GREAT Theme 1 Fellow Grace Obaiya Utoblo, Nigeria, shows off tubers in a field plot. Photo: Obaiya Utoblo.
At GREAT we treat gender as the complex, socially-constructed phenomenon that it is, something to be woven throughout agricultural research projects from start to finish, and we design our courses to reflect this. GREAT courses are deeply personal, deeply inter-personal and deeply interdisciplinary. But how do you adapt this to online delivery, with no face-to-face contact? Could we still ground gender theory in deeply personal terms if people are joining from laptops and phones? Could we forge interdisciplinarity if people tune in from disparate locations?

In March we tested these questions, delivering our first online course to 53 participants from 14 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, and just this past week we delivered a custom course for IRRI and the Accelerated Genetic Gain in Rice (AGGRi) Alliance – our first step onto the Asian continent! What we found surprised us in many ways – moving online allowed deeper dialog and connection between participants and trainers, particularly around the tricky and challenging interpersonal terrain that starts out the course. On the other hand, some sessions were trickier than we'd expected, reinforcing the need to ensure that participants are well grounded in key concepts.

Through this we've learned valuable lessons to take forward, even after the pandemic subsides and face-to-face interactions resume – lessons that will help us deliver better courses, for more researchers. We'll share more details about our findings in an upcoming newsletter, and continue to fine-tune our delivery model based on what we've learned. In the meantime we invite you to read about our recent courses in the stories below, and check out new opportunities and resources – including release of the new G+ product profile and customer profile tools from our friends at the CGIAR Gender & Breeding Initiative.

Stay tuned as well for news about GREAT's next steps as we move beyond our first phase. From new collaborations with the CGIAR GENDER Platform to a new work agenda, we're more excited than ever about the GREAT journey, and we're so pleased that you're with us on the path to creating more equitable, effective and prosperous agricultural systems.


Dr. Margaret Mangheni and Dr. Hale Tufan,
GREAT Co-Principal Investigators
In the News
GREAT Theme 5 Virtual Course Successfully completed: Agricultural Researchers equipped with deeper understanding of Gender Responsiveness in Crop Breeding programs
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University | By Esther Namitala and Elizabeth Asiimwe

Following a two-week training session dubbed “GREAT Theme 5 course,” more than 50 researchers from more than ten Sub-Saharan African countries were equipped with gender responsive knowledge to enable them to integrate gender into their crop breeding programs. The training, which took place from March 8th to March 22nd, 2021, was organized by Makerere University’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) in collaboration with Cornell University under the project titled Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT). Read more on the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences website.
Over 50 Agricultural Researchers Across sub-Saharan Africa Equipped with Gender Responsive Knowledge at the GREAT Theme 5 Course
School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University | By Esther Namitala

As the world celebrated International Women's Day 2021, which focused on “choosing to end all forms of gender inequalities against women”, the Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) project launched a two-week course aimed at closing the gender gap in crop breeding programs for equitable agricultural development. The course offers gender-responsive research skills tailored to help agricultural researchers address gender issues through the conceptualization, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of their research projects. Read more on the School of Women and Gender Studies website.
G+ Tools Now Available!
GBI Tools: G+ Customer Profile Tool / G+ Product Profile Tool
CGIAR Gender & Breeding Initiative (GBI)

Over the last three years, the CGIAR Gender and Breeding Initiative (GBI) has been developing the G+ Customer Profile Tool and the G+ Product Profile Query Tool (the G+ Tools) to help integrate gender issues into breeding programs to increase crop varietal adoption and bring about greater social impact. Both tools, and their supporting documentation, are now available on CGSpace:

Piloting the G+ Tools: In 2019, the CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform (EiB) approved a grant to pilot the G+ Tools in two African-based breeding programs for beans and cassava. The piloting implied integration of the Tools into the EIB product profile development framework. Later CIP, with the support of RTB, incorporated the sweetpotato breeding program in Uganda to be part of the piloting process. Eventually, representatives from the banana and cereals and lentils breeding programs in Uganda and the CWANA region, respectively, also joined the process. Read the open-access workshop report on the tool piloting here.
Opportunities and Events
2nd African Plant Breeders Association (APBA) Conference
October 25-30, 2021 | Hybrid Online / in person (Kigali, Rwanda)

The APBA in partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and several other institutions have the pleasure to announce the second Conference of the APBA (#APBAConf2021). The conference will be hosted both virtually and in-person at the Kigali Convention Centre, Kigali, Rwanda from October 25-30, 2021. The theme for the Conference will be “Accelerating genetic gains in plant breeding for resilience and transformative food systems and economic growth in Africa.” Due to the multidisciplinary nature of plant breeding, organizers anticipate the participation of leading scientists and students from a wide range of disciplines and from across the globe to discuss current research outputs and outcomes in plant breeding and related disciplines. Join GREAT for a special session on gender and crop breeding, featuring GREAT Fellows and project leadership; details forthcoming. For conference details and registration visit the conference website.
Now available: The project-level Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (Pro-WEAI) Distance Learning Module
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) | By Ara Go and Emily Myers

