Notes on integrating gender and nutrition within agricultural extension services
News Release: INGENAES in Uganda
Gender and Nutrition Responsive Agro-Enterprise Development Training at MUZARDI
Farmer-based organizations (FBOs) and associations offer new opportunities for reaching smallholder farmers, especially women farmers. However, these organizations are not always gender aware and nutrition sensitive when adopting a business enterprise model. This is partly because they do not clearly understand the dependent relationship between empowerment of women farmers and improved nutrition outcomes, and partly because these organizations lack the capacity to identify and develop nutrition value chains for improved nutrition outcomes of their farmers while maintaining their profits.
On 7-9 December 2016, University of Illinois' Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Extension Services (INGENAES) project, in partnership with the Uganda Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (UFAAS), held a two-day agro-enterprise development capacity-building workshop with business development managers, farmer leaders, extension workers, NGO field support staff and INGENAES fellows at MUZARDI in Mukono, Uganda. The goal of this action-oriented research and learning program is to build capacity and provide critical technical assistance to FBOs, thereby integrating gender and nutrition concerns within their currently existing and planned agro-enterprise initiatives.
See the full report of the training here.
| ||Doctoral fellow, Rosemirta Birungi, conducting peer-to peer training on communication skills|
Fellows to be Gender and Nutrition Leaders
On February 1, nine INGENAES fellows came to UFAAS (Uganda Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services) Secretariat for a professional development workshop. Fellows were able to build up their leadership capacities as ambassadors for gender and nutrition integration within agriculture through multiple sessions. One session focused on presentation skills, while one doctoral fellow, Rosemirta Birungi, led another on online-based communication practices, which was a roaring success! The workshop also provided time for one-on-one mentoring with program management professionals. As the fellows continue their research on topics such as gender participation in smallholder commercialization, gender differences on access to agriculture and nutrition info, and resilience of sweet potato farming in the face of climate change in Uganda, they will continue working with INGENAES staff to become leaders in their field.
Organizational Capacity-Building in Nepal
In December 2016, Dr. Muthusami Kumaran, INGENAES NGO Capacity Enhancement Specialist, conducted the third workshop on organizational capacity building for project partner NGOs in Pokhara, Nepal. 26 NGO leaders and two government extension officials learned to improve effectiveness of partner NGOs and promote collaborative partnerships across extension services. Outcomes include improved leadership and governance structure, increased application of Monitoring & Evaluation for program improvements, and networking with government extension officials. Two NGOs mentioned replicating learned activities and using activity sheets to train employees.
“I felt that that was not simply a workshop, it become a motivational class as well. What I come to know is that if we have passion, dedication and concentration for the work, we can get our goal despite the challenges and hurdles we face in our journey. Once again, thank you so much for providing energy to the bud of philanthropy and charity captured in our soul. We will, of course, deliver the spirit we have now in future in the form of service to the people of Nepal and hopefully beyond.” - Comments from the Executive Director of PISC-Nepal (Philanthropic Initiative for Social Change) to the INGENAES team regarding participation in Dr. Kumaran’s workshops.
Technology Assessment Collaboration with University of Illinois and Njala University Students
Agriculture extension services (AES) are a key pathway for delivering information on agricultural technologies to farmers to support increased and more efficient production. However, AES often do not differentiate between different types of farmers and their respective needs, including differences between men and women farmers.
Designing and disseminating technologies in a gender-sensitive way can impact technology adoption and potentially have payoffs for men and women farmers, particularly for women who have slower rates of technology adoption than men.
INGENAES consortium partner, Cultural Practice is leading the development and application of a gender and technology assessment tool to examine the potential impact of agricultural technologies and practices on women’s time and labor and on nutrition-related behaviors and choices.
This video gives an overview of the tool and shows students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and students from Njala University in Sierra Leone working on assessing technologies using the Tech Assessment tool.
For more information: http://ingenaes.illinois.edu/apply/technology-profiles/
Extension Day at Njala University in Sierra Leone
On December 3, 2016, the INGENAES Project and Network in Sierra Leone supported Njala University in an Extension Day showcase for regional farmer groups. About one-hundred district farmers brought locally produced agricultural products to demonstrate and sell. Farmer groups and agricultural business centers participated in trainings on gender and nutrition sensitive technologies and production methods. Member organizations of the INGENAES Network sent representatives to participate in order to refine their own extension and production practices to be more gender- and nutrition-sensitive. Following Extension Day, the December INGENAES Network member's meeting focused on lessons learned in 2016, expectations, and action plans for 2017.
