Promoting Gender Equality in Latin America
Promoting Gender Equality in Latin America: Fyffes empowers women fruit farmers through digital tool
Daisy Gonzales Alfaro works at the Fyffes banana farm Finca Esmeralda in Costa Rica:
“The gender equality program helped me a lot. It motivated me to study again and I learned that we are all equal.”
HERessentials, a digital educational app
Gender equality and women empowerment
Fyffes Gender Equality Program
As a result, in 2019 the Fyffes Gender Equality Program was developed in partnership with IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative, and BSR. This program helps identify and address equality challenges faced by women in the workplace and in their communities. The overall target: to provide gender equality training to 100% of people at Fyffes’ own sites in Latin America by 2025 and at 50% of its suppliers’ sites by 2030. To help establish the framework for the program, IDH provided part of the funding as well as key learnings from its successful gender initiative in the Ethiopian flower industry. These learnings were initially applied at Fyffes fruit farms in Honduras and Costa Rica. Since then, a lot has happened, and the program has expanded significantly. One prominent example is the digital tool “HERessentials”, introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide training on gender equality digitally.
HERessentials: useful tutorials and improving digital literacy in times of COVID-19
“We looked at a COVID-proof way to keep delivering on our Gender Equality Program during the pandemic, when women were particularly affected on various levels. They were not only impacted economically, but they also had to endure additional stress and uncertainty in terms of finances, family planning, and healthcare at home. That is where HERessentials came in; an app to help guide and engage workers in a safe and socially distant way,” says Stella Davis, Assistant Manager Sustainability Department at Fyffes. Based in Costa Rica, she oversees the implementation of the program across Fyffes farms in Latin America.
HERessentials has been developed by BSR’s HERproject (TM) that strives to empower low-income women working in global supply chains. HERessentials is centred around a tablet-based app which uses animations, videos and games that illustrate everyday situations and problems that workers face both in the workplace and at home, as well as pre- and post- quizzes to gauge learnings. “The app provides training around three key areas: communication, family planning and health, and financial resilience. For example, it advises on how to navigate difficult conversations with a supervisor or at home, how to handle health issues and stress, and how to deal with budgeting and digital payments, such as transferring money to family members,” explains Stella. At the same time, using the tablet helps to improve overall digital and tech literacy. And a big plus particularly in rural areas: the app works offline – that means it can be used directly in the fields where connectivity is usually low.