Participants and trainers from the GREAT IRRI Custom Course
pose for a family photo in November.

Happy New Year to the GREAT family! As we continue our journey we're pleased to welcome new members to our growing Community of Practice, including those from the INERA and IRRI East Africa custom courses.

Today we're excited to announce our 2020 course! Applications are now open for the fifth GREAT course. As with our previous course, this one will be open to teams working on any plant breeding for any crop .

Unlike our previous courses, however, we're adopting a new course model this time, providing more intensive training for social scientists, and combining both parts into a single phase. See below for more details, and as always, please visit our website for application details: Applications are due by February 29th.

We're also excited to announce our new Zotero research group. Zotero is a free, web-based research and citation management platform, and we've curated a list of essential readings, and publications from the Community of Practice, making it easier for you to access full-text PDFs of the most relevant research. See below for more details.

Speaking of publications from the Community of Practice (CoP), don't forget to scroll through recent work from the GREAT CoP at the bottom of this newsletter, and also see professional and personal updates from CoP, below.

Since our last newsletter we've run two custom courses, and delivered an advanced Pro-WEAI training in conjunction with IFPRI. All next week we'll welcome back our Theme 4 cohort for Week 2 of their course, and look forward to handing out GREAT certificates to our newest Fellows!

Margaret Mangheni and Hale Tufan
GREAT Co-Principal Investigators
Applications now open for our Theme 5 course!
Applications now open!
Applications are now live for our next GREAT course. Please help us spread the word - referrals from our Fellows help us grow the gender-responsive agricultural research community! As always, application information and the link can be found on the GREAT website:
  • July 20th-28th, 2020 - Kampala, Uganda
New format
After four years of running courses, we've listened to feedback from Fellows and stakeholders, and are introducing a new course model with the Theme 5 course. 

Unlike with our previous cohorts, we've combined the two weeks of the course into one.  In another change, social scientists will stay on for three-days after the biophysical scientists leave.

Biophysical and social scientists attend the first six days of the GREAT course together , learning gender-responsive research design and methods, and social scientists stay on for an additional three days of in-depth methodological training. After completion of the course, selected social scientists will be invited back for additional training at a later date.
  • Biophysical scientists: July 20 th -25 th , 2020
  • Social scientists: July 20th-28th, 2020  
This split model will allow us to go more in-depth with social scientists during the final three days of the course. We're excited to be able to provide this extra attention, while also focusing the initial part of the course on interdisciplinary material that's as relevant for biophysical scientists as it is for social scientists!

Application deadline
The application window for our Theme 5 course ends at 11:59pm EST, February 29th. Please contact us ahead of time if you have any questions.

Introducing a new home for GREAT resources
We're excited to announce a new initiative from the Community of Practice!

This fall we set up a new GREAT CoP group and library in Zotero, a free, online reference-management program - and it's ready for you to join! Zotero has several features that m ake it uniquely useful for the CoP, including:
  • Free access to all full-text article PDFs in our group library
  • Library collections, which we've set up to meet the CoP's needs, including:
    • Essential Readings and Resources - a curated collection of core material for gender and agricultural research
    • CoP Publications - research published by you and your peers
    • Gennovate Tools - tools developed by the GENNOVATE project
    • Eva's Collection - A set of breeding-centric resources from GREAT trainer Eva Weltzien, drawing on her rich experiences in West Africa
    • Posters / Presentations - just like it sounds, gender and agricultural research posters from the CoP and beyond
    • Reports / Briefs / Working Papers - literature from the CG, national programs, and beyond
  • An open structure - group members can add their own papers to the group's library, increasing exposure to their work and possible citations
  • Integration with MS Word, Google Docs, and LibreOffice, for easy in-text citation and bibliography creation. You can also easily download and add article metadata directly from any web page, and drop it right into a paper.
Our goal is for all CoP members to join (it's free and easy!), and to add their own publications so that our library of gender and agricultural research can continue to grow.

Anyone can view the group and the full library. To access full-text PDFs, or upload your own, you'll need set up a free Zotero account, and request to join the group. If you have any questions, simply reach out to Devon.

View / join the GREAT CoP group on Zotero here:

News and updates from the GREAT CoP
2019 was another fruitful year for Theme 2 Gender Fellow Bright Owusu Asante.
Effective 1st July 2019, Bright was promoted to Senior Research Scientist from Research Scientist, a position he had held for close to nine years, at Ghana's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research - Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI). The GREAT course certificate and related publications were part of the documents that were presented in the application for the promotion application. Congratulations Bright!

Later in the year, a baby boy was born to Bright and his lovely wife Irene Serwaa Asante. The baby, named Kobby Aseda Sekyi Asante, was born on November 12th, 2019 (see picture below). Kobby Aseda joins his 3 siblings Afua Twuamsiwaa Asante (9 years), Afua Sarpong Asante (8 years), and Kobby Owusu Asante (4 years). We congratulate you Bright and Irene, and celebrate with your family!

