Global Resources

Women in agriculture: a toolkit for mobile services practitioners

Author: M. O'Donnell
Publisher: GSMA
Publication Date: Jun 2014

Agriculture is a major source of livelihood for most resource-poor populations in developing regions. Women play a core role in agriculture, but underperform in terms of productivity largely because they lack access to resources such as finance, skills training, and information services. To aid those seeking to address these issues, the GSMA mWomen and mAgri programmes have produced the Mobile Agricultural Services Toolkit as a guide for mobile operators, other mobile providers, and development practitioners to better serve women in this segment. It includes recommendations and tools for each stage of the product development process, as well as examples of good practices. The products and services in question include value-added services (information, advisory, matchmaking, or other), mobile financial services, and basic services (voice, SMS, and data) delivered via mobile phone. While the focus is broadly on Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, the framework may also be applied to other developing regions.

Among the examples given of innovative and effective mobile services currently being provided is the case of the African Radio Drama Association (ARDA) in Nigeria, who uses theatrical performances delivered through ‘radio listeners clubs’ to teach rural communities about climate change. ARDA’s Resource Kit provides valuable gender-sensitive guidelines for communicating with women farmers.