benefits thanks to their new membership with PCs and FCUs. As proven by Danya’s BCC campaign, with the proper amount of encouragement, many women farmers throughout these regions are finally reaping the full reward for what they sow.

Read more about this project and a recent conference that celebrated the graduation of 100 women leaders from the Women in Agribusiness Leadership Network.


Danya’s CEO Attends Corporate Council on Africa’s 9th Biennial U.S.-Africa Business Summit

cca 2013

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) hosted its 9th Biennial U.S.-Africa Business Summit on October 8–11, 2013, in Chicago, Illinois. This 4-day conference brought together more than 1,000 public and private-sector representatives from more than 70 countries to discuss the importance of expanding private-sector trade and investment between the United States and the nations of Africa. The conference highlighted the key areas in which our members feel Africa presents its greatest case for investment: agribusiness, energy, health, security, infrastructure, capacity building, information and communications technology (ICT), and finance. Dr. Jeff Hoffman, Danya International’s CEO and former CCA Board Member, participated in the conference and met with several key officials from Ethiopia—where Danya is planning to set up its second East Africa office—including the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Girma Birru, the Deputy Foreign Minister and State Minister Dawano Kedir, and the Director General of the Ethiopian Investment Agency Fitsum Arega to discuss Danya’s plans for investing and registering as a management consulting firm in Ethiopia. According to Dr. Hoffman, “This conference was a great opportunity to meet with some of the key Ethiopian government officials to help lay the groundwork for expanding Danya’s activities in East Africa. These officials offer a warm welcome to U.S. companies to invest and work in Ethiopia and will assist with navigating the process.” Dr. Hoffman also joined in the signing ceremony between Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing to announce their partnership to double-wire harness production at Ethiopian Airlines’ Wire Harness Facility. He had the opportunity to meet Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, and Kagnew Asfaw, Ethiopian Airlines Regional Director for the Americas, to congratulate them on the continued success of Ethiopian Airlines. “Ethiopian Airlines is one of the shining star companies in Africa and one of the best airlines in the world,” said Dr. Hoffman. “Having flown on one of the new Ethiopian 787 Dreamliners, I can say without a doubt that Ethiopian Airlines is operating a state-of-the-art airline company!” For more information about the CCA Summit see their website:

By Melissa Jackson

The Kenya Premiere of “Inside Story”

Inside Story

Danya recently sponsored the Kenya premiere of Inside Story: The Science of HIV/AIDS, a feature film designed to educate millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. The film follows the story of Kalu, a gifted soccer player who unknowingly contracts HIV.

Inside Story

Inside Story first premiered on World AIDS Day on December 1, 2011, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The film has since screened over 10 times, including in Nigeria and an Atlanta screening in May, also sponsored by Danya. The Kenya premiere was highlighted by the presence of the Kenyan cast and their families. Following the screening, they shared their feelings of seeing themselves on the big screen for the first time. Featured speakers included Discovery’s Theo Smith, SEACOM’s Kwanele Mpanza, Danya’s Fred Vago, as well as other Inside Story actors and directors.

Inside Story

Inside Story was produced by The Discovery Channel’s Global Education Partnership with the support of PEPFAR, Chevron, The South African Department of Trade and Industry, Access Bank, and SEACOM.

See more pictures from the premiere! Click an image to view full size:

Danya Co-Sponsors CCA’s 8th Biennial U.S.-Africa Business Summit

Danya is proud to co-sponsor the Corporate Council on Africa’s (CCA) 8th Biennial U.S.-Africa Business Summit. This year, the Summit will be held October 5-7, 2011, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.

Danya has been deeply involved with CCA’s U.S.-Africa Summits for years, participating in planning committee meetings, sponsorships, and promotions. This year, Danya is co-sponsoring the eHealth: Connecting Policy, Information and People workshop on Thursday, October 6, with RTI International, Inc. Danya’s CEO, Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman, will deliver the welcoming remarks at the workshop.

The Summit includes more than 30 comprehensive plenary and workshop sessions, during which participants will obtain the latest information on trade and investment opportunities across Africa. With sessions led by U.S. and African leaders with successful ventures in Africa, the Summit focuses on Africa’s most promising sectors: health, infrastructure, energy, security, agribusiness, and power.

To learn more about the Summit, click here.