• Grow Asia Communications

Meet our Regional Programs Officer, Chrissa "Borj" Marey Borja!

Welcome to the team Borj! Can you tell us a little about your experience, particularly around the focus of your role with Grow Asia - on responsible agricultural investments and women’s empowerment?

Working in the private sector with both development and corporate lens has been an important part of my work, especially in the agriculture and forestry sector.

In the past years, I have been fortunate to work on projects across ASEAN. I got involved in the agriculture and forestry sector with specific focus on private sector engagement. Those previous projects included those on identifying investments towards greenhouse gas emissions reduction in the agriculture and forestry sector. It was found then that although there were available investment opportunities in the sector and companies are interested in improving their sustainability goals, there are always elements from one side or the other that hindered investments towards sustainable goals. With new developments in the sector and in the region, there are certainly changes and better models that are now in place.

I was also involved in sustainability standards that helped me understand the motivation of companies, especially agribusinesses, on complying with these standards and their challenges in areas of smallholder engagement and financing.

There are also some projects that allowed me to see the experiences of women in the sector. Corporations sometimes face challenges in their supply chain on social concerns. The importance of women in the sector was previously not intently discussed as it is now. Through the awareness and acknowledgement of companies on women’s role in sustainable supply chains, more programs were made. I was part of a team that encouraged a company to create entrepreneurial programs for women in agriculture that recognizes their ability to improve their livelihoods and their communities.

I believe that these experiences have helped me understand, in a truly tangible sense, the importance of responsible agriculture investments and the role of women in the sector and the region.

What excites you most about your role with Grow Asia?

I am excited to equally contribute and learn from this role. I believe that my past experience and the perspective I bring will contribute to the already extensive experience and knowledge-base within the Grow Asia network. This is also a platform for me to continuously learn about topics in the region, especially in sustainable agriculture. I am also looking forward to learning from the Country Partnerships on their experience driving work around responsible business and gender mainstreaming, and how they vary across the region.

What impact do you hope you contribute?

Through the programs I will be involved in, I hope to see how challenges are turned into opportunities and how sustainable financing can contribute not only towards environmental sustainability but also social change, where women in the sector are given opportunities for development. I’m looking forward to being part of the team that brings responsible investment from major organizations to smallholder farmers.

Borj can be reached at chrissa@growasia.org. To learn more about Borj, you can read her bio or visit her LinkedIn page.

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