UNITLIFE presents: Women’s empowerment for a more sustainable and prosperous future

For this third edition of the UNITLIFE Online Events Series, UNITLIFE partnered with UN Women France to start a conversation about how women’s empowerment is at the centerpiece of building a more sustainable and prosperous future.

The recognition of women's work, their participation in economic life, and their access to financial autonomy, are key factors in their empowerment.

Women’s empowerment is critical to the well-being of societies because it is the pathway to inclusive and sustainable economic growth – a pre-requisite for solving major development challenges, such as climate change and malnutrition. When women gain economic independence, they invest in the nutrition of their children, giving them a greater chance to break the circle of poverty.

On 20 March, UNITLIFE and UN Women France brought together professionals committed to fight the economic inequalities that women face. Through their experiences, speakers explored how communities thrive when women access employment and economic resources.

Raissa Okoi, journalist at BBC Afrique and moderator of the event concluded the event in a simple way:

Women’s empowerment ultimately positively impacts nutrition, and therefore health, and therefore education and therefore development and living conditions​.

- Raissa Okoi, journalist at BBC Afrique

Siny Samba is the CEO of Le Lionceau, a Senegalese baby-food SME. She is also a strong advocate of good nutrition during the first 1,000 days and promotes women’s empowerment. She sources the ingredients Le Lionceau needs locally and has developed the food-processing skills of women, enabling them to increase their incomes and teaching them about the nutritious need of their children. Moreover, Siny aims to teach women in the communities about good nutrition, therefore she regularly shares information and good practices on social media and in local media. To increase understanding and ownership by everyone, she makes is accessible by speaking in local language.

Ali Rakib, anthropologist and consultant in intangible cultural heritage shared his experiences of working with women in more remotely places. They are the gatekeepers of traditional knowhow. He explained how he worked with them to show them the importance and value of their knowledge.

Chef Pierre Thiam is the founder of Yolele Foods, an African food company that creates income opportunity for women smallholder farmers by connecting them with global markets for traditional climate-resilient and high-nutritive ingredients like fonio or morninga. This increases their incomes which can be invested back in the well-being of their children and families. Yolele Foods has provided the cooperatives involved with better equipment to increase productivity, but also enable them to transform their crops. In the approach of the company, it is important they offer products that will be of interest to their target market, the US. Within a couple of years, Yolele Foods has developed its network of distribution from a few stores in New York City to a thousand across the US, offering clients forgotten crops in the from of chips, flavored rice, etc.