Are agriculture programs supporting women to improve their livelihood?

@IFAD Susan Beccio

Are agriculture programs supporting women to improve their livelihood?

Dear members, 

Women constitute the majority of the agricultural labour force in small-scale and subsistence farming. According to FAO, 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries is comprised by women and yet they account for an estimated two-thirds of the world's 600 million poor livestock keepers. (http://www.fao.org/gender/resources/infographics/the-female-face-of-farming/en/).

What are the lessons learnt from agriculture programs with regards to the activities of the women in the agricultural sector?  Which recommendations by evaluators have made (or could have made) a positive difference in the farming practices as well as the livelihood of these women and their families? To what extent have the programs empowered the women? Have the programs encouraged and supported women to become entrepreneurs, moving from subsistence to commercial farming? Are the initiatives of agriculture programs more male focused than female focused? Should programs be gender free or gender focused?

I look forward to your responses.

Kind regards,

Jackie

This discussion is now closed. Please contact info@evalforward.org for any further information.

Dear Colleagues,

I wish to thank you for taking the time to join this discussion, share your experience and web links to very informative documents. Please allow me to summarize some of your comments and share my reflections following this discussion on women in agriculture which is certainly an important topic as demonstrated by your interest and contribution.

Several of you have pointed out the challenges faced by women; these include no access to Land Ownership; lack of financing; chores and household responsibilities. More importantly, is the lack of voice of women in decision making which can be due to the cultural and societal norms; perception that women are illiterate hence cannot contribute to decision making. Furthermore, technology is perceived as a male domain.

It was also noted that while evaluations found that agricultural production by women beneficiaries increased as a result of their participation in agricultural activities, there was less evidence to suggest that they were individually diversifying their agricultural products and breaking into agri-business and self-employment as expected. This is to say that women continue to practice subsistence farming which is not going to move them and their family from poverty.

It appears that we have yet to find ways for women develop formal and informal support innovation networks with others;  ways for women to exercise decision-making power in intra-household discussions with their spouses, and extended family especially when culture limits this kind of interaction. Not the least is how do we get men to support women including their spouse to innovate and move from subsistence farming to entrepreneurship. Should we say moving women from the invisibles to strong actors along the agriculture value chains?

I also note with interest in your contributions that urban farming especially on roof top is now an activity that is being practiced. I have not yet seen in my work and It would be interesting to see what data exist for this type of activity.  Sadly, you have noted that monitoring systems are not always in place to measure the results of agriculture programs on women performance beyond increased productivity. Furthermore, some of you are finding that program managers still think that M&E exercises are expensive and require significant effort; hence the lack of efficient M&E system.

The Oxford Dictionary provides the following definition for Empowerment which says

To empower somebody (to do something) is to give someone more control over their own life or the situation they are as in “The movement actively empowered women and gave them confidence in themselves.”

This will become more necessary as we try to meet the challenges of the SDGs since statistics tell us that there are increasing number of households being headed by females (for a summary of World bank data please see http://www.factfish.com/statistic/female%20headed%20households). Women are often left in charge as their spouse has left to wage wars and/or have returned maimed; left to work in the cities; have never married; are widowed or the man has simply deserted the family.

Thank you again for your contributions. I hope that we will have more opportunities to discuss this topic in the future and that you will be reporting that women and marginalized groups are moving from subsistence farming to engagement in agricultural market expansion. J

Jackie Yiptong Avila, Bsc, MBA, DPE

International Consultant

Program Evaluator; Survey Methodologist

Ottawa, Canada

Dear vibrant members,

Am so very, very grateful for this topic. 

I can't agree more that small scale agriculture, especially in rural set up is a milestone  in  women way of life. Just as an African proverb, " wealth come from the soil." 

Today,  the single mothers,  widows, impoverished families living along Lake Victoria are assured of atleast one  meal in a day, and their children's school fee, uniforms and therefore happiness and peace, the rate of school drop out  due to absolute poverty is slowly going down. Today our mothers here know are saving, have finacial pools,  belong to finance saccos... 