Empowered women make their own life choices. About family, finances, farming—and much more. Many development projects say they want to contribute to women’s empowerment. But important questions remain: How do we know that what we’re doing works? How can we ensure our good intentions translate into good results? These questions guided the development of the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), launched in 2012. WEAI has now been used in 56 countries by 108 organizations. Given this rapid uptake and the overwhelming demand for technical support, IFPRI has developed the pro-WEAI Foundations Module, the first in the pro-WEAI Distance Learning Course. The module’s aim is to train researchers and practitioners on the pro-WEAI tool, from its background to its practical application within the project context. If that sounds like it might be useful to you and/or your project, consider taking this module. It provides conceptual frameworks, tools and resources, and approaches to integrating the index tools into your project, based on real-world experiences from the team that developed it. Read more on the IFPRI website.
Call for proposals: Consultant for power dynamics research and analysis of international crop breeding teams
USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement (ILCI)

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement (ILCI) is seeking proposals for a consultant to conduct research on power dynamics and an analysis of international crop breeding teams. This call is to identify a qualified consultant to work with the ILCI team to forge a path in this nascent research area. The research question that underlies this work is: How do power dynamics in breeding teams and institutions effect interdisciplinarity and voice of social scientists, especially gender specialists in these teams? We intend to engage a highly qualified consultant with experience in “researching researchers” and applying ethnographic methodologies, preferably with familiarity with agricultural science or plant breeding, and with a background in social science, science technology studies, or organizational behavior. The consultant would work collaboratively with the ILCI team members to design a research agenda, conduct the fieldwork, and write up the results for internal and external circulation. Read more on the ILCI website.
Postdoctoral Associate: Priority Setting for Crop Improvement
Department of Global Development, Cornell University / USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement (ILCI)

The Cornell University Department of Global Development is searching for a highly motivated postdoctoral fellow interested in research on priority setting for crop improvement in agriculture. The position will be supporting The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement (ILCI) to develop and implement an impact centered priority setting framework for crop improvement programs, provide research support to partner programs, and collaboratively develop and adapt priority setting tools and methods tailored for National Agricultural Research Institutions (NARIs) in ILCI target countries. The postdoc will work with the interdisciplinary ILCI priority setting team, co-led by Hale Ann Tufan and Miguel Gomez. We are seeking a full-time researcher with an agricultural economics background to primarily support ILCI Centers of Innovation (CoIs) in the following areas: framework development (50%); tool/method development (25%); and research support (25%). Read the job description on the Cornell University website.
Call for Papers: 'Advancing Gender Equality in Rural Areas of Developing Countries'
Sustainability Special Issue | Guest Editors: Prof. Dr. Robyn Alders, Development Policy Centre, Australian National University; Dr. Nicoline de Haan, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

This Special Issue comprises papers that explore the multifaceted dimensions of gender equality in relation to sustainable development in rural areas in Africa, Asia, Latin America and The Pacific. This Special Issue attempts to tackle the following questions. How can the use of a gender framework promote individual and household development that is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable? How important are gender transformative approaches? How does the gender perspective fit into agroecological system thinking? What is the role of gender in relation to the search for sustainable solutions to humanitarian crises in rural areas? How do gender dynamics within development projects affect outcomes? How can we promote more equitable development in rural areas that acknowledges the needs and aspirations of both women and men? How do social movements fit within this discussion? What is the role of policy in this debate? And how does the rural–urban divide enhance or reduce gender inequalities? Read more on the Sustainability website.
Publications from the CoP and Beyond
Freely access 226 full-text articles in the GREAT CoP Zotero Group library.
Authors in bold, below, are CoP members.
A review of crop variety evaluation in Roots, Tubers and Bananas: geographic coverage, approaches, trait inclusion, and gender aspects
Valle, J.F. (2021). Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT; Wageningen University 41 p.

Participatory crop breeding and selection are a relatively new and promising field of research with a potential to improve field performance and adoption. This is particularly true in the case of root, tuber and banana (RTB) crops which despite their important contribution to energy intake in the tropics rely on small scale production and traditional varieties. This review compiles available literature in order to analyse geographic and temporal trends in research methodologies, gender inclusiveness and trait preferences across participatory research in cassava, banana, plantain, sweetpotato, yam and potato. The purpose of this paper is to provide insights for breeders and social scientists in order to improve protocols and better target participatory research in the future. Read the open-access research report here.
When Is Choice Empowering? Examining Gender Differences in Varietal Adoption through Case Studies from Sub-Saharan Africa
Polar, V., Ashby, J. A., Thiele, G., & Tufan, H. (2021). Sustainability, 13(7), 3678.

