GREAT Theme 4 participants Martin Agboton, Eric Etchikinto Agoyi
and Lutz Depenbusch take a break during the first week of the course in July


At our Year 4 annual meeting, held in early August in Kampala, the GREAT project management team (PMT) realized we have an enviable problem - we need to get used to managing success!

Indeed, we have plenty of success to be grateful for, as a project, as individuals, and as a community of change agents.  With our new Theme 4 course we expanded our focus to cover any crop, and the demand has been stronger than we could have anticipated. And with nearly 100 GREAT Fellows spreading the message of gender-responsive research, demand for our customized institutional courses is quickly multiplying. In fact, the GREAT team just returned from Burkina Faso this weekend, where they delivered a custom course for Francophone researchers from five countries, and more institutional courses are in development.

On an individual level, we have much to be grateful for as well, including our Co-PI, Dr. Hale Ann Tufan receiving the prestigious Borlaug Field Award. Her award is a powerful indication that the message GREAT stands for is getting out, and being taken seriously. Meanwhile, our Makerere-based project Associate Coordinator, Dr. Brenda Boonabaana, was recently invited to the board of the International Association of Feminist Economics  (IAFFE), and has been appointed to the scientific committee organizing the International Association on Work in Agriculture's 2nd International Symposium, to be held in September, 2020.

All this reminds us that GREAT was founded on a central belief that to truly deliver on development objectives, we must build a community of gender-responsive researchers. This project- and individual-level success is part of building up a new research culture, one where gender-responsiveness is the norm, not the exception. Gender is in the spotlight right now, and we're excited to make sure that we leverage this moment to transform research norms and practices.

And we couldn't be happier than to be doing this alongside all of you.

Margaret Mangheni and Hale Tufan
GREAT Co-Principal Investigators
GREAT PI Hale Tufan to be honored with Borlaug Field Award
Congratulations to our Co-PI, Dr. Hale Ann Tufan, for being the 2019 Norman E. Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application recipient!

In their announcement, the World Food Prize Foundation recognized her "for championing the incorporation of gender-supportive activities within the global agricultural research community, working across disciplines to ensure women farmers and scientists are fairly represented in the lab, in the field and at the table."

"'Since being established in 2012 with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Food Prize Dr. Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application has grown to become the premier recognition in the world for young agricultural scientists under the age of 40,' said Amb. Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize. 'The presentation of the award in 2019 to Dr. Hale Ann Tufan of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University both reflects her remarkable achievements in making plant breeding work for women farmers' needs by changing the views of the global agriculture research community towards gender and further reinforces the significant global importance of the Borlaug Field Award itself.'" 

Trained as a molecular biologist, Dr. Tufan started her career working as a wheat breeder in Turkey for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Before long, however, she realized that genetic approaches alone couldn't achieve the results that researchers were aiming for. Through better understanding social dimensions of agricultural technology, in particular the gender dimensions, not only could adoption rates increase, but researchers could be better equipped to actually achieve their development objectives.

In addition to her role with GREAT, Dr. Tufan is involved in the NextGen Cassava, Ceres2030 and  RTBFoods projects, among others.

Dr. Tufan will receive the award at a ceremony on October 16th, 2019, as part of the Borlaug Global Dialogue, in Des Moines, Iowa.  Read more...

Updates from Makerere
As the GREAT project approaches its fifth year of operation (2020/2021), the word "success" can be increasingly applied to it. Demand for the course is at an all time high with national and international agricultural research institutions, while GREAT staff have gained exposure and accolades for their outstanding work. Plans are underway for further customization of the GREAT course and the institutionalization of gender training in Makerere.

The GREAT team at Makerere University, led by Associate Professor Margaret Mangheni, is excited for all that lies ahead. Below are the details:

GREAT / INERA custom course wraps up
Last week members of the GREAT training team were in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 7th to the 12th, October, delivering an institutional GREAT course for participants from five Francophone countries (Burkina Faso, France, Mali, Senegal and Togo). While Burkina Faso's  Institut de l'Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles(INERA) is the host institution, in all 22 different research projects will be represented, covering five national agricultural research institutions (ISRA, ITRA, INERA, CIRAD and ISRAT), and three other institutions (Oracle, CoEx, and IWMI) and three universities ( Polytechnic University Center of Tenkodogo,  University of Joseph KI-ZERBO, and  Dan Dikko Dankulodo University of Maradi) . For 32 of the 40 participants, this will be their first gender training.

