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In: Business and Management

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Women leading cashew into the Future
Leveraging women’s roles in the Indian cashew processing industry
Concept note - February 2016

Background

While the cashew industry is taking important steps towards mechanization, negative side effects are that many female workers beyond their 30ies might lose their job with little hope for alternative decent employment. Besides, young people lose interest to work in the cashew processing industry threatening the sector in the long run.
Being an important player in the cashew market and in the frame of its Buying into the Future sustainability strategy, Intersnack Procurement (ISP) proposed to its key supplier Rajkumar Impex (RI) to join forces in the commitment to counteract this tendency prejudicial to the cashew sector and their common business. Rajkumar accepted the invitation. Civic stakeholders i.e. ICCO Cooperation, in particular ICCo India, and BoP Innovation Center through the initiative ‘Women as Inclusive Business partners, will be key partners in the design and implementation of the project.

Vision
Women as Inclusive Business partners in the cashew industry

Mission
Partners recognize that the - often hidden- potential of women can lead the cashew industry into higher efficiency standards, increased product and processes quality and greater gender equality. To seize this potential and position, project partners envisage a project with a focus on:

* Enhancing women’s access and agency to upgrade their position in the cashew sector * Enlarging women’s scope for work opportunities in and beyond the cashew processes * Active promotion of the aspiration level in women to position work in the cashew industry as a ‘Profession with Pride’ * Enabling forward looking cashew companies to look upon women as key to the success of their business.

Objectives

* To enable affected women and the workers of the future, to receive the education and the technical skills required by a mechanized cashew industry. * Through a gender balanced perspective, the project aims at engaging with Technical / Knowledge / Vocational Training Institutes and other chain actors to develop a tailor made program to provide RI’ female workers with the soft and hard skills required by the changing industry standards. * Through this project the cashew industry will: * achieve higher efficiency standards * increased product and processes quality * greater gender equality through the empowerment of women working in the sector * Improved Human Resources Management (HRM) in line with sustainable business practices.

The project aims at directly benefitting xx women and their families in India and xx in Vietnam over two and half years. It will also engage all management and male staffs to achieve sustained outcomes. Indirectly it will benefit xxx women and their families across the cashew sector in both countries.
The education and training offered will empower women beyond the cashew industry as well and therefore contribute to women’s economic empowerment and community development at large.

Approach

Due to the innovative nature of the initiative, we envisage articulating the project in three phases, over two and half years, to allow the integration of the results and learnings as we proceed:

1. Pilot project in one Rajkumar Impex’s factory (15 months): a new methodology will be developed and tested through a sample number of 100 women who enlarged their scope for work opportunities in the cashew industry, engagement of male staff and management is secured. 2. Project roll-out across Rajkumar Impex’s factories (10 months): Based on the results of the pilot, roll out of activities among another 100 women (total 200 women involved) across RKI’s factories (another batch in Tuticorin and new location in India). Engagement of male staff and management is secured. 3. Validation and integration (6 months): Evaluate the outcome of the 2 year project and reengineer (adjusted as required, further integrate) the business process of the company including expansion to Vietnam (total xx women in both countries). The experiences and model will be shared across the Indian cashew sector.
Use the results of the project as “best practice” for the cashew industry as a whole: forward looking companies in the cashew industry will reposition the role of women to be competitive in the market.

Stakeholders, budgeting and timeline

The success of the project will depend on the proper engagement of the following stakeholders

1. Intersnack: initiator, co-designer, co-implementer and coordinator 2. Rajkumar Impex: co-designer, key implementer and local project management 3. BoP Innovation Center: co-designer, co-facilitator, learning 4. ICCo India: co-designer, networking, , impact assessment, reporting 5. External resource persons and trainers

The budget required for the implementation of phase 1 (15 months pilot) of the project is € 184.481.
Of this amount 23% will be contributed by Rajkumar Impex and 15% by Intersnack Procurement. Total private sector contribution: 38%. Contribution ICCO Cooperation: 2%.
The additional budget required for the execution of the project will be € 109.742 or 60%

Budget overview Euro | % | Total | 184.481 | 100% | Intersnack Contribution | 28.160 | 15% | Rajkumar Contribution | 42.315 | 23% | ICCo India Contribution | 4.264 | 2% | External Contribution requested | 109.742 | 60% |

The pilot project will start as soon as external funding is secured.

Contact

Ms. Daria Toschi, Manager Sustainability Development, Intersnack Procurement B.V.
d.toschi@intersnack-procurement.com / Phone: Off: +31 (0)314370226/ Mob: +31 (0)610600925

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[ 1 ]. See: Women as Inclusive Business partners
[ 2 ]. Capacity to obtain greater economic resources: access opportunities, services and assets
[ 3 ]. Capacity for decision making and acting on opportunities…...

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