Co-producing a shock-resilient ecosystem for women-led enterprises in Nepal
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more than 41 percent of women in Nepal have lost their jobs compared to 28 percent of men. Although entrepreneurship and women-led enterprises in agriculture and forest product value chains are considered an important avenue for women’s economic empowerment in the country, enterprises led by women entrepreneurs/farmers in the rural areas remain excluded from the government’s economic relief packages. While past research has addressed the role of entrepreneurship in promoting women’s economic empowerment, linkages between gender, entrepreneurship, and climate have not been widely explored. Further, resilience-building of businesses that includes multiple factors such as disasters, climate change, and dynamic markets and prices has not been thoroughly applied in Nepal.
This project will examine how climate change plays a role in enabling or disenabling women’s economic empowerment in agriculture and forestry. Using participation action research approaches, researchers will co-produce with farmers, enterprise leaders, local women’s groups and champions, local and provincial government, private-sector actors and associations, and financial service providers a model of support for women entrepreneurs that will encourage the adoption of low-carbon practices in the agriculture and forestry sectors. This model will be disseminated through a number of scientific, policy, and media-based outputs.
The elements of the model will range from digital and climate-smart technology, financial services, management and marketing training, training on high-potential value-addition activities and more, with the intention of increasing business resilience to climate change. Project interventions include promoting plantations in community forests and private lands by mobilizing community forest user groups and women’s groups. The research team will facilitate the uptake of such practices at the national level by engaging in national/provincial-level dialogues with relevant stakeholders.