These women are also engauged in agribusiness, getting fruits, veges and cerials from their farms to the nearby markets- directly to consumers who buy at a better price No more exploitation by middlemen, and am very happy to see some industrious mothers here balance  the commerce and agriculture so well despite owning retails and  wholesale as agriculture. Old is gold, they say. 

Even though women are the majority in my rural agricultural activities, men are also in demand, mainly for technical activities or that  need some extra energy.  The myth that a woman cannot do this and that  is still endemic over here, for example,  connecting water pipes and the water pump,  spraying of pests and pathogens  are done my men, also you find that in every  working group of five people,  a man is present and the benefits are enjoyed equally. 

I really believe that if it were not for climate change, abnormal number of pests and diseases and climate change, this women could be living somewhere better, somewhere above the dollar.  Good schools, hospitals,  roads, et al could be resultant products of the present. 

Thank you!

As a follow up to my earlier post, I’d like to share some of the lessons from the evaluation of the Joint Programme on Rural Women Economic Empowerment in implemented by UN Women, FAO, IFAD and WFP.

In Rwanda, the Programme targeted the most marginalized women in society (e.g. single mothers, HIV+ women, former sex workers) to support their empowerment and participation in agribusiness enterprises.

Targeting vulnerable and marginalized women requires substantial resources and the need to address the whole Theory of Change for impact-level results. 

 Some of the challenges and limitations that the evaluation found were the following:

 i) Women face more individual barriers to training attendance and knowledge transfer, due to their heavy workload on both productive and domestic tasks. In addition, the low literacy level of the target group curtails their progress into leadership roles and influences male perceptions regarding women capacity to lead. Women engaged felt it difficult to attend trainings and group meetings, as well as find time for making productive decisions regarding harvests, assets, and credit and participate in community leadership. This compromised women empowerment and limited their subsequent integration into other programmes targeting larger groups of beneficiaries.

ii) In some cases, recruiting marginalized groups into cooperatives resulted in unintended effects at the onset of activities, such as increased experience of social stigma or household disputes as a result of being included in public spaces; such cases call for more attention to culturally-sensitive initiatives and for awareness raising that goes beyond the target group involving the whole community.   

iii) While the evaluation found evidence that beneficiaries were increasing their agricultural production as a result of their participation in programme activities, there was less evidence to suggest that they were individually diversifying their agricultural products and breaking into agri-business and self-employment as expected. Notably, diversification of production has largely occurred at a small-scale through kitchen gardens, varying the types of nutritious foods consumed within household but not translating into opportunities to start processing activities. This limited development into agribusiness despite training and equipment provided was also partly due to the fact that beneficiaries were not adequately prepared to respond to market demand in terms of quantity and consistency of supply and of certification of products.

iv) Evidence from the evaluation also indicates that although funding gaps limited programme effectiveness and efficiency in Rwanda, notable progress has been made in increasing women’s production and access to finance, thereby increasing women’s experienced incomes and financial independence. Fewer results related to leadership and policy change, as well as other longer-term outcomes, such as increased and sustainable market access and agro- processing leading to market-responsive business creation and income-generation were realized.

 

Dolgion Aldar

Dolgion Aldar

Independent Research Institute of Mongolia

[Contribution originally shared through the Gender and Evaluation Community of Pratice, where this discussion is cross-posted https://gendereval.ning.com/forum/topics/join-the-discussion-on-women-and-agriculture-on-evalforward]

I would like to share my thoughts for the question 'What are the lessons learnt from agriculture programs with regards to the activities of the women in the agricultural sector?'

1) Many agriculture programs seem to have weak program designs which pose several risks, including the following:

  • It makes it harder for those involved in the program (e.g. program staff, farmers, local government) to have a clear and common understanding with regards to the program and how certain activities bring about change.
  • Most programs have weak M&E design and processes. There is a common misconception among program managers that M&E exercises are expensive and require significant effort. Due to lack of focus and understanding about what is important for the program, less relevant data is collected and data is not used for making decisions during the lifespan of agricultural programs.

