GREAT Fellows from across our first four courses and two spinoff courses gather in late 2019 for the Pro-WEAI Level 2 training in Kampala


In this year of upheaval and adjustments, we feel especially grateful to be part of this supportive community, working together to build up a more positive, equitable future. While we miss meeting many of you face to face, the interactions we have over email, Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp remind us that what we're building together is more durable than the chaos we feel at the moment.

In this spirit, we're excited to host the first ever GREAT Symposium in late November. This online event will be a chance for us to gather as a community, share what we've learned on our journeys toward a more gender-responsive research environment, and strengthen existing connections or build new ones. See farther down in this newsletter for details on how to join. We hope to see many of you there!

The pause on large, in-person gatherings has certainly impacted the core of what GREAT is and does, delivering in-depth, high quality face-to-face team trainings. Our Theme 5 course, planned for July, has been postponed until we have greater clarity on travel and safety. And yet, the change has pushed us to wade into new waters. In collaboration with the Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement (ILCI), GREAT is currently developing online training modules, allowing us to expand our reach and test out the strengths and weaknesses of using this delivery approach.

Moving online has had benefits in other areas, as well. In early August we wrapped up our Year 5 annual meeting, and using an online format allowed us to expand our audience, bringing in representatives of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the GREAT advisory committee; our monitoring and evaluation partner, Aline Impact; the CGIAR GENDER Platform; Excellence in Breeding; African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD); the International Development Research Centre (IDRC); the CGIAR Gender & Breeding Initiative; Landesa; Oxford University; USAID; IFPRI; Cultural Practice, LLC; and Cornell and Makerere University leadership. The discussions and feedback we received will be instrumental in helping us shape a course forward as we plan our next phase.

If all goes according to plan, GREAT will hold its first Southern Africa spinoff courses in late 2020 / early 2021, in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Participants are expected from Botswana, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and will likely include teams from the Legume Systems Innovation Lab.

And throughout everything that's been happening, we've been active as always, including speaking engagements at the 8th World Sustainability Forum alongside AWARD's Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg on September 16th, speaking at a book launch by IFPRI on global agricultural extension systems on September 10th, and a presentation to the USAID Innovation Lab Directors Meeting.

Stay safe and well, and thank you for joining us on this journey!

With gratitude,
Margaret Mangheni and Hale Tufan
GREAT Co-Principal Investigators
Participate in the upcoming GREAT Symposium
Symposium on gender-responsive crop breeding: Sharing evidence and experience from the field
November 23rd-24th, 2020

Join colleagues from across the GREAT Community of Practice for the first GREAT Symposium! This two-day virtual event will provide an international and multidisciplinary platform for GREAT fellows and trainers to share research results related to gender in crop breeding. See the symposium flyer for more details.

Submission Deadlines
Abstracts and PPT presentations: October 15th
Final PPT presentations: November 18th

Please send all submissions to 

GREAT CoP in the news
In face of crisis, equitable farming systems grow in Nigeria
By Chris Knight
Cornell Chronicle

In northeast Nigeria, where agriculture forms the backbone of rural communities and livelihoods, the militant group Boko Haram has forced millions to flee their homes and take refuge in crowded settlements on the outskirts of the region's largest cities and towns. They're leaving behind not just their homes, but their ways of life.

In the region's largest city, Maiduguri, an estimated 130,000 displaced people have settled into urban and peri-urban camps - part of more than 1.4 million displaced people living in camps throughout Borno State alone.

Many in the camps are farmers, cut off from their lands and communities and unsure of when they will be able to return home, get back to their fields and earn a living again. And a significant portion of these farmers are women, many of whom face obstacles because of their gender.

"We're now trying to educate them, trying to explain to them that both women and men are equal in terms of whatever they are doing, so they shouldn't be denigrated."

Amid these dire circumstances, a program is helping displaced Nigerian farmers create income opportunities and plan for the future by providing gender-responsive training, education about best agronomic practices, access to land and seed, and marketing opportunities. Continue reading...

Men in Kitchens and the (re) configurations of masculinity in domestic spaces during Covid-19 Lockdown in Uganda
By Amon Ashaba Mwiine
Gender &

Emerging public discourses around the COVID-19 crisis have characterised this pandemic as unprecedented and disruptive. How exactly do such global disruptions of unprecedented nature affect men and masculinities? What kind of narratives around men and masculinities did Corona Virus and its associated preventive measures set off? What do such narratives teach us about changing gender relations and masculinities?

