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Two key UN policy processes are now more gender responsive


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Scenes from UN Headquarters during the opening of the 74th General Debate at the United Nations headquarters in New York, on Tuesday 24 September 2019. Photo: UN Women/Amanda Voisard
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FTA research and engagement inform biodiversity and climate change policies

Each year, reports on declining biodiversity and the accelerating impacts of global change become more alarming. But what is often not emphasized is how differently these global challenges affect women and men and how women and men can differently address them.

For example, studies suggest large-scale gender differences in mortality rates associated with natural disasters, particularly where women are socioeconomically disadvantaged and where disasters exacerbate existing patterns of discrimination. But in 2015, only 0.01% of worldwide grant dollars addressed both climate change and gender inequalities.

Gender-blind policies and actions risk increasing and exacerbating inequalities within households, decreasing women’s well-being and creating disincentives for women’s participation, as shown in an FTA study on perceptions of well-being in communities that have taken part in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) projects.

There is also evidence that gender-equitable policies and projects can lead to better institutional and environmental performance. FTA research has helped contribute to more gender-responsive global policy processes, for example through gender research that influenced the design of policy documents used to inform the negotiation processes in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

“This is a critical juncture,” said Marlène Elias, FTA Gender Research Coordinator. “We have to seize this moment as CBD develops its new strategy (the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework) for the coming decade.”

FTA scientists are collaborating with a network of organizations that have been pushing for more gender-responsive policies for years. Among this constellation of actors, the role of FTA scientists is to bring empirical evidence to the table.

Read publication  Women’s participation in forest management: A cross-country analysis

Evolution of engagement

In 2018, based on their submission on gender mainstreaming to the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UNFCCC secretariat invited FTA scientists to present empirical evidence on the links between gender and climate change at an in-session workshop at the 48th session of the SBI. Concurrently, FTA scientists were invited to join the For All Coalition, which aims to inform gender integration under the United Nations Rio Conventions. FTA was thus one of few research initiatives represented in the coalition, which brings together parties to the Conventions, members of the Conventions’ secretariats, and key gender non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to inform gender integration and negotiations under the Conventions.

Also in 2018, FTA and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) jointly developed a paper on gender issues under the CBD that served as a background document to the CBD’s 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14). The paper was later submitted as a note by the executive secretary and considered as an agenda item at COP18.

FTA also contributed to a workshop on 1 July 2018 that was co-led by UN Women and the CBD Secretariat, held on the sidelines of the 22nd meeting of the Convention’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-22) and the second meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-2). Its aim was to strengthen the capacities of Convention delegates to integrate gender into intergovernmental deliberations and the implementation of the Convention, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs).

A big win at CBD COP14 was the agreement among Parties to a gender-responsive process to develop the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, by systematically integrating gender considerations and ensuring that women and girls are adequately represented in the process. This gave way to renewed efforts among FTA and partners to influence the process, including through an expert workshop held in 2019 in New York, in which FTA participated along with representatives from national governments, civil society organizations and movements, UN agencies and other international organizations. The workshop was one in a series to build consensus around the key elements for a gender-responsive Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Iliana Monterroso, a scientist and co-coordinator of Gender and Social Inclusion Research at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR, the FTA lead partner), presented FTA’s research-based recommendations, which were included in the forestry section of the workshop report. Drawing on lessons from gender-responsive forest landscape restoration work, these recommendations were to: recognize land rights, knowledge, and natural resources; build capacity among women through economic empowerment initiatives and green entrepreneurship opportunities and training; create gender parity quotas, including quotas for socially excluded groups; audit women’s contribution to the forest sector; and map existing and pending claims around resources.

“During the presentation, we drew from previous research around REDD+ issues to highlight lessons learned and synergies in order to incorporate gender in the discussion of the upcoming strategy. We highlighted how some of these challenges are not unique to the implementation of restoration or biodiversity agendas but are partly the result of structural gender inequalities that need to be addressed in order to derive the expected outcomes,” said Monterroso.

As the dynamic engagement with the CBD secretariat and expert group evolved, FTA contributed to joint submissions with other participating organizations to inform the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, including during the Regional Consultation of the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean in Montevideo.

FTA and UN Women also co-hosted an expert workshop on the ICRAF campus in Nairobi to formulate key messages for the First Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The meeting resulted in recommendations to the OEWG for gender-responsive goals, indicators and targets; an accountability framework; and enabling conditions, including capacity-building and finance, for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which is currently under revision.

As a result of its strong reputation for gender research and active engagement with the Rio Conventions processes (see Box), FTA has been invited to contribute to several global initiatives to establish and track progress towards gender equality targets. For instance, in the drafting of the Equal Measures 2030 global report, FTA has provided recommendations on gender indicators for the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 on climate change. The report referenced FTA’s submission to the UNFCCC SBI and two FTA studies,[1] and underlined the importance of the inclusion of women in national decision making on climate policies. FTA’s submission was also widely cited in a recent synthesis report on gender and climate change developed by the UNFCCC secretariat. In 2019, FTA scientists also participated in designing and delivering a capacity-building workshop on gender mainstreaming with the UNFCCC Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG).

“One thing we have learned from our engagement in the UNFCCC processes is that there has been a disconnect between the growing body of research on gender and climate change, on one hand, and the really strong demand by Parties and other stakeholders for data to support evidence-based, gender-responsive climate policy and practice, on the other,” said Markus Ihalainen, a senior research officer and co-coordinator of Gender and Social Inclusion Research at CIFOR. “There are many topics that merit further investigation, but we know enough to say that lack of evidence cannot be an excuse for gender-blind climate policy making. FTA has done so much work on this topic, and when we can help it reach the right people and processes, we see that there is a whole lot of interest in taking it up.”

The power of language

One important way of influencing a more gender-responsive agenda is through advocating for more progressive language in policy texts. Since language frames content and approaches, having a common and meaningful language around gender across global policies, such as the Rio Conventions, would facilitate more harmonized and synergistic implementation and monitoring and lead to more positive, impactful changes towards gender equality.

FTA gender experts engage with a wide range of stakeholders to both support evidence-based, gender-responsive policy-making, as well as to provide guidance and tools for effective and equitable implementation and monitoring on the ground.