For GREAT this is both an opportunity to hone our institutional delivery model, and a chance for us to grow our Francophone West Africa presence. GREAT trainers Drs. Margaret Mangheni, Brenda Boonabaana, Peace Musiimenta and guest trainer Dr. Eva Weltzien are being joined by GREAT Fellows  Dr. Eveline Compaore Sawadogo, Dr. Amos MiningouDr. Moumouni Konate, Ms. Julienne GueDr. Batieno Joesph Benoit and Dr. Barry Silamana. According to Dr. Mangheni, "this kind of collaboration between trainers and fellows is exactly what GREAT is about - creating a community of change agents, and working together to grow the seed that we've planted with our mainstream courses. Being here in Ouagadougou reaffirms everything that we've worked for so far." 

GREAT / INERA course participants having a ball on the first day of the course
(Photo: @ODrrea)

Dr. Eveline Compaore, second from left, with GREAT trainers Dr. Margaret Mangheni (left), Dr. Peace Musiimenta (second from right) and Dr. Brenda Boonabaana (right) at the GREAT custom course in Burkina Faso. Dr. Campaore invited GREAT to INERA for the course, and was the course organiser; she is a GREAT Fellow from the TLIII custom course, and is a social scientist at INERA.

Another custom course for GREAT in the works
The demand for the GREAT course is increasing with time. In August 2019, Makerere University and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement a project dubbed "Capacity building of multidisciplinary teams in developing gender-responsive breeding programs." Under this agreement, GREAT will train 32 scientists (a mix of biophysical and social scientists) working on rice research in East and Southern Africa. The six-day course on gender will be held in Kampala, Uganda between 11th and 16th November, 2019.

The team is working closely with  Dr. Ranjitha Puskur , an outcome theme leader for "Catalyzing Innovation for Health, Equity and Resilience" at IRRI's East and Southern Africa office in Nairobi, Kenya. 

The GREAT training team is expanding
We are pleased to welcome aboard a new GREAT trainer - Dr. Amon Ashaba Mwiine. He is an Assistant Lecturer at the  School of Women and Gender Studies  and a certified gender auditor with  United Nations Development Programme Uganda  (UNDP Uganda) since 2011. 
To the GREAT Training team, Dr. Mwiine brings expertise in Gender and masculinities and the relevance of these to agricultural development. He handles a session "On Gender and Agricultural Development: What have men and masculinities got to do with it?"  Dr. Mwine holds a PhD in Sociology from Stellenbosch University, South Africa, where he explored the emerging phenomenon of 'male champions' - men who speak to issues of gender apparently on behalf of women - in legislative processes. His research interests are in participatory forms of qualitative research, gender power dynamics and masculinity studies. Dr. Mwine is the 13th trainer from Makerere University to join the GREAT training team. 

GREAT Annual Meeting
The GREAT project held its fourth annual meeting on 6th and 7th August 2019, at Kabira Country Club in Kampala, Uganda. The purpose of the meeting was to update on progress in the four years of operation and pave a way forward for GREAT. The meeting was attended by high profile external project advisory committee (EPAC) members, including Vicki Wilde, GREAT's Program Officer at the  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation;  Dr. Jemimah Njuki, the Senior Programme Officer at Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC); Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenburg, the Executive Director of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD); and the GREAT Project Management Team from Cornell University, led by Dr. Hale Ann Tufan.

Makerere University was represented by Associate Professor Dr. Gorrettie Nabanoga, the Deputy Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES); Associate Professor Dr. Josephine Ahikire, the Deputy Principal, College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Professor Dr. Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo, from the  School of Women and Gender Studies; and the GREAT Project Management Team, led by Associate Professor Dr. Margaret Najjingo Mangheni from CAES. 

More information about the 4th Annual Meeting can be read in an article  by GREAT Makerere Project Administrators Elizabeth Asiimwe and Tabitha Nafula.

AWARD Collaboration
GREAT's collaboration with African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) has continued to get stronger. Recently, AWARD invited GREAT Co-PI, Dr. Margaret Najjingo Mangheni to attend a meeting to review the curriculum of a new 5-day course on gender-responsive agricultural research targeting the NARs. AWARD designed the course in collaboration with KIT Royal Tropical Institute. The meeting  was held on 10th and 11th September, 2019 at Magna hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.  AWARD's Director, Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, is a cherished member of GREAT's External Project Advisory Committee (EPAC).

