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Feed the Future Strengthening Value Chains Activity – USAID/Democratic Republic of Congo

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Banyan Global is a sub-contractor to Tetra Tech ARD on the five-year United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Feed the Future Strengthening Value Chains (SVC) Activity. The activity is using a value chain and market systems development approach to support broad-based economic growth for agricultural businesses working in the coffee, soy, and bean value chains in the South Kivu province of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This approach combines direct technical assistance, capacity building for value chain actors, public-private partnership development, credit facilitation, marketing, behavior change communication, and advocacy.

Banyan Global provides technical leadership on gender equality and social inclusion, with a particular emphasis on youth. The work has included the development of a gender equality, social inclusion, and conflict mitigation assessment and strategy that guides activity design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and staff and partner training. The strategy concentrates on integrating gender equality in decisions about agricultural production, access to and decision-making power over productive resources, control over use of income, leadership in the community, and time use. It uses the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) tools as a starting point, with a focus on building the capacity of cooperatives to increase the benefits of participation of women and youth in farmer organizations in target value chains. This includes using innovative and evidence-based approaches such as the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) to ensure that women and youth gain access to membership, leadership, and income-generating opportunities within cooperatives. In the DRC, SVC has established 222 community-based GALS champions across three territories (Kabare, Kalehe, and Walungu) and is expanding into Idjwi. GALS has motivated participating families to start new income-generating activities, diversify their revenue streams, and invest in capital assets, resulting in more resilient livelihoods.

Banyan Global also provides technical leadership to facilitate access to financial services for agribusinesses. Banyan Global’s access to finance work includes direct support to two financial institutions, Equity Bank (formerly ProCredit) and FINCA, to help them expand their agricultural lending, leveraging a USAID Development Credit Authority (DCA) guarantee. We have provided training to the banks on agricultural risk analysis and are integrating gender equality and social inclusion by developing specific financial products and services to meet the needs of women and youth. We will also be conducting a pilot test to help agricultural cooperatives reduce their cash management risk by using mobile money to pay farmer members for their crops. In addition, Banyan Global is working with business development service providers to build the financial and business management capacity of agribusinesses.