“We want to make sure that appropriate language – which has been developed through a range of consultations with gender specialists and gender equality advocates and across global policy processes, such as the UNFCCC and the SDGs – is retained and imported into every new effort,” said Elias. “For example, there is an agreed way to refer to the participation of women and marginalized groups as ‘full, effective and meaningful’. Such language has been hard fought for and vetted by gender equity groups.”

Weaving this iteratively developed language on gender throughout global policies that affect rural women – and ensuring that it guides implementation and action on the ground – is a worthwhile effort. To support this effort, FTA gender experts continue to bring the latest science to the discussions among global networks of gender-focused organizations.


[1] CIFOR-FTA (2013). E. Coleman and E. Mwangi, “Women’s Participation in Forest Management: A Cross-country

Analysis,” Global Environmental Change 23 (no. 1): 193-205, February, 2013. 

Pham TT and Brockhaus M. (2015). Gender Mainstreaming and REDD+ and PES. CIFOR Gender Climate Brief no. 5. Bogor: CIFOR.


This article was written by Erin O’Connell.

This article was produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). FTA is the world’s largest research for development program to enhance the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security and to address climate change. CIFOR leads FTA in partnership with ICRAF, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR and TBI. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.


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  • Q+A: Building just societies and resilient landscapes alongside rural women

Q+A: Building just societies and resilient landscapes alongside rural women


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Article originally posted on Forest News.

Gender equality key to sustainable resource management, says Markus Ihalainen

Rural women play an essential role in using and managing natural resources in forest and tree-based landscapes across the world — at least they should.

When women are able to participate in decision-making and equitably share resources and benefits, policies and projects in the forest sector often see increased buy-in and improved outcomes; while initiatives that ignore gender difference or exclude women tend to reinforce or even exacerbate existing inequalities, according to a 2017 brief from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Even so, the forestry sector has historically given limited attention to gender dynamics, said Markus Ihalainen, senior research officer at CIFOR. Although changes are occurring, much work remains to adequately address the social structures and power relations that produce or reinforce inequalities.

While gender equality is a human right and a fundamental condition for achieving sustainable development goals, women remain at a disadvantage, often wielding less power than men.

Decision-making, accessing benefits from forest and tree resources and the capacity to respond effectively to changes such as deforestation or degradation in forest and tree-based landscapes are some areas where rights may be curtailed, he said during an interview to mark the International Day of Rural Women on Thursday.

“A crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic has made things more difficult for everyone, for example, but we also know that such challenges are often compounded by inequalities that may disproportionately increase vulnerabilities or decrease the adaptive capacities of certain groups,” explained Ihalainen, who has been involved in gender research with CIFOR since 2014.

To address these challenges, Ihalainen and other researchers in the forestry sector try to understand how roles, rights and responsibilities are divided between local men and women, particularly with regard to land use.

Policies that emerge from research recommendations should measure how benefits are shared, while also accounting for various other gender-related risks, he said.

Rural women’s contributions to development and conservation need to be supported by fair remuneration for their work and access to resources; they should be recognized as critical stakeholders in sustainable natural resource governance.

Ihalainen shared additional insights about his work in FTA:

Q: What makes this field interesting for you?

A: I think there are a number of things that make the research on gender and environment interesting. First, for anyone who wants to see a more equal world, it’s pretty hard to ignore the pervasiveness of gender inequality virtually across the globe. In rural areas, we see rapid transformations shaped by political, socioeconomic and environmental changes – especially climate change. Our work shows that, if left unchecked, many of these trends risk reinforcing or even exacerbating gender inequality.

The forestry sector in particular has historically given limited attention to gender, but I think this is slowly starting to change. People are increasingly interested in understanding what they can do to enhance equality through their work. Being a part of and able to support this process by providing relevant evidence and recommendations is a great motivating factor for me.

Q: Do you encounter challenges studying rural women as a male researcher?

A: I think understanding these things is just as important for men as for women.

It’s not really about studying rural women per se, but about understanding how different social structures and power relations at different levels produce or reinforce inequalities; these inequalities often disproportionately affect rural women. We are all part of those structures whether we want to be or not. We all shape social structures through our actions or lack thereof.

I think that one of the most important contributions of feminist theory has been its critique of so-called scientific objectivity – the idea that the researcher is just a neutral observer of reality. Our ideas are not void of our biases; they are influenced by our background and social status, and most people, I hope, who have done field research in a cross-cultural setting could think of a time when they felt the research situation was influenced by the social dynamic between the respondent and the researcher. As a white male working on gender research mainly in Africa, this definitely goes for me too, so I’ve really learned the importance of working with a socially diverse team. A diverse research team is important not just to overcome the sometimes difficult power dynamics in interviews, but also because of the richness that different perspectives bring to the analysis.

Q: In your opinion, what are the top issues facing rural women today?

A: Many of the broader trends that are shaping or compounding challenges faced by rural women are issues that affect us all, but the distribution of outcomes is shaped by many intersecting power dynamics, including gender. The COVID-19 pandemic is an example of this. For instance, studies are suggesting that as a consequence of the pandemic, many rural women are taking on a disproportionate share of care work. Mobility restrictions and value chain disruptions may disproportionately affect many female-dominated occupations, including marketing and casual agribusiness labor.

Additionally, female farmers often have unequal access to information technology when compared with their male counterparts. This can make it harder for women to connect with other value chain actors, particularly when physical mobility is restricted.

Climate change is of course another pressing issue. As a result of longstanding efforts by researchers and advocacy groups, there is finally a relatively common recognition of the fact that gender dynamics and inequalities influence how rural women and men experience and cope with climate change — though there is still a long way to go in terms of making sure that recognition leads to effective action on the ground.

So there are definitely many challenges facing rural women that require urgent action, such as enhancing rural women’s access to resources and markets or improving their job security and extending social protection. But those challenges are also symptoms of fundamentally unequal social structures.

Because of various inequalities, many rural women are more exposed to negative impacts of events in general, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and other threats. While there is an urgent need to address those impacts, we must not lose sight of the broader structures and systems that keep rural women in a position where they remain more vulnerable. Otherwise any new arrangements are like a band-aid solution – no matter whether they are related to restoration, renewables or any strategy – they will end up reproducing the same inequalities.