Selection of farmers (women) to participate in programs can be biased:

  • Many programs I have evaluated were implemented in societies where the heads of villages or communities hold significant power. At early stage of the programs, these leaders were informed first and they, in turn, select/propose who will participate in the program. Most programs require endorsement of the local leaders (directly or indirectly). This poses significant risks of exclusion and under-representation of certain groups and sensitive to local politics.

I can not but agree with John Weatherhogg analysis that access to drinking water is a critical factor that can free women to assist with more economic activities. Really all forms of domestic drudgery relief should be addressed as a key to economic assistance. I was very interested to note that the original rural mechanization in many parts of Africa was the introduction of maize mills. I think this has totally replace the heavy pounding of maze and other grains. It is sometime more effective to address some of these side issues than concentrating of crop and animal husbandry, most of which is badly compromised.

Please allow me to elaborate on my previous comment and add a few web references. Carefully consider how technology, particularly agronomic technology, is developed and what it does and what it cannot do. Most agronomic technology is developed though replicated small plot trials. These do a very good job of determining the physical potential of an area and technology, but days nothing about the operational requirements, in terms of labor or access to mechanization, to extend that innovation across the rest of the field, farm or smallholder community, with the regrettable assumption that it is not a problem and the only thing needed is a good extension educational program. 

Unfortunately, the operational requirements for agriculture production falls into an administrative void between the agronomist and the social scientists. Who in an agriculture development project is responsible to determine the labor requirements the availability of the necessary labor and the rational compromises crop or animal husbandry when that labor is not available? When you accept these short coming in the development effort you can quickly appreciate that smallholder farmers, both men and women, are massively overextended and cannot take full advantage of the technology promoted for their benefit in the timely manner required. There is really a genocide component of our agriculture assistance effort as we try and obligate smallholder farmers to exert over 4000 kcal/day when they only have access to 2000 to 2500 kcal/day. Resulting in limited work days and prolong time to complete any agronomic activity including up to 8 weeks for basic crop establishment.

Thus the critical need across the board is drudgery relief by any means. This will then expedite crop establishment, yield potential and food security for the entire family. As mentioned in the previous comment relieving the domestic drudgery through better access to water, grain mills, easier access to fuel can free up a lot of time for women to become involved in more economic activities either assisting their partners with farm work or other enterprises, but without reduction in domestic drudgery how much time do women have to become involved in economic activities. Unfortunately, the daily need for domestic chores has to take priority over the economic opportunities.

Please review the following webpage:

https://webdoc.agsci.colostate.edu/smallholderagriculture/BrinksDrudger…

https://webdoc.agsci.colostate.edu/smallholderagriculture/OperationalFe… 

https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/integration-an-under… 

https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/calorie-energy-balan…

https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/1028-2/

https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/assisting-smallholde…

https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/most-effective-proje…

https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/indirect-enhancement…

https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/indirect-resource-en…

Thank you

Apologies if the following is already very well known. Possibly the best possible entry point for helping women in  rural situations is drinking water projects. In most countries collection of drinking water for the family is women's traditional responsibility. When a drinking water investment project is implemented thought has to be given to maintenance. This often means formation of a women's group to collect the small amounts of money required to maintain the pump/well/pipeline. This can then develop into a small savings and loans operation or other economic activity. This sort of arrangement worked well with the watershed rehabilitation projects financed by the World Bank in India 20-25 years ago. The inclusion of the drinking water component was a major contributing factor to the overall project success. For this reason i firmly beliieve it is always preferable to have drinking water as a component of a larger rural development project rather than self standing water projects which tragically miss the chance of more general economic development.

