Supporting business opportunities for rural women in east and southern Africa

Women in Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Uganda experience disadvantages and gender inequalities in labour and production. There is a supportive political environment in these countries for women's empowerment, however implementation is generally weak. A collaboration between the University of Zimbabwe, Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, and the Collaborative Centre for Gender and Development, this project aims to empower rural women economically through the development of business enterprises and decent job creation.

This project seeks to investigate rural women's farming, agro-processing and other livelihood activities, and explore good practices in promoting decent employment, entrepreneurship, and empowerment. The research will identify factors and policy instruments influencing rural women’s choice of activities, explore how best to make agriculture more rewarding, and determine the types of entrepreneurship that are likely to result in economic empowerment of women. It will also build the capacity of women involved in small-scale agriculture through partnerships with the private sector, especially around marketing and quality control.

The project will examine the structural barriers that constrain women from becoming more innovative and limit their ability to take advantage of the opportunities available for business development. It will also identify and explore the opportunities that exist off farm for rural women, including activities that tend to be male-dominated and of higher value. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, this research project will provide comparisons between the three countries as well as generate new knowledge that can inform best practices and innovative interventions for other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Thursday, March 19, 2020


24 months

IDRC Officer

Paul Okwi

Total funding

CA$ 599,400


Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Sara Feresu


University of Zimbabwe

Institution Country


Institution Website

Project Leader

Suzan Kavuma


Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment

Institution Country


Institution Website

Project Leader

Masheti Masinjila


Collaborative Centre for Gender and Development

Institution Country


Institution Website