As we’re rethinking our production systems and values in order for society to stay within Kate Raworth’s doughnut — a set of social and planetary boundaries for humanity to thrive in the 21st century —  we really need to make sure gender equality is at the core of these efforts.

Q: What inspires you about the rural women that you have encountered during your research?

A: There are so many women I have met who show incredible resilience and innovation — often under dire circumstances. So although it is really important to highlight the structures that shape the challenging circumstances rural women face, the way in which media often frames rural women as passive victims does not do them justice. In other words, a focus on marginalization, tends to perpetuate a framing of women as passive — rather than as active authors of their own destinies. They should be supported through the creation of structures and supporting processes that enhance their abilities to exert their agency and challenge the structures that limit that space. However, taking steps to recognize women’s agency must go beyond human interest stories and translate into real and meaningful engagement with rural women and their aspirations.

Q: How can rural women contribute to the transition to a resilient, low-carbon society?

A: I think it’s important to recognize the contributions of rural women and men in managing natural resources. For instance, a study led by the Rights and Resources Initiative found that Indigenous peoples manage nearly 300 billion metric tons of carbon stored above and below ground on their lands. Other studies by CIFOR and others have demonstrated that gender-inclusive resource user groups often perform better in terms of governance and conservation outcomes.

However, it’s equally important to recognize that although the rural poor in low-income countries are not to blame for the climate emergency the world is facing, they are often the ones facing the gravest impacts and, as mentioned earlier, those impacts are often differentiated by gender and other social factors. That’s why we emphasize the need for a just transitionwith gender equality as a core objective.

A just transition requires ensuring that rural women have options and means to cope with the impacts of climate change, as well as making sure they have the rights, resources and necessary support to effectively participate in a low-carbon society in ways that contribute to their empowerment and well-being.

Q: What messages do you hope people take from the International Day of Rural Women?

A: This day was established to recognize the role that rural women play in enhancing rural development. Yet despite their crucial role in agricultural production and in ensuring household food security, gender inequalities — often influenced by intersecting socioeconomic factors — continue to disproportionately disempower rural women. While there have been numerous global commitments and agendas to enhancing gender equality, progress has been slow. The imminent transition towards more resilient, low-carbon societies and production systems also provides an opportunity to take a leap in terms of gender equality, but that requires equity and justice to be at the core of our strategies. There is a lot of data and evidence to draw on; now we need action!

Q: What projects are you particularly excited about and where can we learn more?

A: There are a number of projects that I think are really interesting. Pending COVID-restrictions, we are starting field work in Ghana to study the gender dynamics across different palm oil production systems. I am also working on charcoal value chains in a number of African countries, it’s been really interesting to learn that women are actually participating a lot more than what the conventional wisdom dictates. We are also wrapping up a longitudinal analysis of women’s agricultural labor force participation in Indonesia. A lot of interesting findings coming out – stay tuned for the paper coming out soon. Finally, in partnership with EnGen Collaborative and a number of organizations in the GLF gender constituency, we are currently developing an online learning module on gender-responsive forest and landscape restoration. This feels very timely in these teleworking times, but we think this will be a really useful and engaging tool for different restoration stakeholders to enhance their capacities on gender mainstreaming even in the post-COVID world.


By Daniela Silva. This research is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). FTA is the world’s largest research for development program to enhance the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security and to address climate change. CIFOR leads FTA in partnership with Bioversity International, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR, ICRAF and TBI. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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  • International Women's Day 2020 - Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights

International Women’s Day 2020 – Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights


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For the international day of women and girls in science (11 February) FTA sent out statements from our Flagship 1 Leader Ramni Jamnadass and Violet Chanza Black, a gender research assistant at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. Both stories talked about the struggle and ultimately the empowerment that these women obtained through education.

Ramni shared her experience being the first woman from her community to obtain a PhD, something unseen before. Ramni’s long-standing fight to include nutrition in research is also featured in CGIAR’s gender campaign.

Violet’s statement was somewhat more provoking. It highlighted her personal struggle against both her teachers and her parents in obtaining a fundamental right: her education!

Her story was so compelling that we decided to find out more, and we contacted her for an interviewe. A video is also available, to help disseminate Violet’s story, as well as her views on gender equality. There is a lot to learn! This is a story of success, despite the odds – unfortunately so many girls around the world are not so fortunate. We hope this will inspire them never to give up fighting for their fundamental rights, and of course adults to always support them, all over the world.




Violet now holds an MSc in Development Economics, majoring in Human Development and Food Security from the University of Roma Tre. You may read her Master thesis here.

Interview full text

FTA – For the international day of women and girls in science you made a very strong statement, based on your personal experience [Educating a girl should never be optional…] – could you tell us more about it?

Violet Chanza Black – my story starts from one Saturday afternoon, I was at home tasked with making tea for a guest, my dad’s friend and as I served him his tea he asked me if I was still in school to which I happily responded yes and he turned to my father and said:

 “If I had a daughter, I would never spend money on her school fees, because she is just going to get pregnant and then you waste all the money you spent on her school.”

I am a second born in a family of 8, four boys and four girls. I am the first daughter and that meant I was a “co-parent” when it comes to chores. Helping taking care of kids and cleaning, collecting water, firewood and cleaning. All of which had to be within my school day while my brother, even though he was older than me did not have to.

Primary school was fine, it was free, and the school provided us with free notebooks and pencils. All I needed was a school uniform.

I was selected to a public secondary school and I remember then I had to pay about 2$ per term and 6$ per year for my tuition fees. My brother went to a boarding school, which costed about 25 more times than my school and I remember he was never sent back home because he did not pay school fees, while I struggled to get my 2$. As a result, I would miss classes until well my father would give me the money to pay for school fees.

In school I remember one time my teacher wrote on my school report that “Violet likes hanging out with boys” which confirmed that theory that “she will just get pregnant and all the money would have been wasted and that made getting school fees even harder. I remember one of my teacher said to my friend “its good that you have pimples that way you will finish school.”

My message on the 11th of February was to shed some light on the power that teachers have to support students, also with their parents. Children who are in a similar situation as I was often face internal challenges within the household. Comments and general attitudes towards girls can really make them loose esteem or be encouraged.

