Trainers Richard Miiro (second from left) and Peace Musiimenta (second from right) critique a research plan with participants Eyram Natson (far left), Moses Biruma (center) and Bright Asante (far right) at the GREAT Gender-Responsive Cereal Grains Breeding Course in August.


In January we wrapped up week 2 of our Gender-Responsive Cereal Grains Breeding Course, with a new cohort of GREAT Fellows now off and ready to change agricultural research! Thank you to all the teams who participated, and congratulations to the three teams who won the competitive seed grants to continue developing their research into publishable case studies.

As we write this newsletter we are making final decisions on teams for our next course: Gender-Responsive Legumes Breeding, which starts in July.  Applications for the course came in from Burkina Faso, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, Zambia, Niger, Nigeria, Mozambique, Ghana, Mali, Ethiopia, Senegal, Burundi, and Tanzania, representing a diversity of national and international research institutes, as well as universities from across the continent. We'll share news of the accepted teams on Twitter, through an upcoming blog post, and of course in our next quarterly newsletter.

Also coming up are two major conferences related to the first two GREAT courses:  2018 Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) Technical Workshop , April 14-17 in Marrakech, Morocco; and the  Fourth Scientific Conference of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st  (GCP21-IV), June 11-15 in Cotonou, Benin. GREAT will have an active presence at both events, including a panel discussion at BGRI moderated by Fellow Bernice Waweru (see her blog post, below) and featuring Fellow Godwin Macharia, and a full session dedicated to gender at GCP21-IV which will be moderated by Guest Lecturer Lora Forsythe (with organizing support from PI Hale Tufan), with several Fellows participating as well. GREAT has travel funding available for fellows or participants  looking to attend conferences or workshops. See more details on all of this below, under Upcoming Events and Opportunities April will also bring some of the extended GREAT community together for our annual meeting, including members of our external project advisory committee (EPAC). We're looking forward to strategizing on the next two years of GREAT!

Lastly, we'd like to welcome the newest member of our GREAT community. Brenda Boonabaana, part of the project management team, gave birth recently to a healthy baby boy!  See more news, below.

Happy Women's History Month!


Margaret Mangheni and Hale Tufan
GREAT Co-Principle Investigators
News from the GREAT community
As the GREAT family grows, we'll update you here with news from around the GREAT community. If you have news to share, email it to for inclusion in the next newsletter.

Participants at the NextGen Cassave meeting in February gather for a group photo
GREAT Cereal Grains Fellow 
Bernice Waweru, 
from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), will be moderating a panel discussion at the BGRI workshop in April, which will also feature Fellow Godwin Macharia, the center director at KALRO's Njoro Research Centre. Bernice describes her journey as an early-career plan breeder discovering more about gender-responsive agricultural research in one of our new blog posts, below, and in this YouTube video.

GREAT superstar (trainer, member of the project management team, and field training lead) Brenda Boonabaana gave birth to a baby boy on March 23rd! We're excited to welcome the n ewest member to the GREAT family, and wish both baby and mother a healthy and restful recovery.

Tessy Madu (far right) with women who are part of Kituruma, a farmers' group from the Yombo village in Bagamoyo.
Many members of the GREAT community attended the NextGen Cassava 6th annual meeting from February 19 - 24 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as the program launches the second phase of the project, which was just renewed for five more years! Attendees reviewed successes and lessons learned from the first five years and discussed the goals of the second phase, which will implement the project's earlier research by releasing improved cassava varieties to smallholder African farmers.  

Attendees included PI Hale Tufan; guest lecturers Lora Forsythe and Peter Kulakow; and Fellows Tessy Madu, Stephen Angudubo, Robert Kawuki, Williams Esuma, Dominique Dufour, and Paula Iragaba, as well as former EPAC member Chiedozie Egesi.

Catch up with the latest blog posts from GREAT

By: Dr. Madu Tessy, Olaosebikan O, Bello A, Owoade Durodola, and Justin M., GREAT Fellows

It's been a little over a year since the NextGen Cassava and HarvestPlus Nigeria team graduated from the GREAT Gender-Responsive Root, Tuber and Banana Breeding course (GREAT RTB). As GREAT RTB fellows, we were equipped to transform Africa's agriculture by applying our gender lens. Eager and excited to apply knowledge acquired to current research activities and projects at our institutes, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the National Root Crop Research Institute (NRCRI), we commenced gender participatory varietal selection (PVS) trials with men and women cassava farmers and processors, using a task-group approach and mixed methods to elicit useful information for product profiling of gari, a major cassava food product consumed in Nigeria, led by Dr. Béla Teeken, IITA gender post-doctoral fellow. Read more...

The GREAT Gender-responsive Cereal Grains Breeding Course in Uganda surpassed my expectations. Week One was held in August 2018 and Week Two in January 2018. The experience transformed my thoughts about research and the driving force behind my efforts as a wheat breeder.  My institute, the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), formerly known as the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), was established in 1986 to conduct and promote research to improve agricultural productivity as well as equitable access to information and resources in agriculture. Working with my team members, Godwin Macharia and Anne Gichangi, my day-to-day activities as a KALRO scientist revolve around implementing biotechnology tools into the national wheat-breeding programme in Kenya.   Read more...