Gaudiose Mujawamariya, from Theme 2, scooped the prestigious AfricaRice Dr. Robert Carsky Award for 2019!

The Carsky Award is conferred on staff, who have demonstrated high standards of excellence and made exceptional contributions to rice research, training and research support. This is an annual award which was instituted by AfricaRice in honor of the late Dr. Robert Carsky who served as agronomist at AfricaRice. Gaudiose was honored for integrating gender in AfricaRice research among other achievements. Congratulations Gaudiose!

Dr. Mujawamariya, center, receives the award. Picture: CGIAR

Theme 1 Fellow Obaiya Grace Utoblo wedded her friend Adams Ogamenyi on 21 December 2019 (photo below). Congratulations to the couple. We wish them many years of happiness!

New publications from the GREAT CoP
'Building an Inclusive Agriculture: Strengthening Gender Equality in Agricultural Value Chains'

GREAT Trainers Deborah Rubin and Brenda Boonabaana, along with Cristina Manfre, published this chapter in IFPRI's the 2019 Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (RESAKSS) Annual Trends and Outlook Report, edited by Agnes Quisumbing, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, and Jemimah Njuki. The full-text article is available online (open access).

This chapter reviews some of the now extensive and still-expanding body of research and practitioner materials on gender relations in African agriculture, with a focus on research and projects that use a value chain approach in their analysis. The literature is loosely bookended by work published between 2009 and 2019. The discussion builds on global value chain research and is situated in the broader context of current donor support for "inclusive agriculture," which seeks to "include and substantially benefit large numbers of poor people....often smallholders, but also artisans or small-scale retailers or customers"

'The Role of Women in Production and Management of RTB Crops in Rwanda and Burundi: Do Men Decide, and Women Work?'

GREAT Fellow Bernadette Marie Hakizimana along with Field Trainers Anne Rietveld and Netsayi Noris Mudege, co-authored this article in Sustainability  with colleagues from CIP, RAB, ISABU, IITA, Bioversity, and the University of Nairobi. See the full-text article here (open access).

This paper evaluates the determinants of decision-making in relation to the production of four crops (banana, cassava, potato, and sweet potato). Understanding the division of labor and decision-making in crop management may lead to designing better interventions targeted at improving efficiency in smallholder agriculture.

'Building Gender Research Capacity for Non-Specialists: Lessons and Best Practices from Gender Short Courses for Agricultural Researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa'

GREAT PIs Margaret Mangheni and Hale Tufan, along with Trainers Brenda Boonabaana, Peace Musiimenta, and  Richard Miiro , authored this chapter in the book  Gender and Practice: Knowledge, Policy, Organizations ,  edited by Marcia Texler Segal, Kristy Kelly and Vasilikie Demos . See the full-text chapter online here  (open access) .

Investments in gender training for agricultural researchers have not attained expected outcomes, bringing into question the efficacy of training approaches used. New approaches for transformative gender training need to draw on lessons learned from previous courses. This chapter analyses short gender training courses identified using a scoping methodology. Selected courses offered between 2005 and 2015 for scientists in Eastern Africa were critiqued against a theoretical framework for transformative gender training. 

'Men and women's perception of yellow-root cassava among rural farmers in eastern Uganda'

GREAT Fellows Williams Esuma, Ann Ritah Nanyonjo, Stephen Angudubo and Robert Sezi Kawuki, along with Trainer Richard Miiro, authored this article in the Journal of Agriculture & Food Security. See the full-text article here (open access).

Global efforts are underway to develop staple crops with improved levels of provitamin A carotenoids to help combat dietary vitamin A deficiency, which has afflicted the health of resource-poor farmers in the developing world. As a staple crop for more than 500 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, cassava enriched with provitamin A carotenoids could have a widespread nutritional impact. Because cassava is the second most important food crop in Uganda, a breeding programme was initiated to develop provitamin A varieties, with some clones already tested in advanced yield selection trials.

'Gender Norms, Technology Access, and Women Farmers' Vulnerability to Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa'

GREAT Fellows  Lilian Nkengla and  Bonaventure Aman Omondi along with Trainer  Brenda Boonabaana and PIs  Margaret Mangheni and Hale Tufan, authored this chapter in the book  Agriculture and Ecosystem Resilience in Sub Saharan Africa: Livelihood Pathways Under Changing Climate, edited by Yazidhi Bamutaze, Samuel Kyamanywa, Bal Ram Singh, Gorettie Nabanoga and Rattan Lal.  Access the full-text article online (open access).  

The challenges of climate change are defined by biophysical unpredictability and the sociocultural context in which communities adjust to these challenges. Gender norms to which women and men generally conform influence women smallholder farmers' vulnerability to climate change. Understanding the social context within which an intervention is introduced can therefore greatly influence its transformative capacity. This review addresses the evidence on the influence of gender norms on climate-smart agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa through the dual lenses of equitable system productivity and women's empowerment. It makes a case for inclusive strategies to enhance equitable access to improved seed and other technologies as an adaptation option. We conclude that challenging gender norms around seed systems and extension services in SSA will increase our chance of success in mitigating climate disasters.