FTA – When was the tipping point, when did your parents realize that you deserved the same education as your brother, despite what your teachers were saying?

VCB – My father always said go to school. It was until school wasn’t free that he was reluctant or unsure if he really wanted to spend that money on me. But when I didn’t go to school, he had me at home and I was nudging him… it was very annoying for him! Finally his reluctance was less strong than my determination!

FTA – What fueled your determination? It might be extremely hard to stand up to adult and community pressure, especially when you are so young?

My parents had separated by the time I went to secondary school and my mom was working for this woman who was working for Action Against Hunger. I looked up at her as a role model! That was a great source of inspiration for me. It made me realize that if I aspired at becoming like her, the only way I could achieve that was through education.

FTA – Well congratulations! Now you are the role model! How do you live up to this role?

VCB – Fom where I come the other issue is about poverty – so it’s not just about girls, it’s both girls and boys. How do you motivate a full community if no one is getting schooling, if they don’t have the basic needs? What I can do is to put myself in a place where they can talk to me, I reach out and I’m always there if they have questions. Another thing that is lacking is: information. You need to go to kids and tell them that education is possible, if they don’t see it as a possibility, they won’t desire it.

FTA- Did your personal experience bring you to focus on gender in your research?

VCB – I would say my personal experience is what keeps me going. I didn’t see any of my experience as it was happening that it was a gender issue. For me it was just happening. But my story allows me to relate to this topic and to the many people who are in a similar situation.

FTA – This year’s IWD theme is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights” (or #GenerationEquality) and I think your story is strongly linked to this theme. Equality can be difficult however to define, because people are different, needs are different, contexts change, etc. There might be a thin line between equality and justice. What is your idea of equality?

When I hear the word equality, the first thing that should come to our mind is “equality of what?” Opportunities? Privileges? Different people are in different contexts, different situations. You cannot generalize. People are not homogeneous. I lend it from Amartya Sen’s Capabilities Approach: are people able to provide themselves food, shelter, clothing in a decent manner? I guess this is where we should all start from: Equality of access, equality of opportunities. It might be hard to achieve it, but there’s a lot we can do to help out someone else.

FTA- Any message you’d like to send out to all the women on this important day?

My wish for for all the women on International Women’s Day 2020: Individual Collectivism – we are all parts of one, if one of us is broken, we cannot make it to be whole. We are not free until we are all free. I think we all need to share, uplift and support in ways that we can other women and girls. Leaving no one behind.

As Martin Luther King said: “No one is free until we are all free.”

 





By the FTA Communication Team.

This article was produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). FTA is the world’s largest research for development program to enhance the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security and to address climate change. CIFOR leads FTA in partnership with Bioversity International, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR, ICRAF and TBI. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.


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  • Addressing equity in community forestry: lessons from 20 years of implementation in Cameroon

Addressing equity in community forestry: lessons from 20 years of implementation in Cameroon


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A community forestry approach was adopted by Cameroon as a strategy to promote the sustainable management of forests, participation by local communities in forest management, and poverty alleviation. However, results have been moderate and community forestry has largely failed in achieving its initial goals. Our work, based on existing literature, uses the three inter-related dimensions of equity: distributive, procedural, and contextual to highlight the main equity challenges encountered in implementing the community forestry approach over the past 20 years in Cameroon. The main constraints to distributive equity identified include: the absence of clear benefit-sharing mechanisms and rents capture by elites, insecure tenure, and limited use rights of forest resources. Regarding the procedural dimension, we observed an exclusion of vulnerable groups, especially women, and a lack of information flow and transparency in decision-making processes. Finally, for contextual equity, the main constraints are unfair laws and regulations that give more advantages to the state and logging companies than to the local population. Moreover, poor community capacities and high transaction costs in the process of obtaining and exploiting community forests are additional constraints to contextual equity. The authors recommend a few measures to improve community forestry contribution to socioeconomic development, equity in benefit sharing, and sustainable management of forest resources. These include the need: (1) to promote transparency in community forests management with fair and gender-based policies that consider socioeconomic differences existing within and between forest communities; (2) to strengthen local community members financial and technical capacities and increase their representation and participation in decision-making structures; and (3) to set up mechanisms that guarantee existing policies are fully implemented.

Access this publication.


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  • Workshop on social and gender dynamics aims to improve resilience and livelihoods in Ghana

Workshop on social and gender dynamics aims to improve resilience and livelihoods in Ghana


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Restoration of landscapes in Ghana requires men and women to work together. Photo by Joan Baxter/ICRAF

Raising awareness of gender equity and equality is critical for Africa’s future, with workshops like one held recently in Ghana an important contribution.

Almost two dozen representatives from Ghanaian development agencies working in partnership with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in northern Ghana gathered in the city of Bolgatanga on Nov. 13, 2018 for a training workshop titled Social and Gender Dynamics and their Importance for Improving Resilience and Livelihoods.

The participants expressed a strong interest in learning more about gender equity and equality so that they could integrate the concepts into agricultural and natural resource management. Given the often-sensitive nature of the issues and that male participants outnumbered females at 15 to 11, discussions were at times lively.

A few of the men said they were uneasy with the notions of gender equity and equality, if that meant women would have the ‘same status as men’ or expect their husbands to take on household tasks such as bathing children or cooking, or abruptly challenge traditional and cultural values.

ICRAF gender specialist Ana Maria Paez, who facilitated the workshop, explained that ‘gender equity’ was a ‘process of being fair to women and men’ through strategies and measures that ‘compensate for women’s historical and social disadvantages that prevent women and men from otherwise operating on a level playing field’.

“Gender equity leads to equality,” she told participants, distinguishing it from gender equality, which is a ‘state, an ideal outcome’. “Gender equality refers to equal enjoyment by women, girls, boys and men of opportunities, resources and rewards. A critical aspect of promoting gender equality is the empowerment of women, with a focus on identifying and redressing power imbalances.”

The workshop was hosted by Emilie Smith Dumont, coordinator of the West Africa Forest–Farm Interface (WAFFI) project in Burkina Faso and Ghana. She is also the Ghana focal point for the ambitious, five-year Regreening Africa project funded by the European Union.