These questions form part of my reflections on what I term 'lockdown masculinities' - new insights into men's lives, actions, inter-actions and negotiations between and amongst men, women and children and emerging social practices and (social) media representations associated with men during the COVID-19 crisis in Uganda.

Uganda, like the rest of the globe, experienced Corona Virus and its disruptive effect. Mid-March, President Yoweri Museveni ordered the closure of all public events. Religious institutions, political gatherings and all schools among other public engagements shut down, with majority of us who spent most of their time in the public, retreating into the domestic sphere for uncertain period of time. The president declared COVID-19 pandemic as a war, a discourse that intersected with the COVID-19 uncertainty to disrupt gender relations even further. Continue reading...

Shifting Perspectives: Adapting research agendas to the opportunities of COVID-19
By Elisabeth Garner
Gender, Food, Agriculture, and Coronavirus Blog

Three weeks before the stay-at-home orders began, I started a postdoc at Cornell University's Department of Global Development. Starting a new position requires a shift in research agenda regardless. However, the pandemic and travel restrictions have created a whole new context. As a result, I have had to reflect on what COVID-19 means for gender and agriculture research broadly, and on how I can contribute to the field during this time.
Transnational feminists write diligently about cross-border engagement, recognizing the ways that history, economics, and systems of power are experienced through race, gender, class, sexualities, etc. The pandemic is shifting and highlighting these dynamics within and between borders, and COVID-19 makes crossing borders more dangerous. For those who are not crossing borders physically, critical reflection of international collaborations and the resulting power dynamics remains important as our absence creates new opportunities to engage with partners who continue working in our absence. Continue reading...

GREAT CoP Updates
Natson Eyram Amengor
Research Scientist
CSIR-Crops Research Institute, Ghana
PhD Candidate
KNUST-Kumasi, Ghana
GREAT Fellow, Theme 2 Course
GREAT trained me during the second cohort (Cereals cohort) on cutting edge gender tools to enrich the quality of my agricultural research. Following the seed grant from GREAT that gave me an insight into "Experiences of Men and Women in Drought Tolerant Maize (DTM) adoption", I set out to undertake a PhD programme in Agricultural Economics. Having enrolled in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology-Kumasi, Ghana and having satisfied all the taught course requirements, I had to settle on a topic.

With the gender passion that had been kindled by GREAT, I was fired up to do something gender-related and create a different stream of interest in a department that has great love for econometric models. Therefore, after consultation with my supervisor, I settled on "Gendered Implications of Drought Tolerant Maize Production on Household Income and Food Security of Smallholder Farmers in Ghana" as my topic. The main objective of the research is "to explore the implications of access and production of drought tolerant maize on income and food security of smallholder farmers". Specifically I set out to look for the following;
  • To outline the information flow, resource ownership and farm decision-making status of men and women farmers in relation to DTM
  • To establish the level and determinants of awareness and adoption of DTM for men and women farmers
  • To determine profitability of DTM production for men and women farmers
  • To determine the income diversification for men and women farmers
  • To estimate the impact of DTM production on income and food security of men and women farmers
My proposal has been accepted by the department and I am currently preparing my questionnaire for data collection. I am also humbled to say that one of my three supervisors is Dr. Bright Owusu Asante, who happens to be a GREAT fellow (Cereals cohort). I look forward to an interesting research output. Thanks to GREAT for lending me their GENDER LENS.
Amon Ashaba Mwiine
School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University, Uganda
GREAT Trainer
I am passionate about exploring gender relations, particularly critical masculinities.

Academic Promotion
I was promoted to the position of Lecturer by Makerere University in May 2020. This is after graduating with a PhD (sociology) at Stellenbosch University, South Africa December 2018. The Doctoral study focused on interrogating the emerging phenomenon of "male champions" - men who speak to issues of gender apparently on behalf of women - in legislative processes in the Uganda Parliament.
Motivating Conversations on changing Masculinities in Crisis contexts
As an Andrew Mellon Research Fellow in the college of Humanities and Social sciences, Makerere University, my research has on feminist encounter with men and masculinities has revealed silences, complexities and polarities that animate gender equity narratives in Uganda and Beyond. Under this project, I have investigated what I term "Lockdown Masculinities". Lockdown masculinities are seen as new insights into men's lives, actions, inter-actions and negotiations between and amongst men, women and children and emerging social practices and (social) media representations associated with men during Covid -19 crisis in Uganda. These conversations have contributed to critical reflections on masculinities within the academia at Makerere University. My upcoming book chapter (in press) which is part of these conversations is entitled Studying men and masculinities in global crises: Critical reflections on Covid-19 "lockdown masculinities" in Uganda.  I have attached a sample page and a hint on the kinds of conversations.