Upscaling cassava production to unlock a positive future for women in agriculture: Insights from AgraInnovate and CassavaTech 2017
By: Durodola Owoade, GREAT Fellow

Among the important staple food crops, cassava is nothing short of a powerhouse. Because of it, smallholder farmers have been able to feed their families and control domestic demands through income from cassava production. Though many obstacles stand in the way of most cassava producers in West Africa, there is a great need to overcome the fear of risk in order to increase production. It is particularly important to train individuals to create a positive future for cassava production and processing. Read more...

New video from our Project PI!

Webinar: Applying a Gender Lens to Development  Dr. Hale Ann Tufan , The Science Media Production Center at Cornell University

In this webinar, Dr. Tufan addresses the gender gap from a development and agricultural perspective, including decision-making abilities, the female share of the population economically active in agriculture, and power relations and norms. She looks to case studies from GREAT and NextGen Cassava as examples of the interdisciplinarity needed in order for research programs to incorporate gender-responsiveness at an institutional level.

See our entire playlist of GREAT videos on YouTube

Upcoming events and opportunities
Did you know that GREAT has travel funding for attending conferences? 
As a GREAT fellow or participant, you're eligible for funding to attend conferences or workshops. Funding is limited - if you see something that you're interested in attending, email Devon ( promptly!

2018 Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) Technical Workshop
Marrakech, Morocco - April 14-17, 2018

The 2018 BGRI Technical Workshop - held in Marrakech, Morocco, April 14-17, 2018 - will focus on wheat scientists' efforts to secure the world's wheat crop and manage disease vulnerability. It is an opportunity for the wheat community to exchange research results, network about opportunities to collaborate, and learn more about challenges facing wheat scientists and farmers. GREAT will be there to galvanize efforts to include gender-responsiveness across breeding programs with BGRI.   Learn more...

Fourth Scientific Conference of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st (GCP21-IV)
Cotonou, Benin - June 11-15, 2018

In 2018 the GCP21 is coming to West Africa, and GREAT plans to have an active presence. For Fellows from our RTB course, limited funding is available for travel, so reach out to the GREAT Project Management Team soon and let us know of your interest. Coming 16 months after the close of the GREAT Theme 1 course, this will be a good chance for the GREAT community to expand the community of practice, and communicate to peers the importance of gender-responsive research in cassava breeding projects.   Learn more...

Dr. Hale Ann Tufan Featured in CropLife International

"Being gender responsive means challenging and questioning your own norms and assumptions about whose voice is heard, who has the power to decide, what data are we basing our assumptions on, and ultimately: who benefits and how? As researchers, even if we ask ourselves one of these questions, we may uncover kernels of truth that can lead to unraveling our most firmly held assumptions. That is when the real learning and transformation begins." - Dr. Hale Ann Tufan , GREAT Principal Investigator

Spotlight on gender resources
Our quarterly spotlight on salient resources, toolkits and training materials from around the world. Make sure to  follow GREAT on Twitter 
as well - we share resources and news on a daily basis!

Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR):  Critical decisions for ensuring plant and animal breeding is gender-responsive . This
brief addresses the challenge of putting principles into practice. It lays out an approach that involves the systematic inclusion of relevant information about gender differences in critical decisions made at key points in the breeding cycle. The aim is to enable plant and animal breeding programs to become more gender responsive.

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):  Gender and ICTs: Mainstreaming gender in the use of ICTs for agriculture and rural development This publication examines the benefits of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) when placed in the hands of men and women working in agriculture and in rural areas. It examines the challenges to be overcome and makes recommendations so that rural communities can take full and equal advantage of the technologies.

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD):  How-to: Design of gender transformative smallholder agriculture adaptation programs This brief provides guidance on how to design smallholder agriculture adaptation programs that consider the differential impacts of climate change on women, men and youth smallholder farmers. This includes recognizing that program interventions - from design to staffing to capacity development of beneficiaries and local organizations - need to consider how gender will affect sustainability and impact.

Routledge, Cogent Economics and Finance:  The potential and limits of farmers' groups as catalysts of women leadersThis study analyzes the potential characteristics that can act as catalysts to the number of leadership positions that women occupy and identified key factors that influence the proportion of women in group leadership. The findings are useful in guiding development interventions that use group-based approaches in agricultural production and marketing.

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR):  Gender integration and gender-responsive research at the Center for International Forestry ResearchA summary and compilation of CIFOR's knowledge products and engagement activities, carried out as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

Journal of Aquaculture:  Gender and aquaculture value chains: a review of key issues and implications for research This paper elucidates current knowledge of gendered engagement in and returns from aquaculture value chains by reviewing existing evidence on gender issues in aquaculture value chains along five key dimensions: gender division of labor, distribution of benefits, access and control over assets and resources, gender and social norms, power relations and governance.

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