The WAFFI project is led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in collaboration with ICRAF and Tree Aid with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development. WAFFI aims to identify practices and policy actions that improve the income and food security of smallholders in Burkina Faso and Ghana through integrated forest and tree management systems that are environmentally sound and socially equitable.

Workshop participant work on a drawing of an ‘ideal man’. Photo by Emilie Smith Dumont/ICRAF

Regreening Africa seeks to reverse land degradation among 500,000 households across 1 million hectares in eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Incorporating trees into crop land, communal land and pastoral areas can reclaim Africa’s degraded landscapes. In Ghana, the work is led by World Vision in collaboration with ICRAF and Catholic Relief Services.

“Our purpose was to bring people together to find ways to fully integrate and promote gender issues and transformation into projects,” said Smith Dumont. “The context is land restoration at the forest–farm interface because there is a very strong gendered role around trees in landscapes.

“This kind of collaboration is extremely important for improving livelihoods: we know that trees contribute greatly to livelihoods. We have found from our work that family cohesion increases resilience of households and that all goes back to more balanced gender relations.”

Among other themes, participants engaged in extensive, and often intensive, discussions about the difference between gender, which is a social construct, and sex, which pertains to physical characteristics, as well as on processes of gender transformation and, thus, societal change.

One of the more colorful sessions involved male participants drawing and describing what they would consider the ‘ideal woman’ and female participants doing the same for an ‘ideal man’. This led to animated discussions, closely analyzing some of the stereotypes of men and women revealed by the drawings.

But the over-arching theme of the workshop and the key messages that emerged had most to do with analyses of gender in agriculture, including divisions of labour, access to, and control of, resources and their benefits, based on findings from WAFFI.

The discussion revealed how gender influences many aspects of the management of farms, households, trees and forests in communities.

Participants also looked at specific issues that were particularly relevant for their project work in northern Ghana, including tree management and landscape restoration, soil and water conservation, and ways to ensure equitable representation of men and women in project planning, implementation and monitoring.

They also examined how gender awareness is, or is not, already integrated into their activities in community forestry, value chains and market access, local governance, and agricultural productivity.

A woman views a gulley on her farm in Mwingi, Kenya. Photo by Ake Mamo/ICRAF

From the discussions, they distilled some tangible ways to be more responsive to gender issues in their activities.

For community forestry, participants proposed several actions. First, bush fires are an annual and serious problem in northern Ghana. More sensitization and training should be undertaken with women to empower them to prevent, control and manage burning. Second, policies are needed to grant access to land and natural resources to women, starting at the community level.

For local governance, instead of inviting chiefs, heads of departments or their representatives to public meetings and paying no attention to how many of these were male or female, women’s groups should be expressly invited.

For agricultural productivity, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture needs to train more female agricultural extension officers to ensure that there are enough appropriate staff to provide female farmers with the advice they need, noting that when new technologies are passed on to farmers, women tend to follow protocols more diligently than their male counterparts. Second, the ministry should ensure that when demonstration plots are set up in a district at least one should be managed by a woman; and ensure women had access to farm inputs, such as high-quality germplasm and, indeed, also become leaders in the field.

For access to market and value chains, the workshop proposed that women’s production and processing groups need help to build their sustainability through village savings and loans groups, which would allow them to mobilize funds to invest in labour-saving technologies, such as threshers. Second, women should be encouraged to take up leadership roles in community-based organizations.

By Joan Baxter, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World


Partners supporting the gender workshop included CIFOR, Catholic Relief Services, Economics of Land Degradation, the European Union, Tree Aid and World Vision.

This story was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Regreening Africa project and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

Produced by World Agroforestry Centre as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.


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Workshop on social and gender dynamics aims to improve resilience and livelihoods in Ghana


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Restoration of landscapes in Ghana requires men and women to work together. Photo by Joan Baxter/ICRAF

Raising awareness of gender equity and equality is critical for Africa’s future, with workshops like one held recently in Ghana an important contribution.

Almost two dozen representatives from Ghanaian development agencies working in partnership with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in northern Ghana gathered in the city of Bolgatanga on Nov. 13, 2018 for a training workshop titled Social and Gender Dynamics and their Importance for Improving Resilience and Livelihoods.

The participants expressed a strong interest in learning more about gender equity and equality so that they could integrate the concepts into agricultural and natural resource management. Given the often-sensitive nature of the issues and that male participants outnumbered females at 15 to 11, discussions were at times lively.

A few of the men said they were uneasy with the notions of gender equity and equality, if that meant women would have the ‘same status as men’ or expect their husbands to take on household tasks such as bathing children or cooking, or abruptly challenge traditional and cultural values.

ICRAF gender specialist Ana Maria Paez, who facilitated the workshop, explained that ‘gender equity’ was a ‘process of being fair to women and men’ through strategies and measures that ‘compensate for women’s historical and social disadvantages that prevent women and men from otherwise operating on a level playing field’.

“Gender equity leads to equality,” she told participants, distinguishing it from gender equality, which is a ‘state, an ideal outcome’. “Gender equality refers to equal enjoyment by women, girls, boys and men of opportunities, resources and rewards. A critical aspect of promoting gender equality is the empowerment of women, with a focus on identifying and redressing power imbalances.”

The workshop was hosted by Emilie Smith Dumont, coordinator of the West Africa Forest–Farm Interface (WAFFI) project in Burkina Faso and Ghana. She is also the Ghana focal point for the ambitious, five-year Regreening Africa project funded by the European Union.

The WAFFI project is led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in collaboration with ICRAF and Tree Aid with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development. WAFFI aims to identify practices and policy actions that improve the income and food security of smallholders in Burkina Faso and Ghana through integrated forest and tree management systems that are environmentally sound and socially equitable.

Workshop participant work on a drawing of an ‘ideal man’. Photo by Emilie Smith Dumont/ICRAF

Regreening Africa seeks to reverse land degradation among 500,000 households across 1 million hectares in eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Incorporating trees into crop land, communal land and pastoral areas can reclaim Africa’s degraded landscapes. In Ghana, the work is led by World Vision in collaboration with ICRAF and Catholic Relief Services.