Beyond War Compensation
In November 2019, in one of the field research exercises on a project entitled "Beyond War Compensation" in the College of Humanities at Makerere University, in the Northern part of Uganda, I encountered interesting conversations on changing masculinities in the context of post-war experiences in the region. Men that I interviewed took time to illustrate ways in which their post-war experiences disoriented cultural, social and economic resources upon which men drew their ideal notions of manhood. Below is a picture of one of the men I talked to, illustrating shifts in land tenure system and agricultural practices to the detriment of women and men in post-conflict communities.

16 Days of Activism
The other photograph, below, was taken in 2019, as I gave a keynote address during the 16 days of activism at Makerere University. The paper I presented was titled "Let us talk about Silence: Critical Reflections on "Rumoured" Experiences of Sexual Violence in Institutions of Higher Learning".

Faculty for the Future
Schlumberger Foundation
The Faculty for the Future program, launched in 2004, awards fellowships to women from developing and emerging countries to pursue PhD or Post-doctoral research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at leading universities worldwide. The program's long-term goal is to accelerate gender equality in STEM by generating conditions that result in more women pursuing scientific careers through alleviating some of the barriers they encounter when enrolling in STEM disciplines. The program is committed to gender parity in science and recognizes that full access to and participation in a STEM curriculum is essential for the empowerment of women and girls. By accelerating gender equality in STEM, the talent and capacities of these women can be developed for the benefit of their local communities, regions and nations. Faculty for the Future grants are based on actual costs for eligible expenses up to a maximum of USD 50,000 per year for a PhD and maximum of USD 40,000 per year for a Post-doc and may be renewed through to completion of studies. Renewal grants are subject to performance, recommendations from supervisors and strong evidence of re-integration plans in the home country. Learn more and apply...
Covid-19 Resources
While countries around the world rapidly adapt to the spreading novel coronavirus, norms of work, research and even basic social interactions are thrown into disarray. How can researchers and research programs adapt? What does this mean for field research in general, and for gender-responsive approaches specifically? We've collected a short list of resources to help you navigate this new time.
New publications from the GREAT CoP and Beyond
GREAT hosts a curated collection of key resources from the CoP and beyond on our free Zotero group. While all the metadata and links for each resource are viewable without an account, signing up for a free account gives access to all available full-text PDFs as well: Authors listed in bold are part of the GREAT CoP.
'Gender considerations in development and utilisation of technological innovations: evidence from Ghana'

Addison, M., Mujawamariya, G., & Bam, R. (2020). Development in Practice, 30(1), 15-26.  Access the article on the GREAT CoP Zotero group.

The article investigates the linkages between gender, development and utilisation of technological innovations in Ghana. The study adopted an exploratory design and used thematic content analysis for the qualitative data derived from in-depth interviews with rice scientists and farmers. The findings revealed that research institutions lack the requisite mandate, capacity and resources to mainstream gender issues in research activities. The findings also showed that the varietal preference of male rice farmers is marketability, whereas that of their female counterparts is early maturity, suggesting differences in gender needs and concerns. Broader investment in rice research for gender-inclusiveness and equity is recommended.

'Not only the seed matters: Farmers' perceptions of sources for banana planting materials in Uganda'

Kilwinger, F.B.M., Marimo, P., Rietveld, A.M., Almekinders, C.J.M., van Dam, Y.K. (2020).

The adoption of improved seed and other planting material in developing countries shows mixed results despite their potential to increase agricultural productivity. To arrive at a better understanding of the observed adoption rates, a lot of research is focused on finding the cultivars and variety traits that are attractive to farmers. Given smallholder farmers' seed sourcing practices are often influenced by social ties and cultural norms, it is also relevant to understand where and why farmers seek to acquire planting material. In this study, means-end chain analysis was applied to understand farmers' perceptions of formal and informal sources of banana planting material. Means-end chain analysis allows respondents to select and verbalize their own constructs to evaluate a product or service. These personally relevant constructs are subsequently linked to their personal goals via laddering interviews. We interviewed 31 Ugandan banana farmers from Western and Central region. Farmers associated formal sources mainly with improved cultivars, tissue culture plantlets and low levels of diversity. Informal seed sources were mostly associated with traditional cultivars, suckers and high levels of diversity. The goals farmers pursued while acquiring planting material, such as financial gains, food security, and to sustain and develop the household, were fairly similar among different groups of farmers. The means through which farmers aimed and preferred to pursue these goals differed and could be related to aspects such as gender, production scale and production goals. These differences among farmers preferences for particular sources indicate that not only cultivar traits should be tailored to farmers' preferences and needs, but also the characteristics of the sources from which farmers access planting material.

'A Gender Perspective on Pest and Disease Management From the Cases of Roots, Tubers and Bananas in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa'

Kawarazuka, N., Damtew, E., Mayanja, S., Okonya, J.S., Rietveld, A., Slavchevska, V., and Teeken, B. (2020). Frontiers in Agronomy. Access the article on the GREAT CoP Zotero group.

Considering gender in research on pests and diseases is increasingly important as it facilitates development of more efficient approaches to increasing the adoption of crop protection technologies and practices by women and men farmers according to their roles, knowledge, and capacities. However, this task is often assigned to social scientists in isolation from agronomists. Meanwhile, agronomists often struggle to understand how taking a gender perspective could enrich their research. Drawing on a number of different cases from both published and unpublished field research in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, this perspective article illustrates how a gender perspective can broaden the aspects of agronomy research and thereby contribute to improving crop production and scaling up of existing technologies and practices. Its targeted audience are agronomists and development practitioners, in particular, young researchers who are central to transdisciplinary agricultural research in the future.

'Bargaining power, decision making, and biofortification: The role of gender in adoption of orange sweet potato in Uganda'

Gilligan, D.O., Kumar, N., McNiven, S., Meenakshi, J.V., & Quisumbing, A. (2020). Food Policy, 101909. Access the article on the GREAT CoP Zotero group.

We examine the role of gender dimensions of intrahousehold bargaining power and decision making in the adoption and diffusion of orange sweet potato (OSP), a biofortified crop being promoted to increase dietary intakes of vitamin A in Uganda. We use patterns of ownership and control of land and other assets by married men and women to create gender-disaggregated indicators of bargaining power, allowing for joint and sole ownership and control of land and assets. Using data from an experimental evaluation of a project promoting OSP adoption, we find that the probability of adopting OSP is not affected by the exclusive or joint control of assets by women at the household level. However, within households, parcels of land under joint control, in which the woman has primary control over decision making, are significantly more likely to contain OSP. Women who control a higher share of household nonland resources are more likely to share OPS vines, showing that women use greater bargaining power to facilitate diffusion of this health-promoting technology. We do not find any impact of women's bargaining power on children's dietary intakes of Vitamin A, possibly because husbands and wives have the same preferences regarding their children's nutritional status. These results contribute to reshaping our understanding of household decision making to inform the design and implementation of agriculture-nutrition interventions.

'Participatory Research (PR) at CIP with Potato Farming Systems in the Andes: Evolution and Prospects'

Ortiz O., Thiele G., Nelson R., Bentley J.W. (2020) In: Campos H., Ortiz O. (eds) The Potato Crop. Springer, ChamAccess the chapter on the GREAT CoP Zotero group.

Participatory Research (PR) at the International Potato Center (CIP) included seven major experiences. (1) Farmer-back-to-farmer in the 1970s pioneered the idea of working with farmers to identify their needs, propose solutions, and explain the underlying scientific concepts. The ideas were of great influence at CIP and beyond. (2) With integrated pest management (IPM) pilot areas in the early 1990s, entomologists and social scientists developed technologies with farmers in Peru and other countries to control insect pests. Households that adopted just some of the techniques enjoyed high economic returns, and this showed the importance of IPM specialists, social scientists, and farmers working together. (3) Farmer field school (FFS) was adapted for participatory research in the 2000s. Farmers learned that late blight was caused by a microorganism, while testing resistant varieties and fungicides, and researchers took into account more specifically farmer knowledge for training and PR purposes. (4) CIP used participatory varietal selection (PVS) after 2004 to form consortia of farmers, local government, NGOs, and research. Farmers' preferences were disaggregated by gender. Selection criteria of other market actors were included, and new varieties were released, showing the importance of combining farmer and researcher knowledge in this process. (5) Participatory approaches to develop native potato variety value chains. After 2000, CIP used the PMCA (participatory market chain analysis) and stakeholder platforms to improve smallholders' access to markets. PMCA brought farmers and other market actors together to form stakeholder platforms which created market innovations, including new potato-based products, expanding the inclusion of diverse actors in the PR processes. (6) Advocacy for PR and policy change with the Andean Change Alliance tested PR methods including PVS and PMCA from 2007 to 2010, providing evidence to influence policies to include smallholders in research and development. (7) After 2010, nutrition-related PR documented anemia among children in the high Andes, which could be mitigated by eating native potatoes rich in zinc and iron. CIP partnered with 20 organizations to improve household incomes and nutrition. Over four decades, CIP continues evolving in using PR, showing that combining social and biological scientists' input and keeping farmers' views upfront was key for PR. The experience also showed that the participation of other actors related to the value chains was needed in order to create successful agronomic, market, and social innovations. Future participatory research at CIP may be improved by using ICT to enrich diversity and richness of information sharing among PR actors.

'Food and Agriculture Systems Foresight Study: Implications for Gender, Poverty, and Nutrition'

Lentz, E. (2020). Rome: CGIAR Independent Science for Development Council (ISDC). Access the study online.

Agricultural and food systems in the next 20 to 30 years will face substantial change. Numerous forces such as demographic waves, technological change, disease, climate change, and economic and political shifts will change what is grown by whom, how it reaches consumers, and what is consumed by whom. If current trends continue, malnutrition is expected to increase, poverty will likely worsen for some individuals, and some populations will face increased vulnerability (FAO 2018a; WEF 2017; Willett et al. 2019). At the same time, the agri-food system (AFS) can be harnessed to decrease poverty, improve nutrition, and improve gender equality, among other positive outcomes. The objective of this document is to synthesize existing agriculture and food foresight studies. It conducts an analysis to identify common and rare themes across three foresight methods: (1) anticipated trends and drivers impacting agricultural and food systems, (2) variations in agricultural and food system scenarios, and (3) visions for future agricultural and food systems. This review evaluates the prospective effects with regard to three One CGIAR impact areas: gender,1 poverty, and nutrition. For the purpose of this study, the desired impacts are improved gender equality (equity), decreased poverty, and reduced malnutrition in all its forms, with special attention to efforts to enhance diet quality (in contrast to primarily expanding caloric availability). 

'From Working in the Fields to Taking Control. Towards a Typology of Women's Decision-Making in Wheat in India'

Farnworth, C.R., Jafry, T., Bharati, P., Badstue, L. & Yadav, A. (2020). The European Journal of Development Research. Access the study online.

Women in India perform a range of roles in wheat-based agricultural systems. However, data remain sparse. Cultural norms which construct men as farmers serve to conceal women's contributions from researchers and rural advisory services. We use data from communities in four Indian states, selected to exemplify high and low gender gaps, to provide insights into how women are challenging norms which privilege male decision-making in order to participate in innovation processes. We hypothesized the transitioning of women from labourers in wheat to innovators and managers of wheat is likely to be far from straightforward. We further hypothesized that women are actively managing the processes unleashed by various sources of change. We use the concept of doxa-ideas and actions in a society that are taken for granted and are beyond questioning-as an analytic lens to help us understand the ways in which women deploy their agency to secure their goals. Our analysis allows us to develop a 'A typology of women's strategies to strengthen their managerial decision-making power in wheat'.

'Markets and Spillover Effects of Political Institutions in Promoting Women's Empowerment: Evidence From India'

Pandey, V., Singh, S. & Unni, J. Feminist Economics (2020). Access the article online.

This study presents fresh evidence that market interventions aimed at empowering women are more effective in the presence of formal political institutions, using the case of political reservations for women in Indian local governments. It uses data from 2,423 households in 100 Indian villages and accounts for endogeneity through the instrumental variable method to investigate women engaged in the Indian dairy sector following the implementation of India's National Dairy Plan, which seeks to connect women with formal retail markets. Results suggest that while markets provide "passive" forms of agency to women, political representation can transition this to "active" forms of agency, allowing women to exhibit purposeful behavior. However, spillover effects of reservations (quotas) do not contribute significantly to women's intrahousehold agency since they continue to depend on male counterparts for routine and intermittent decisions. Additionally, in community matters, the cumulative effect of reservations is more pronounced than standalone market impacts.

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