Case study

Exploring empowerment outcomes for poor women participating in commercial maize production in Haut-Katanga

ÉLAN RDC’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Learning Series: Case Study 1

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Women and working-aged adolescent girls in DRC are some of the most marginalised in the world. 

This case study describes women's positive outcomes and economic empowerment when given more beneficial roles in the market system.

In 2014 ELAN RDC sought to engage poor women on the same terms as men as out-growers in their successful pilot partnership with a commercial farm in Haut-Katanga.

The research concludes that, despite men's highly entrenched traditional views on women's roles, the women were overwhelmingly positive about their participation in the out-grower scheme and the broader changes that this has facilitated in their lives.  

Women earn more income, have an increased influence over its use, and demonstrate greater economic resilience outside of the harvest period. 

There is compelling and self-affirmed evidence of women adopting more beneficial roles in the market system. This is seen in the formalisation and increased job security, but also in improved working conditions, including a reduction in heavy manual labour and reduced working hours. 


ÉLAN RDC is a UK Aid funded private sector development programme that uses a market systems approach to facilitate pro-poor economic growth in the DRC.