“Our purpose was to bring people together to find ways to fully integrate and promote gender issues and transformation into projects,” said Smith Dumont. “The context is land restoration at the forest–farm interface because there is a very strong gendered role around trees in landscapes.

“This kind of collaboration is extremely important for improving livelihoods: we know that trees contribute greatly to livelihoods. We have found from our work that family cohesion increases resilience of households and that all goes back to more balanced gender relations.”

Among other themes, participants engaged in extensive, and often intensive, discussions about the difference between gender, which is a social construct, and sex, which pertains to physical characteristics, as well as on processes of gender transformation and, thus, societal change.

One of the more colorful sessions involved male participants drawing and describing what they would consider the ‘ideal woman’ and female participants doing the same for an ‘ideal man’. This led to animated discussions, closely analyzing some of the stereotypes of men and women revealed by the drawings.

But the over-arching theme of the workshop and the key messages that emerged had most to do with analyses of gender in agriculture, including divisions of labour, access to, and control of, resources and their benefits, based on findings from WAFFI.

The discussion revealed how gender influences many aspects of the management of farms, households, trees and forests in communities.

Participants also looked at specific issues that were particularly relevant for their project work in northern Ghana, including tree management and landscape restoration, soil and water conservation, and ways to ensure equitable representation of men and women in project planning, implementation and monitoring.

They also examined how gender awareness is, or is not, already integrated into their activities in community forestry, value chains and market access, local governance, and agricultural productivity.

A woman views a gulley on her farm in Mwingi, Kenya. Photo by Ake Mamo/ICRAF

From the discussions, they distilled some tangible ways to be more responsive to gender issues in their activities.

For community forestry, participants proposed several actions. First, bush fires are an annual and serious problem in northern Ghana. More sensitization and training should be undertaken with women to empower them to prevent, control and manage burning. Second, policies are needed to grant access to land and natural resources to women, starting at the community level.

For local governance, instead of inviting chiefs, heads of departments or their representatives to public meetings and paying no attention to how many of these were male or female, women’s groups should be expressly invited.

For agricultural productivity, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture needs to train more female agricultural extension officers to ensure that there are enough appropriate staff to provide female farmers with the advice they need, noting that when new technologies are passed on to farmers, women tend to follow protocols more diligently than their male counterparts. Second, the ministry should ensure that when demonstration plots are set up in a district at least one should be managed by a woman; and ensure women had access to farm inputs, such as high-quality germplasm and, indeed, also become leaders in the field.

For access to market and value chains, the workshop proposed that women’s production and processing groups need help to build their sustainability through village savings and loans groups, which would allow them to mobilize funds to invest in labour-saving technologies, such as threshers. Second, women should be encouraged to take up leadership roles in community-based organizations.

By Joan Baxter, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World


Partners supporting the gender workshop included CIFOR, Catholic Relief Services, Economics of Land Degradation, the European Union, Tree Aid and World Vision.

This story was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Regreening Africa project and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

Produced by World Agroforestry Centre as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.


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  • What’s in it for gender researchers when it comes to UN Women’s gender and SDGs report?

What’s in it for gender researchers when it comes to UN Women’s gender and SDGs report?


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A woman and her father-in-law pick up a permit to collect fuelwood in the Chisapani Community Forest, Nepal. Photo by Chandra Shekhar Karki/CIFOR

UN Women’s 2018 flagship report on gender and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offers a framework to monitor each of the 17 SDGs from a gender perspective, and takes stock of their performance to date. 

In a two-part series, Bimbika Sijapati Basnett, gender coordinator for the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) gender scientist, analyzes the report and its implications for the CGIAR gender research community. Sijapati Basnett recently published a brief evaluating this role.

With this article, she reviews the strengths and limitations of the UN Women report – Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – for gender researchers wishing to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The highest echelons of the United Nations have hailed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as “a victory for gender equality” [1]. Concerns are mounting, however, over how the SDGs will be interpreted and implemented, and whether they will make a difference to the lives of women and girls the world over.

The UN Women 2018 flagship report offers a framework to monitor each of the 17 SDGs from a gender and social inclusion perspective, and it takes stock of that performance to date.

The report calls for greater collaboration among governments, researchers and women’s rights organizations to realize the 2030 Agenda. How? By tracking progress against the goals, identifying achievements and gaps, and highlighting implementation challenges and opportunities.

Read more: UN Women’s evaluation of gender in the SDGs – What’s the role for the CGIAR?

KEY MESSAGES 

Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development

The report makes a strong case for leveraging data, evidence and analysis, to inform the duties and performance standards of those in positions of power, and to help assess compliance and enforcement of sanctions and remedies where required.

“The ultimate test for the 2030 Agenda will be whether the SDGs are achieved by 2030” (43).

The report’s excellent assessment of the current ‘Global Indicator Framework for the Sustainable Development Goals’ offers strategic entry points for CGIAR (and/or gender researchers outside of CGIAR) to address current limitations in data, methods and analyses. The Global Indicator Framework comprises 232 indicators to track and monitor progress against the SDGs. The Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development is the inter-governmental body responsible for developing and providing technical support for implementation of the framework. The UN Women report also offers conceptual, methodological and policy directions for future CGIAR research.

Some key messages and highlights from the report are listed below.

Strategic entry points

Although gender equality matters to all 17 goals, the current Global Indicator Framework is inadequate for gender responsive monitoring of the SDGs because:

  • Only six of the 17 SDG goals are gender sensitive (SDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 16); five goals are gender sparse (SDG 2, 19, 11, 13 and 17) and the remaining six are gender blind (SDGs 6, 7, 9, 12, 14 and 15).
  • The available gender data presents gaps.
  • There is inadequate investment and funding for additional or quality data collection.
  • Data collection methodologies present deep biases (e.g. censuses, labor surveys).

Upon assessing all 54 gender-specific indicators and analyzing one indicator per goal in detail to illustrate progress, gaps and challenges to date, the report calls for: “serious analytical work that sharpens our understanding of how to capture, measure and monitor meaningful change for women and girls” (73).

The report suggests this gap is particularly clear in new and emerging areas, such as understanding the gender implications of climate change.