Kanchan Lama

Kanchan Lama

gender specialist, Nepal

[Contribution originally shared through the Gender and Evaluation Community of Pratice, where this discussion is cross-posted https://gendereval.ning.com/forum/topics/join-the-discussion-on-women-and-agriculture-on-evalforward]

1. What are the lessons learnt from agriculture programs with regards to the activities of the women in the agricultural sector?  

A recent assessment on the status of women from diverse groups of communities in accessing agricultural services and sharing benefits in market sector, implemented by USAID funded KISAN II project, reports   on emerging opportunities to engage women in a much broader way in terms of involvement in commercial agriculture and market systems. Even the private sectors in general recognize that women are easier group to engage for market expansion than many marginalized groups which are often seen as requiring more work or entail more ‘risk’. However due to discriminatory social norms and values restrict women’s mobility in certain specific communities under religious and cultural systems. For example, the Muslim women are the most restricted in mobility due to their cultural and social norms. The study also points out to the need to develop special strategies by agricultural development programmes to include programme on gender /social awareness (sensitization) to discourage discriminatory gender norms as one priority activity which must include appropriate institutional accountability to ensure that M&E system address that improvements in participation, leadership, empowerment are measured and reported through qualitative assessment of gender impacts along with quantitative evidences.    

2. Which recommendations by evaluators have made (or could have made) a positive difference in the farming practices as well as the livelihood of these women and their families?  

Involvement of women farmers in Farmers Field Schools, Leader farmers’ role and in managing agricultural cooperatives through specially focused programmes have resulted in enhanced economic advancement of women farmers. Nevertheless, this empowerment has yet to become reflected in advancing women and men’s equal power sharing regarding decisions regarding productive resources, e.g., land and agricultural products. Another most common important recommendation frequently given by evaluators is to provide women farmers appropriate technology to save time and labour. The countries providing such alternate technologies definitely can claim an increase in production of agricultural goods as well as improving household nutrition and well-being . In this regard, Nepal remains far behind compared to some other countries in Asian region. Although there is an increasing concern on providing support to develop climate resilient agricultural approaches, yet there is a low  priority on providing such appropriate technologies in the remote areas . Contiguous research and services are  preconditions for the mountain farmers as of immediate action. Another strategic recommendation forwarded by majority gender assessment is that of creating alternate system of land ownership so that women can take economic decisions without any fear of loosing control over household resources. The relationship of agriculture development programmes to that of raising awareness and status of household nutrition is very important.  Many agriculture development programmes seldom address such coordination. The Global Agriculture and Food Security support project (GAFSP)” implemented in several countries, (funded by World Bank) has established certain examples in Nepal that of coordination among Department of Health, Livestock, Agriculture to operationalize the project where agricultural development activities are implemented through Village mothers Health groups involved in UNICEF’s “Thousand golden days of motherhood”. The programme strategy was also influenced by already proven successful programme of combining home gardening with behavioural change in nutritional food intake on Suahara (healthy meal) introduced by Hellen Keller International and scaled up by various organizations including Save the Children in Nepal.  

A useful recommendation usually given by evaluators for developing and engaging female extension  staff for effective communication between service providers and women farmers, has not yet been practiced by government agencies to a satisfactory level. Also due to lack of institutional coordination between irrigation and agriculture departments hinders the overall outcome in agricultural production which ultimately impacts household economy and well being. 

3. To what extent have the programs empowered the women?  

In many cases, by default women farmers are taking leadership in agriculture production and cooperative management. However in most cases it relates to their labour participation. Their secondary position in household decisions make them dependent on the formal marketing matters. Empowerment of women happening differently for women from different socio -cultural contexts, by age, marital status, religious background and in some cases, by educational level. An overall view is that although participation of women farmers in agriculture development programmes has increased, their participation in policy development , planning and monitoring is not ensured by majority programmes; this is what must be addressed as a serious gap during designing and implementing agriculture development programmes. The voice of the marginalized women farmers need to be documented and responded in all agriculture research, monitoring and evaluation in order to measure gender transformative changes. 