'Gendered mobilities and immobilities: Women's and men's capacities for agricultural innovation in Kenya and Nigeria'

GREAT Field Trainer Renée Bullock and Fellow  Lilian Nkengla  co-published this article alongside researchers from SLU and IITA, in Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography. Access the full-text PDF online (open access).

Social norms surrounding women's and men's mobility in public spaces often differ. Here we discuss how gendered mobilities and immobilities influence women's and men's capacities to innovate in agriculture. We analyze four case studies from Western Kenya and Southwestern Nigeria that draw on 28 focus group discussions and 32 individual interviews with a total of 225 rural and peri-urban women, men and youth. Findings show that women in both sites are less mobile than men due to norms that delimit the spaces where they can go, the purpose, length of time and time of day of their travels. Overall, Kenyan women and Nigerian men have better access to agricultural services and farmer groups than their gendered counterparts. In Southwestern Nigeria this is linked to masculine roles of heading and providing for the household and in Western Kenya to the construction of women as the 'developers' of their households. Access and group participation may reflect norms and expectations to fulfill gender roles rather than an individual's agency. This may (re)produce mobility pressures on time constrained gendered subjects. Frameworks to analyze factors that support women's and men's agency should be used to understand how gendered mobilities and immobilities are embedded in community contexts and affect engagement in agricultural innovation. This can inform the design of interventions to consider the ways in which norms and agency intersect and influence women's and men's mobilities, hence capacity to innovate in agriculture, thus supporting more gender transformative approaches.

'Understanding gender roles and practices in the household and on the farm: Implications for banana disease management innovation processes in Burundi'

GREAT Fellow  François Iradukunda and Field Trainers  Renée Bullock and Anne Rietveld
 published this article alongside colleague Boudy van Schagen, in  Outlook on Agriculture Access the article online  (open access through the CoP Zotero group).

Banana and plantain are one of the most important staple food crops and a significant source of income to smallholder farmers in the East African Great Lakes Region. Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW) is a devastating bacterial disease that threatens smallholder production and livelihoods. We use a systems approach to describe how gender shapes roles and practices in the household, on the farm and in innovation processes. We draw on a case study in Burundi, where single disease stem removal (SDSR) has been introduced as a labour-saving package to reduce BXW incidence. Banana is grown by an estimated 90% of farmers, and BXW poses a critical threat to food security. We use qualitative data that include focus group discussions, interviews and transcripts from farmer learning group (FLG) discussions to describe gender norms, roles and practices and implications for awareness and uptake of SDSR in households. We identify gender patterns in innovation process, namely that men gain higher levels of access to information in FLGs than women and men are also primarily responsible for implementing SDSR. These patterns reflect gender-differentiated norms, roles and practices that are common in the household and in banana-based farming systems, thus demonstrating the ways that innovation processes perpetuate and reinforce common gender roles and practices. Women's participation in FLGs, albeit lower than men, increases the potential of women to implement specific practices of the SDSR package. Systems approaches may be similarly used in different contexts where awareness and uptake of banana disease management packages, and other technical innovations, are not well understood. We found that gender norms, roles and practices significantly influence uptake of SDSR practices and warrant further investigation across the region, where smallholder uptake remains a pressing challenge to establish household food security.

'Determinants of Nutritious Drought Tolerant Maize Adoption and Mineral Fertilizer Application Under Smallholder Farm Conditions in Ghana'

GREAT Fellows Natson Eyram Amengor and  Priscilla Francisco Ribeiro  co-published  this article alongside colleagues Stephen Yeboah and Patricia Oteng-Darko, in the  Journal of Agricultural Science.   Access the full-text PDF online   (open access).

The study sought to examine adoption of nutritious drought tolerant (DT) maize using social science research methods and participatory demonstration trials. The social science study used mixed method approach which combined both qualitative and quantitative methods. A split-plot demonstration trial of three improved maize varieties and a local variety, and two levels of Nitrogen fertilizer were established. The two fertilizer levels were low N [LN] (30 kg N ha-1) and high N [HN] (90 kg N ha-1). The results of the social science study showed 85% of men consider early maturity, grain quality and storability in adopting DT maize. Results also revealed that beside earliness and higher yield, taste and easy to harvest influenced women farmer's choice for DT maize varieties. Climatic endurance, increased yield and grain quality showed a positive and statistically significant relationship with adoption of DT maize. On average, HN fertilization increased DT maize grain yields by 41% compared to the LN fertilization. The improved DT maize varieties had yield advantages ranging from 25 to 43% over the local variety. From this, DT maize appears to have a potential for its use with N-fertilizer in the fight against food insecurity with improved adoption and utilization in Ghana.

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