Commitment to intersectionality

The report highlights that focusing on women as a group is insufficient to measure progress. Gender inequalities only acquire meaning and significance when they interact and intersect with other social relations. Many women and girls face multiple forms of discrimination – e.g. accessing resources, services and opportunities – based on aspects of their identity that differentiate them from more advantaged groups. It is critical to move beyond averages and to identify and compare how the most marginalized fare on key well-being markers in relation to other groups.

Through four country study summaries (see Chapter 3), the report shows how average aggregate figures on women’s wellbeing often mask significant variations across regions, ethnic, racial and income groups. This is a considerable departure from previous reports that had given lip service to ‘differences among women’ and treated women as a group (UN Women 2014; Asher and Sijapati Basnett 2016).

This is also the first time that a high-profile global report has engaged seriously with feminist concerns with ‘intersectionality’ in a substantial way. While intersectionality has long been considered a ‘gold standard’ for analyzing experiences of identity and oppression in feminist and gender theories, scholars have been concerned that ‘gender’ and ‘gender inequalities’ are simplified, both in policy and practice (Nash 2008; Arora-Jonsson 2014; Ihalainen et al. 2016; Colfer et al. 2018).

Read also: Making sense of ‘intersectionality’: A manual for lovers of people and forests

Spotlight on structural barriers to gender equality 

The report devotes two chapters to structural barriers to gender equality: eliminating all forms of violence against women (Chapter 5); and addressing unpaid care and domestic work (Chapter 6). The Millennium Development Goals, predecessors to the SDGs, were heavily criticized for omitting these dimensions of inequality (see Razavi 2016, Chant and Sweetman 2012, Kabeer 2003).

Chapter 6 of the report highlights that women perform the vast majority of unpaid and care work across the world. The distribution of such work remains the same, despite women increasingly joining the labor force through formal employment.

Policies and interventions aimed at empowering women economically (e.g. through greater involvement in value chains, financial literacy and new livelihood opportunities) must go hand in hand with initiatives to reduce women’s paid and unpaid work burdens, recognize their work and redistribute it within the family, as well as among families and wider institutions.

Policies and accountability

The report clearly highlights what actions are needed, as well as who should be responsible for implementation and accountable for action/inaction. It suggests that governments should prioritize universal systems that are financed and used by everyone, and simultaneously target efforts towards ensuring access for historically excluded groups. This approach offers a stance on a long-standing debate within social policy on ‘universal’ or ‘targeted policies’ for addressing poverty reduction and social inequalities (see Mkandawire 2005).

The report also highlights that governments are primarily responsible for implementation, because other actors cannot be held accountable in the way that governments can (see Chandhoke 2003). The report seeks to temper current enthusiasm around the private sector’s role in realizing the SDGs, drawing attention to the fact that private businesses are not yet bound by any global set of rules on business and human rights, and their actions do not always align with objectives of sustainable development and gender equality (Kabeer 2017).

PITFALLS AND LIMITATIONS 

A couple in a peatland area in Indonesia. Photo by Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR

The report also presents pitfalls and limitations from a methodological, conceptual and policy application perspective.

Methodologically, the report mainly privileges quantitative methods over qualitative and mixed methods. The risk here is to imply that any research seeking to monitor the 2030 Global Agenda must comply with pre-existing national datasets (such as national census data and demographic health, labor and living standard measurement surveys) rather than additionally taking advantage of the wide variety of other research available.

Conceptually, Chapter 3 on ‘Moving beyond the averages’ provides only lip service to the risks of using pre-existing categories to identify who the marginalized are and what sustains their marginalization. The chapter does not adequately consider the reality that ‘targeting the poor and the marginalized’ is an inherently political and contested process. Likewise, it presents just one methodological approach (the ‘inter-categorical approach’, see McCall 2015 or Colfer et al. 2018) for examining the intersection between gender and other axes of social difference.

Chapter 6 on ‘Unpaid and care work’ demonstrates this report was written by a committee of writers who do not always write with one voice; this makes the report lack coherence in many places. As such, while most of the chapters point to knowledge and data gaps, Chapter 6 reads more like a definitive guide on how to address women’s unpaid work and care burdens. Likewise, the report’s overall stance against the private sector or corporations is rather dogmatic, and does not offer a realistic way of engaging with them and/or holding their actions to account.

On the question of the potential impact of such reports, the report was published by UN Women rather than by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development or the UN Statistical Commission for the Global Monitoring of 169 SDG Targets. It is therefore unclear whether (and if so, how) the analyses and recommendations offered by the report will inform broader SDG monitoring efforts. Given the global scope of the report, the findings only provide broad brushstrokes of key challenges and opportunities. They must be validated through national and locally relevant monitoring, too.

Despite these limitations and the subsequent need to interpret it with caution, the report is an impressive first attempt at taking stock of performance against each SDG from a gender and social inclusion perspective. It also calls for more concerted SDG monitoring efforts by different actors, including research organizations.

In an upcoming article, I will outline how CGIAR can play a meaningful role in contributing to future efforts to monitor SDGs from a gender and social inclusion perspective.

By Bimbika Sijapati Basnett, originally published by the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research

Notes: [1] Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in UN Women 2018, 18


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Gender equality and social inclusion in forestry and agroforestry


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Both women and men can depend on forests, agroforestry and trees for their livelihoods, and play a critical role in managing them. However, there are significant inequalities in roles, rights and responsibilities among women and men in rural areas. These inequalities are reflected in the ways in which women and men participate in decision-making, benefit from forest and tree resources, and experience changes in forest and tree-based landscapes. The forestry and agroforestry sector has much to contribute to addressing inequalities between women and men, and empowering disadvantaged women and men in ways that contribute to sustainable rural landscapes. This video explains how FTA is tackling this challenge head on.

Originally published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Produced by CIFOR as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors


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Gender-responsive methodology for value chain development


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Testing the 5Capitals-G methodology in India. Photo by Shrinivas Hegde
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Testing the 5Capitals-G methodology in India. Photo by Shrinivas Hegde

Over the past decade, value chain development has been widely promoted as a catalyst for rural economic growth.

As smallholder farmers become increasingly integrated into value chains, how can scholars and development practitioners ensure that the benefits of participation accrue equitably to both women and men? This was the topic of a workshop hosted by Bioversity International and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) at the recent Tropentag 2017 conference.