Using quantitative, qualitative and sensorial data collected from western (Kabale) and central (Rakai) Uganda, this paper identifies and describes gender‐responsive traits preferred in varieties for the boiled potato market. These traits are aggregated into a product profile to support breeding programme design and decision‐making that will increase probability of variety acceptance. Read the open-access article here.
Gender Roles in Sourcing and Sharing of Banana Planting Material in Communities with and without Banana Bunchy Top Disease in Nigeria
Nkengla-Asi, L., Eforuoku, F., Olaosebikan, O., Adejoju Ladigbolu, T., Amah, D., Hanna, R., & Kumar, P. (2021). Sustainability, 13(6), 3310.

Banana bunchy top disease (BBTD) is the most devastating disease of banana and plantain (Musa spp.). The disease spreads through the use of infected vegetative propagules and the banana aphid (Pentalonia nigronervosa) is the virus vector. This study seeks to understand the gender dimensions and sociocultural aspects of banana seed (vegetative propagule) sourcing and sharing practices among men and women farmers, and its influence on BBTD spread and disease control efforts. Read the open-access article here.
Farmers’ preferences for climate-smart cowpea varieties: implications for crop breeding programmes
Martey, E., Etwire, P. M., Adogoba, D. S., & Tengey, T. K. (2021). Climate and Development, 1-16.

Despite sustained efforts to promote climate-smart technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), adoption remains low. At the same time, the downside risks associated with climate change and food insecurity are becoming acute. Improved cowpea varieties are climate-smart and contribute to food and nutrition security. Limited evidence exists, however, regarding how cowpea attributes influence adoption. We use a discrete choice experiment to investigate farmers' preferences and mean willingness to pay (WTP) for cowpea variety attributes. Read the open-access article here.
End‐user preferences for pounded yam and implications for food product profile development
Otegbayo, B., Madu, T., Oroniran, O., Chijioke, U., Fawehinmi, O., Okoye, B., Tanimola, A., Adebola, P., & Obidiegwu, J. (2021). International Journal of Food Science & Technology, 56(3), 1458-1472.

Pounded yam is a popular food in Nigeria. This study reports end‐user preferences for pounded yam and implications for trait evaluation by breeding programme. The study was carried out in two pounded yam‐consuming regions in Nigeria: south‐east and south‐west. Multistage sampling technique was used to collect information from users along food chain. This involved market, individual, key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Responses of participants were used to develop product profile of pounded yam from raw material (yam) to final product. Read the open-access article here.
Prioritising quality traits for gender‐responsive breeding for boiled potato in Uganda
Mudege, N. N., Mayanja, S., Nyaga, J., Nakitto, M., Tinyiro, S. E., Magala, D. B., Achora, J. C., Kisakye, S., Bamwirire, D., Mendes, T., & Muzhingi, T. (2021). International Journal of Food Science & Technology, 56(3), 1362-1375.

Using quantitative, qualitative and sensorial data collected from western (Kabale) and central (Rakai) Uganda, this paper identifies and describes gender‐responsive traits preferred in varieties for the boiled potato market. These traits are aggregated into a product profile to support breeding programme design and decision‐making that will increase probability of variety acceptance. Read the open-access article here.
Development of a food product profile for boiled and steamed sweetpotato in Uganda for effective breeding
Mwanga, R. O., Mayanja, S., Swanckaert, J., Nakitto, M., Zum Felde, T., Grüneberg, W., Mudege, N., Moyo, M., Banda, L., Tinyiro, S. E., Kisakye, S., Bamwirire, D., Anena, B., Bouniol, A., Magala, D. B., Yada, B., Carey, E., Andrade, M., Johanningsmeier, S. D., Forsythe, L., Fliedel, G., & Muzhingi, T. (2021). International Journal of Food Science & Technology, 56(3), 1385-1398.

This study sought to understand user preferences of raw, boiled and steamed sweetpotato, a staple food in Uganda. A sequential methodology involving state of knowledge review, gendered food mapping, processing diagnosis and consumer testing was used in Lira and Kamwenge districts. Read the open-access article here.
Read more articles from the Special Issue – "Consumers have their say: Assessing preferred quality traits of roots, tubers and cooking bananas, and implications for breeding" on the journal website, here.
Farmer preferred traits and genotype choices in Solanum aethiopicum L., Shum group
Nakyewa, B., Sseremba, G., Kabod, N. P., Rwothtimutung, M., Kyebalyenda, T., Waholi, K., Buteme, R., Nakanwangi, M. J., Bishop, G., & Kizito, E. B. (2021). Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 17(1), 1-9.

