Landell Mills Coffee Value Chain Project Launches Trainee Scheme to Support Rural Women in Timor-Leste
As part of the 'Inclusive, Sustainable, and Connected Coffee Value Chain' project, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Landell Mills are implementing a trainee scheme to support rural women in Timor-Leste.
The scheme, which hopes to tackle the barriers preventing women in rural areas of Timor-Leste from participating in the coffee value chain, will support five women in developing the skills needed to become coffee extension agents.
While women play a key role in the production of coffee, specifically through harvesting and processing the coffee cherries, they are often overlooked in the coffee value chain which is predominantly comprised of male farmers. Globally, there is a shortage of women in extension agent roles, an inequality which can be in part attributed to physical barriers such as the mountainous terrain of the regions which agents need to access.
Another barrier facing women is the lack of female representation in the coffee value chain. The trainee scheme hopes to counteract this by generating more positive role models for rural women in Timor-Leste by employing women in extension agent positions within the coffee value chain, thus improving representation and empowering other female participants in the project.
The scheme will feature an active learning approach; trainees will shadow local extension agents in Timor-Leste to see how they work with farmer groups within the community, benefiting from a mentor over a number of months, and will observe work being done on the coffee value chain project. By developing trainees' skills, the trainee scheme hopes to address the barriers to entry and employ some of the trainees within the project team in extension agent roles in the future.
Landell Mills' Project Manager, Patrick Lee, said: "Globally, there are a lot of barriers to women's engagement in coffee value chains, and we should be doing as much as we can to address those barriers. This trainee scheme in Timor-Leste is a small step in the right direction. Having more women in trainer roles can only be a good thing, not only for women's development, but for rural development as a whole. This initiative is one of many ways we are supporting the commodity and specialty coffee sector in Timor-Leste."
The trainee scheme will launch in October 2020.