4. Have the programs encouraged and supported women to become entrepreneurs, moving from subsistence to commercial farming?  

Programs have introduced leased farming for the small holders, landless and excluded groups, including women. Women are encouraged to participate in the value chain processes. Nonetheless, efforts are rather initiated by donor supported development projects. The mis term and Final Evaluations usually recommend for strengthening empowerment aspects, which does not normally reflect in upscaling of the lessons of successes on women’s empowerment. Institutional transformation on women empowerment is weak which eventually impacts the achievement of women empowerment in agricultural market sector related decisions. Women demonstrate leadership in informal subsistence level farming . Although agricultural cooperatives provide an avenue for improving commercialization part by women. However in absence of gender transformative institutional culture, women often fail to obtain appropriate services, technology, resources and information to play a significant role in the commercial farming. Thus it can be said that women empowerment has been a slogan for some actors in agriculture which needs to be translated into practical behaviour among institutions , most importantly at household level by removing all the structured barriers against women’s decisions making over productive assets and resources. There is a serious need to consolidate the efforts to mainstream empowerment into commercial agriculture systems.       

5. Are the initiatives of agriculture programs more male focused than female focused? Should programs be gender free or gender focused? 

Thee is a mixed realization in the agriculture sector development programmes of focusing on women and men. For labour related activities women are focused and when there will be any important consultations, meetings for agricultural planning, budgeting and institutional arrangements for service providers, women are formally excluded and men are focused. The excuses given in general are that women do not have time to attend such consultations. The distance of meetings venues also fails to attract women, who usually are responsible for household work management. Another excuse often seem to be that women cannot rad and write the formal documents. The crux of the problem is that women’s role as the PRIMARY FARMER has yet to be formally recognised and established at all levels and for all activities. This role must be rationalized on the basis of the share of workload and existing indigenous knowledge of the farmers in every field of agriculture. Thus programms should be designed as “gender focused” in order to address the deep rooted issues of power discriminations at the household, community and service provider institutions.    

 

Some citation from Farnworth, C.R., Jafry, T., Lama, K., Nepali, S.C., & Badstue, L. (2017). From working in the wheat field to managing wheat: Women innovators in Nepal. 

The key actors in rural advisory services remain prey to believing in myths that cast women only as helpers in farming, or as managing the home. This in turn creates difficulties for women attempting to obtain training, finance, and other mechanisms for making their participation in innovation processes easier. Distinguishing between widely held norms and the reality of what is actually happening is essential. Gender norms remain important because they help to structure expectations of what men and women should do, but in myriad ways these norms are being ‘hollowed out’ and renegotiated in ways which support important local values yet allow the freedoms necessary to move forward and develop capacity to innovate. Understanding, recognising, and building on change processes is essential if innovation processes in wheat are to be supported by researchers, policy-makers, development partners and rural advisory services. Suggestions to break conceptual lock-in for researchers, rural advisory services and development partners are provided below. 

“The potential areas of enquiry include: How do women develop formal and informal support innovation networks with other women and other networks? In what ways do women exercise their decision-making power in intra-household discussions with their spouses, and extended family, in order to innovate? How can men, including men decision-makers at community level, be encouraged to support women as innovators? How are gender norms shifting to accommodate women as innovators, and are changes to norms likely to be institutionalised?”   C. R. Farnworth et al. 

Kanchan Lama

Gender specialist and member of the Gender and Evaluation CoP

Nepal

 

Bintou Nimaga

Bintou Nimaga

Hello Hadi Khalil

Thank you for bringing up this topic which is topical today and especially in developing countries. Urban agriculture is practiced with limited means and especially with space lacking. In my home country, experiences are developing more and more on the occupation of the roofs of apartments where women and men grow market gardening especially. 
This type of production is also favorable for organic production, because the reduction in space means that producers have to focus on the quality of production in order to recover prices. You will also agree that organic farming has positive impacts on household health. However, this type of production needs to be scaled up, through training and support to give it all the chance to emerge alongside conventional agricultural production.