Solanum aethiopicum L. is a nutrient dense African indigenous vegetable. However, advancement of its improved varieties that can increase productivity, household income, and food security has not been prioritized. Further still, studies on some of the crops that have been worked have indicated that it is not a guarantee that the improved varieties will be accepted by the end users and therefore there is need to identify and profile what genotypes are of interest to farmers and their preferred traits through inclusive participatory evaluations. Read the open-access article here.
Farmers’ perceptions of navy bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) production constraints, preferred traits and farming systems and their implications on bean breeding: a case study from South East Lowveld region of Zimbabwe
Mutari, B., Sibiya, J., Nchanji, E. B., Simango, K., & Gasura, E. (2021). Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 17(1), 1-19.

Navy bean is an important legume crop in Zimbabwe. Although its production in Zimbabwe is limited by multiple constraints including biotic, abiotic and socio-economic, there is no documented evidence. Thus, this study aimed at identifying farmers’ production constraints, preferred traits and cultivars of navy bean, and
strategies used to mitigate some of these constraints. A Participatory Rural Appraisal approach involving transect walks, focus group discussions (FGDs), and formal surveys with semi-structured questionnaires was conducted in four villages of the Lowveld region of Zimbabwe. Read the open-access article here.
Participatory analysis of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) cropping system and production constraints in Burkina Faso
Sinare, B., Miningou, A., Nebié, B., Eleblu, J., Kwadwo, O., Traoré, A., Zagre, B., & Desmae, H. (2021). Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 17(2), 1-15.

Groundnut is one of the major legume crops grown as food and cash crop across the different agroecological zones of Burkina Faso. It is ranked the 2nd important legume crop for household food, nutrition, and income generation for both rural and urban zones, contributing significantly to food supply and economy of the country. Despite its importance and breeding efforts to develop improved varieties, groundnut productivity remains low. Assessing and describing the present groundnut cropping system and production constraints as well as gender dynamics in the main production areas will help in defining the groundnut breeding priorities. Read the open-access article here.
Trait preference trade-offs among maize farmers in western Kenya
Marenya, P. P., Wanyama, R., Alemu, S., & Woyengo, V. (2021). Heliyon, 7(3), e06389.

Farmers inevitably make trade-offs when choosing which crop varieties to grow based on each variety's unique strengths (and weaknesses). This study uses choice experiment data from 1288 maize farmers from western Kenya and applies a mixed logit model to estimate willingness to sacrifice yield as an experimental devise to measure such trade-offs when farmers are called upon to chose varieties with varying levels of desirable agronomic or consumption traits. Read the open-access article here.
He Says, She Says: Spousal Disagreement in Survey Measures of Bargaining Power
Ambler, K., Doss, C., Kieran, C., & Passarelli, S. (2021). Economic Development and Cultural Change, 69(2), 000-000.

Measures of control over assets and participation in household decisions are often used as indicators of bargaining power. Yet spouses do not necessarily provide the same responses to questions about these topics. Using household survey data from Bangladesh, we examine differences in spouses’ answers to questions regarding women’s involvement as asset owners and decision makers and develop a model to understand what these differences tell us about household behavior. Read the open-access article here.
Feminist Economic Perspectives on the COVID-19 Pandemic
Kabeer, N., Razavi, S., & van der Meulen Rodgers, Y. (2021). Feminist Economics, 27:1-2, 1-29.

This article provides a contextual framework for understanding the gendered dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic and its health, social, and economic outcomes. The pandemic has generated massive losses in lives, impacted people’s health, disrupted markets and livelihoods, and created profound reverberations in the home. Read the open-access article here.
Youth and the Rural Economy in Africa: Hard Work and Hazard
Sumberg, J. (Ed.). (2021). Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Brighton, UK.

This book unites recent findings from quantitative and qualitative research from across Africa to illuminate how young men and women engage with the rural economy and imagine their futures, and how development policies and interventions can find traction with these realities. Through framing, overview and evidence-based chapters, this book provides a critical perspective on current discourse, research and development interventions around youth and rural development. Access the free eBook here.
Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) is a five-year collaboration between Cornell University, in the United States, and Makerere University, in Uganda. GREAT started in 2016, and is funded with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

GREAT equips researchers to create more inclusive and effective agricultural systems by addressing the needs and priorities of both women and men in sub-Saharan Africa.

The GREAT quarterly newsletter is sent four times a year. Getting this email from a friend?Subscribe for yourself, and stay connected with the latest gender and agriculture news and updates from GREAT! If you have resources or news to share in an upcoming edition, send us an email at: