Resilient Markets in Ethiopia

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At home with Sindayo, a GRAD beneficiary in Tigray. Photo credit @ CARE Ethiopia.

Last month I visited Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, to interview farmers and livestock traders faced with the drought effects of one of the most devastating El Niños in 50 years, to learn about their coping strategies in the face of extreme weather patterns.

We wanted to find out how these coping strategies were linked to national and international market systems and how, through these systems, it might be possible to bring about a better deal for those in the supply chain typically made more vulnerable by drought: women.

CARE International, the global NGO and my employer for the last decade, has been operating in Ethiopia since 1984, and works alongside other international and national organisations to bring solutions to those whose livelihoods are invested in agriculture, and who by default are affected by regular market “shocks”.

After 70 years of operations around the world, CARE’s focus within any country programme is to bring about positive changes for women and girls. We do this because of the myriad of existing social and economic injustices faced by women and girls, all over the world, many of which have been described on this blog. At CARE, we talk a lot about “empowering” women and girls, and this encompasses many aspects, including improving access to economic resources for women and, crucially, increasing their control over those resources.       Continue reading “Resilient Markets in Ethiopia”

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The Future of CSR?

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Hong Kong’s imposing skyline just before the typhoon

The sight of Hong Kong’s vast oblong buildings, stood proud and squashed in front of a backdrop of dark green mountains and low lying clouds, never ceases to take my breath away.

That McDonalds and Starbucks franchises exist in great numbers, alongside century old tea houses, underneath these imposing corporate towers, makes the city one of the ultimate “East Meets West” urban epicentres.

There is a constant shuffling of life to be found at street level in Hong Kong, a happy human beat of old and young, rich and poor, foreigner, tourist, and the local shoe-shiner, all jostling through their everyday tasks, zigzagging between narrow alley and subway, the Kowloon trams and the famous Star Ferry.

I have been in town this week to speak at the annual CSR Asia Summit, holed up, as these things always are, in varying degrees of 4 or 5 star hotel finery, glacial air conditioning and windowless rooms. Continue reading “The Future of CSR?”