Dear Jackie,

This is a very interesting topic indeed.

We have been implementing a joint program on women economic empowerment in Rwanda since 2012. The joint program on Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women (JP-RWEE), is a joint effort between WFP, FAO, IFAD and UN Women, currently operating in 7 countries including Rwanda, this collaboration between the four UN agencies and other partners has generated significant results on the ground, across its four outcomes (Outcome 1. Rural women have improved food and nutrition security. Outcome 2. Rural women have increased income to secure their livelihoods and create wealth. Outcome 3. Rural women have enhanced leadership and participation in their communities and in rural institutions, and in shaping laws, policies and programmes. Outcome 4. A more gender-responsive policy environment is secured for the economic empowerment of rural women.

The overall objective of the joint program is to economically empower rural women farmers to increase their production potential, access to and control over productive resources and services critical to food security and nutrition, and enables them to have a voice in their households and communities and enable them to gain greater access to high-value markets while strengthening their resilience to climate change.

The program was recently reviewed, and we saw a number of lessons, good practices, changes in the rural women's livelihoods, through their engagement in entrepreneurship, climate smart agriculture, VSLAs and leadership among others. I will confirm whether this could now be shared so I could extract some of the review findings, including lessons learnt.

Best,

Judith

Salutation everyone,

I think the gender dimension is very important in agriculture programs. In Senegal for example the GAFSP MMI pilot project is focused on women and youth, the most vulnerable to food acces and welbeing. Wathever the evaluator must do, the difference between rural women entrepreneurs who have generated incomes by commercialisation and women small agriculture who have generated nature incomes for their families' food needs in a small land needs to be considered. For many women in rural areas the agriculture activities are a support for families' needs and if you evaluate the results on the entrepreneurships side  you risk to have a unadopted approch. Sometimes in some of speculation we find women entrepreneurs but for the majority the activity of women in agricultural sector in the rural areas is for families daily subsistence and for the evaluator it is very important to focus to the women contribution in respective families subsistences from her activities with quantitative and qualitative tools. It is too very important to invite men to give her means for women contribution in the families and to understand how they perceive the women activities in the families and outside the families. Many of the women lands are next to the house or the Community space (commonly called "champs de case")...

Greeting everyone, 

Very good and interesting topic. My master thesis was about the role of urban agriculture in Gaza strip.

Women have the ability to convert agricultural products into food and nutritional security and they are primarily responsible for taking care and feeding of the family (Slater, 2001). And according to World Bank (2006), food processing and production within and around cities participate in supplying the urban poor with safe, affordable, and reliable food and at the same time improve income generation and create more jobs to a large number of women.

Moreover, Urban agriculture is taking place close to home, making it more suitable for women as they do not need to leave their children or their household burdens to go far for the farms. According to (Korongo, 1999), women are an important category of economic and social actors who facilitate the role of the family in human survival in their various multiple roles. And therefore seemingly the present economic hardships in Gaza strip force women to accept this responsibility, whether or not there is a cultural obligation for women's productive role.

In my thesis, it was found in my study area that 78.3 percent of the respondents believe that household woman plays an important role in urban agriculture activities, while only 21.7 percent suggest that the women are not involved in UA activates. 