Collaborative Research in Tajikistan
A group of University of Florida (UF) faculty and students recently visited Tajikistan to conduct two studies regarding nutrition and diet. The group met in Dushanbe with the partners collaborating on the research projects, students from Tajikistan Agrarian University (TAU), representatives from the Feed the Future Tajikistan Agriculture and Water Activity (TAWA) and Feed the Future Tajikistan Health and Nutrition Activity (THNA) projects. The project with TAWA focuses primarily on collecting nutrition information from populations within the Khatlon Province, which is the southern part of the country and Feed the Future zone of influence. Several TAU students and one UF student collected the data. This project, headed by UF faculty Agata Kowalewska, is also working with TAWA gender specialist and home extension economists who work in the areas under TAWA’s targeted reach. Read more about this and the second research project in the recent Tajikistan newsletter (page 3).
| ||Liz Ramos, far right|
My Experience with INGENAES
by Liz Ramos, Honduras In-Country Coordinator
I grew up in small town in western Honduras with “machismo” as part of our culture. Fortunately, I was lucky to have a mother who was strong, and a leader in the community, as well as a manager at home, though my father lived with us. I moved to the capital, Tegucigalpa, when I was 15 years old, and had new opportunities and another view of life. However, when I was 20 years old I got pregnant, and my son’s father did not have an education, nor the opportunity of living in a big city with new ideas when he was teenager. In the small town I grew up in, we had a taboo about using contraceptives, and when I got pregnant, he wanted to get married but I did not.
After I became pregnant, my self-esteem went down, but thankfully my mother was always pushing me to have a better life. By working hard, being responsible for myself and my son (who is now 18), she was always there to help me regain my self-esteem. Working for the Peace Corps also helped me do this.
I have now been working with INGENAES since January, 2016. With all the research that we have done between August and November, I now know more about my own culture, how women in the rural areas are living and behaviors they show in their homes and communities...Read more.
Meet a few of our In-Country Staff!
Colby Silvert, Junior Project Specialist
Colby’s primary role with INGENAES is to test and refine agricultural extension approaches and technologies for smallholder farmers, aiming to improve nutrition and promote gender equity and empowerment. Based in Sierra Leone, his work directly supports a partnership with the WorldFish Feed the Future SAP Project, testing pro-poor business models for semi-intensive sustainable aquaculture. He also assists management with a local academic partner, Njala University, to coordinate a community of practice of extension providers for gender and nutrition integration. Colby has a Bachelor degree in in Crop Sciences Horticulture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
"I most like working directly in the field with farmers and farmer groups and finding opportunities together, as my background in production allows me to have in-depth technical conversations with farmers. It is especially important to develop extension systems that empower farmers with the information and resources to identify their own problems, improve practices, and then disseminate model farming systems for peers."
Kabita Devkota, Nepal in-country Coordinator
Kabita’s primary role in INGENAES is to coordinate all activities with consortium partners engaged in executing activities conducted in Nepal. She provides logistical support with in-country transportation, accommodation, translation services, field activities, and other arrangements. With five years of experience in development work, she also coordinates and provides support for training activities in Nepal. She finds her work with INGENAES engaging because it not only focuses building capacity of the people in the center, rather it reaches the field level, which makes its efforts more effective. Kabita earned her Masters in International Cooperation and Development from Mid-Western University and her Masters in Education (Specialization in English) from Tribhuwan University in Nepal.
Sumaiya Nour, Bangladesh in-country Coordinator
With knowledge of local communities, Sumaiya’s roles consist of coordinating activities and reporting in Bangladesh. In addition, she liaises with project partners for NGOs, private, and public organizations. Sumaiya helped develop the concept and implementation of the 8 Nutrition Clubs, supporting in training student volunteers and organizing community based awareness campaigns on gender, nutrition & agriculture. She has also organized various events such as a nutrition fair, school and homestead gardening, and a recipe competition, which were very exciting projects. Sumaiya has her Master of Social Sciences in International Relations from the University of Dhaka.