The project, named Empowering Women Together, will give the opportunity for small businesses operated by women to sell their products across the globe.
The site offers over 200 products from 19 businesses in the participating nine countries. In Kenya, the Bean Project will be included in the initiative, as well as Full Circle, an initiative to empower businesses in developing countries.
“Empowering Women Together is a simple concept; it connects shoppers in the United States with quality products made by women-owned businesses around the world,” said Andrea Thomas, senior vice president, Walmart.
“And in doing that, it helps achieve so much more. Through Walmart’s Empowering Women Together, customers can help these suppliers increase their incomes, better their lives and create new jobs for others, and Walmart can help these suppliers gain experience with buying trends, scaling, product development and acumen they need to build their businesses.”
One beneficiary of this programme is Joy Ndungutse, who has organised a women’s group comprised of survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
“We organised about 20 women with a vision of empowering them to enhance their weaving skills, to be able to earn an income, and live adequately by community standards,” she said. Currently she has a network of 4,000 women who will benefit from an expanded market through the Empowering Women Together.
The continent has seen similar initiatives in the past, including Sasa Africa, which enables small entrepreneurs to open online shops easily through their mobile phones. The site concentrates on selling African specialities like beads and art.
“As merchants, we’re always looking for new products to share with our customers that are quality, on-trend and priced right,” said Kelly Thompson, senior vice president of merchandising, Walmart.com.
“The products from the Empowering Women Together collection deliver all of that while also giving our customers the chance to do good with their dollars – it’s a positive and powerful proposition for everyone.”