All the best,

Hadi

Dear Jackie,

Just a modest contribution in response to the important and relevant questions you raised on the role and place reserved for women in projects and programs relating to the agricultural sector. 
I begin with the last question to say that taking into account the gender theme is essential if we want to achieve the objectives:  induce positive and lasting effects and impact for all in the communities with which we work as stakeholders.
In my opinion, the gender approach is the participatory approach par excellence in terms of development, if we give ourselves the necessary means for its proper implementation (ensuring its integration throughout the project and program cycle; using confirmed expertise on the issue; ensuring that all activities contributing to the management of this theme are budgeted, etc.).
Regarding lessons learned; the effects and impacts of projects and programs for women as well as the various recommendations made on this subject; I would recommend, as examples, to refer particularly to the evaluation reports of the FAO country programs in Burkina and Niger; carried out under the aegis of OED in recent years. For Burkina Faso, the evaluation covered the period 2010-2015. While for Niger the evaluation extended over the period 2011-2016. The issues raised in this discussion were raised to some extent in the terms of reference for this exercise.
Answers to certain questions on the participation and empowerment of women can also be drawn from the rich documentation produced by FAO and its partners on the "DIMITRA Listening Club" tool used in Niger as well as in Senegal, (for cases that I have had the opportunity to visit through evaluations in recent years).
Sorry to have been general in my reaction but I think that for this theme it will be more useful to use real documentary sources to have more precise answers.

 

Hello All,

Thanks for initiating discussions around the theme women and agriculture. It is very important to the realization of poverty reduction and climate resilience for smallholders especially in developing countries.

Under Nema Chosso Project funded by IFAD in The Gambia the target group is defined as women and youth and this defines clearly what the key activities of the project should be; ie rice and horticulture commodities and commercialization through rural entrepreneurship.

So the lessons learned are as follows:

1. To better reach out to women smallholders it is important to target the key commodities women most engage in in agricultural production;

2. Providing support for women to access capital is a catalyst for transformation of women in subsistence agriculture. Through a matching Grant scheme women beneficiaries have purchased tractors and providing important services (land preparation) around their communities, providing youth employment and generating significant incomes.

3. An innovative model called agricultural value chain interaction platform by the project has orchestrated the emergence of women and youth enterprises along the rice and horticulture value chains. Through the interaction platform information about key opportunities for entrepreneurship are discussed and shared so interested beneficiaries are supported to start and nurture business enterprises. This is complemented with some limited value chain financing.

Thanks. I am available to share more information on the experiences of the Nema Chosso Project in The Gambia , for which I am M&E Specialist and also working significantly in knowledge management and capitalization.

Best regards

Paul L Mendy
Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist (Asst. Project Officer)
AfDB funded P2RS Gambia Project 1
IFAD funded National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Programme (Nema)

 

Dears,

This is an important topic. I'll just give a live example: we at Anera https://www.anera.org/ are implementing a women economic empowerment project  targeting women-headed families. The project is being implemented in West Bank/ Palestine The project ideas is open we support any enterprise that prove to be economically feasible. Of the 100 women we are targeting 44 selected agricultural projects. They insisted that this is the thing that we know and can practice.

Best

Naser Qadous

 

I work in Bangladesh as disaster & development- also emerging technology. Now in Bangladesh Women Empowerment is done- we need structural investment & technology to ensure future sustainability. The recent demand in the agri sector is sperm management for cattle- a complete solution, a regular structural investment system, forecasting system for disaster & a regular update for in situ information about agriculture- from crop to cattle. 

As I review the continued emphasis on women in agriculture and other development efforts I have a couple overall concerns.

First the emphasis on women empowerment has an undercurrent that most women are in an adversarial relationship with their partners. Thus my question is what percent of women in rural smallholder communities are in a adversarial relationship and in need of assistance vs. what percent are in a more collaborative relationship with their partners? I would think the majority of women are in a more collaborative relationship.  This then leads to, if most women are in a collaborative relationship with their partners what percent of the communities women are interested in participating in an empowering activities vs. continuing to operate collaboratively with their partners.

Second, given that domestic chores of child raising, cooking, collecting water and fuel are largely the responsibility of women and these daily activities have priority over economic activities, what percent of women time and energy are consumed in meeting the daily domestic chores, leaving how much time to assist in economic activities either in collaborative with their partners or independent as part of an empowerment project. I would suspect that most of the time and energy are consumed with domestic chores with very little time available for economic activities. This then leads to question as what percent of the women in a community will get involved with empowerment efforts, vs. continuing to work in collaboration with their partners.

Just a couple of initial thoughts.

Thank you.