The workshop centered around insights resulting from the testing of 5Capitals-G, a gender-responsive methodology building on the 5Capitals toolkit for assessing the poverty impacts of value chain development. It addresses the principal gaps identified in existing guides for gender-equitable value chain development. These gaps include limited coverage of the way norms influence gender relations, gender-equitable opportunities in collective enterprises, and how value chain development can effectively transform inequitable gender relations.

For this reason, 5Capitals-G examines gender-differentiated asset endowments at the level of both smallholder households and the collective enterprises they are often linked with, and by identifying gender-based constraints shaped by cultural norms and values.

Read more: Piloting gender-responsive research tool 5Capitals-G in three countries

“We started with an overview of strengths and weaknesses of common guides for gender-equitable value chain development designed by international organizations” said Dietmar Stoian, Senior Scientist for Value Chains and Private Sector Engagement at Bioversity, and a coorganizer of the workshop.

“With these in mind, we presented findings from our recent validation of 5Capitals-G as to how women and men have access to, control, and build assets at household and collective enterprise level. Based on this, we can determine the extent to which asset endowments and asset building are gender equitable and adjust value chain interventions accordingly.”

Assessing the poverty impacts of value chain development

Addressing the principal gaps identified in existing guides for gender-equitable value chain development, Bioversity International and ICRAF have joined forces to strengthen the gender dimension of 5Capitals. This new version of the methodology allows for the establishment of gender-responsive baselines and the assessment of gender-differentiated impacts of value chain development among smallholders and other resource-poor groups involved in value chains.

“Two interrelated ideas underpin the design of 5Capitals-G: the poor’s access to assets is a critical entry point for their effective participation in value chains, and the poor’s capacity to build assets through value chain engagement can provide a viable pathway out of poverty,” explained Jason Donovan, Leader for Value Chains and Transformational Change at ICRAF.

5Capitals-G provides insight into what assets are available in households and collective enterprises, which of these are more controlled by men or women, and which are managed jointly. We are particularly interested in understanding positive feedback loops between asset building at household and asset building at enterprise level.”

Insights from Asia and Latin America

5Capitals-G has been tested across diverse settings in Guatemala, India and Peru, providing valuable insights for improving the design of the tool and guidance for the interpretation of results. These adjustments ensure that practioners will be able to count on a validated methodology for enhancing the design, implementation and assessment of gender-equitable value chain development initiatives.

Panelists at the workshop on gender equitable value chains held at Tropentag 2017 included Ana Maria Paez-Valencia (left to right), Trent Blare, Jason Donovan, Dietmar Stoian, Gennifer Meldrum and Hugo Lamers. Photo by Susan Onyango/ICRAF

Hugo Lamers, Associate Scientist in Socioeconomics and Marketing at Bioversity International, used the methodology in the value chains of non-timber forest products such as mango, murugulu (Garcinia indica) and uppage (Garcinia gummigatta) in Karnataka, India.

“Besides taking care of domestic activities, women contributed substantially to income generation through wage labour, farming and collection of forest products,” said Lamers. “We learned that the major bottleneck for women’s participation in local cooperatives is the rule of ‘one member per household’, resulting in a largely male-dominated member base of most cooperatives.”

Gennifer Meldrum, Research Fellow in Nutrition, Marketing and Diversity at Bioversity International, tested the methodology with local partners in millet value chains in Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, India.

“The collective enterprise we studied has contributed to asset building across all the five capitals. Women’s participation in cooperative leadership and millet value chain activities are strongly encouraged by the Federation,” she said. “However, a male bias remains due to women’s limitations in terms of time and mobility. Physical assets households have acquired through value chain participation are very rarely controlled by women alone, but often benefit the household as a whole.”

Read more: Gender and forestry gain increasing attention worldwide

Further testing of 5Capitals-G was done in the cocoa value chain in Peru. “In addition to the important role women play in the production of cocoa, we were surprised to discover the strong influence they had in production and marketing decisions,” said Trent Blair, Markets and Value Chain Specialist at ICRAF.

“We realized that a stronger role of women in cocoa and other value chains in Peru is hampered by their limited access to information, technical assistance and training. This requires specific efforts for targeted value chain development interventions to ensure equitable capacity development.”

Interviewing smallholder households in Peru. Photo by Trent Blare/ICRAF

Stoian, together with local partners in Petén, Guatemala, tested 5Capitals-G in value chains of valuable woods including mahogany and tropical walnut, and non-timber forest products such as Chamaedorea palm and Maya nut (Brosimum alicastrum).

“We found evidence that under given conditions income derived from forest products can help people move out of poverty. In terms of reinvestment of forest-based income we learned that decision making at household level was rather equitable with regard to building human and social capitals, while investment decisions on natural, physical and financial capitals were more skewed toward men,” he shared.

“At the level of community forest enterprises, women have recently assumed stronger roles in production and decision making, particularly as regards non-timber forest products, but timber activities and related decisions continue to be largely a male domain.”

Implications for gender-equitable value chain development

“Gender dimensions of access to and control over assets and other resources have an important impact on the opportunities and constraints that women and men face when participating in value chain development initiatives,” said Ana María Paez Valencia, Gender Social Scientist at ICRAF, who moderated the workshop.

In synthesizing the discussion, she pointed out that differential access and control over assets has implications on women’s bargaining position within households to make strategic household and life decisions, as well as their ability to assume new roles or opportunities resulting from value chain initiatives.

“Looking forward, it would be interesting to use 5Capitals-G for insights into the impact of the gender asset gap on household livelihood outcomes in the context of value chain development; and to better understand the trade-offs between increased value chain engagement of women and the time they invest in other activities including those related to household care,” she added.

Outlook 

Participants at the workshop expressed interest in 5Capitals-G, which will be available in early 2018, along with the documented findings of the case studies. As Stoian and Donovan summarized at the end of the workshop: “5Capitals-G will be a key methodology for all practitioners interested in asset-based approaches to value chain development with a gender lens.”

By Susan Onyango, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World


This work was supported by the CGIAR Research Programs on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) and CGIAR Research Programs Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which are supported by CGIAR Fund Donors

Bioversity International and ICRAF thank Lutheran World Relief, Rainforest Alliance and USAID for funding this work. 


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