Technological innovations created by women to achieve greater equity and resilience

Sustainable agriculture
Three women take the technological lead in Bolivia to reduce gender inequality and increase resilience to climate change in the small-scale agricultural sector, the main source of self-employment and income generation for women; as well as food supply for the population.

The technical and technological options that allow responding and adapting to future climatic conditions, mainly aimed at small-scale production, are alternatives which are promoted and developed in Bolivia by the Inclusive Markets project, where women play the leading role in achieving innovation and the propagation of this technology. Today March 8, International Women's Day, we highlight three experiences of innovative women who identified technological alternatives to offer solutions for the needs of agricultural women.

Casandra Hidalgo

leads a team that designed a water measurement circuit using sensors in the soil for agricultural crops in the valleys of La Paz. These devices indicate when it is necessary to irrigate, optimizing the use of water and improving crop production and product quality. Another benefit generated by this technology is saving time for women producers by providing them with information on when there is a water shortage on their plot and where to apply irrigation uniformly. It also allows long-distance monitoring of the plots since they are generally far from the place where they live.

Yesica Yana

is Bolivia's first female drone pilot. She does crop spraying services with the use of a drone (BIODRON) provided by the company Biotop in Bolivia. This technological alternative reduces the costs of spraying agricultural chemicals for producers in the Bolivian highlands; it also improves the efficiency in the application and contributes to reduce the use of chemical products. Also, a comparative measurement study, carried out between women and men who use this service, the study found that this saves time for women because, in addition to carrying out spraying activities in the traditional way in the field, they also are responsible for preparing food early in the day.

The women who use the service also acquired new knowledge about pest control, new information on organic or chemical products, and improved crop management, which ultimately has repercussions in reducing costs in agricultural activity and optimizing water use.

In the following video, Yesica Yana tells us about her work experience and her love for the countryside (in Spanish with English subtitles):

Maria Elena Ferrel

is the manager of the company Ecoenergía Falk, dedicated to creating, improving, producing, implementing and marketing renewable energy solutions. This company, together with the Inclusive Markets Project, supports the development of rural communities in the country, and pioneered the introduction and validation of a new technological offer called "solar scarecrows" to control the birds that cause great losses to small-scale producers of fruits and that consumes a lot of the time, mainly of women and children who scare away birds during the pre-harvest season, an activity called "birding".

This innovation uses acoustic deterrents; devices that emit a sound to scare away birds in fruit crops, which work through solar panels.

"The support of the project Inclusive Markets has been very important, as it has allowed the equipment to be tested in the field and has given us the chance to carry out the different tests and adjustments, which would not have been feasible as a company, since the returns should be done as quickly as possible. In this way, we are able to have the appropriate equipment for the needs of women."
Maria Elena Ferrel, Manager Ecoenergía Falk
Maria Elena Ferrel, manager of the company Ecoenergía Falk, testing the technology of the "solar scarecrow".
Testing the solar scarecrow in rural communities made by Eng.  Lizette Condori of PROFIN Foundation.

Inclusive Markets is implemented in Bolivia by Swisscontact, financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Sustainable agriculture
Inclusive Markets in Bolivia
The main objective of the program is "to improve the living conditions of the target population by helping them reduce their poverty situation". The purpose is "to increase the opportunities, capacities and income of the target population".The Inclusive Markets project is implemented in Bolivia with funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and...