Mentorship is one of the components of the GREAT course. While this largely targets the GREAT course participants, the trainers are happy to extend their services beyond the confines of the course in order to support gender-responsiveness in agricultural teaching and research. Recently, Dr. Hellen Kongai Biruma, a part-time lecturer at Busitema University , one of Uganda's  young public universities, sought mentorship and guidance from Dr. Margaret Najjingo Mangheni on how to enrich an undergraduate course she is teaching on gender and agribusiness. Through this engagement, Ms. Biruma and her students will benefit from Dr. Mangheni's expertise in gender, honed through several years on the GREAT project. We encouraged her to look out for the next GREAT course. The call for applications will be out soon.

New publications from the GREAT CoP
'Gender norms, technology access and women farmers' vulnerability to climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa'
GREAT Co-PIs Dr. Margaret Mangheni and Dr. Hale Tufan, Dr. Brenda Boonabaana (the Associate Coordinator) together with GREAT Fellows Dr. Lillian Nkengla (RTB Theme, Oxfam) and Dr. Aman Bonaventure (RTB Theme, Bioversity International) authored a chapter on "Gender norms, technology access and women farmers' vulnerability to climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa" in a book entitled "Agriculture and Ecosystem resilience in Sub Saharan Africa," published  as part of the "Climate Change Management" book series by Springer Nature.

In the paper, the authors synthesize 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. They make a case for inclusive strategies to enhance equitable access to improved seed and other technologies as an adaptation option.

'Gendered mobilities and immobilities: Women's and men's capacities for agricultural innovation in Kenya and Nigeria'
Image result for Gender, Place & Culture journal

GREAT Fellow (RTB Theme, Oxfam) Lilian Nkengla and Field Trainer Renee Bullock co-authored a new article in  Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography.

In the article, noting how social norms around mobility differ for men and women, they examine how gendered mobilities and immobilities influence women's and men's capacities to innovate in agriculture, using case studies from both Kenya and Nigeria. 
View the full article online:  
Community of Practice (CoP) updates
Congratulations to GREAT Cereal Grains Course Fellow / GREAT CoP Advisory Board Member Kachalla Mala and his wife Amina on the birth of their baby daughter, Ummu Khaltum!

Ummu was born on 28th July, and joins sisters Fatima Kachalla (8 yo) and Hauwa Kachalla (5 yo). The entire GREAT family wishes you love, joy and happiness for many years to come.

In a different life milestone, GREAT Fellow Obaiya Utoblo (RTB Theme) graduated in July with her PhD from the West Africa Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) / the University of Ghana.  Congratulations, Dr. Utoblo!
And with the inaugural African Plant Breeding Association (APBA) conference happening later this month, we're excited to have GREAT Fellow Abolore Abdulrazaq Bello (RTB Theme, IITA) presenting on the GREAT-related research on behalf of himself and Fellows from his same cohort, Olamide Olaosebikan and Elizabeth Parkes, along with GREAT guest trainer Peter Kulakow, and GREAT field trainer Renee Bullock. The presentation is entitled 'Gender and Regional Responsiveness to Biofortified Cassava Among Selected Stakeholders in Three States in Nigeria.'

Bello will be supported with a GREAT travel grant - a reminder to any fellows looking for conference support to submit an application!

Catch up with the latest blog posts from GREAT

Hale Tufan at a market in Nigeria
Take it to All the Farmers
By: Dr. Hale Tufan, GREAT Co-PI - This post appears on the World Food Prize website as part of the Borlaug Blog.

Here are two words you don't hear together every day: Semantic Satiation. The term refers to a psychological phenomenon where words lose meaning from overuse. Applied to our daily lives it is the overuse of certain words in our vocabulary: literally, unique, very, basically... the list goes on. Agricultural development has its own list of overused words: smallholder, sustainable, impact...the list goes on again. One of the most overused words is "farmer."   
Almost 10 years to the day, Dr. Norman Borlaug passed on, leaving behind a legacy of hunger fighters who dedicate their lives to agricultural development. Dr. Borlaug lived and breathed his mission, evidenced by some of his last words being, "Take it to the farmer." There is that word again: farmer. What did Dr. Borlaug have in mind when he was thinking of "the farmer"? Who was he thinking of? Read more...

Juliana Andagile Mwakasendo at Week 1 of the GREAT course in July.  Photo: GREAT
Finding the training so many gender specialists need
By:  Juliana Andagile Mwakasendo, Socio-economist at the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute, GREAT Theme 4 Participant

Despite 14 years of experience as a socio-economist, currently at the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute's (TARI) Kifyulilo Station, I was not sure if attending the GREAT Gender-Responsive Plant Breeding Course would be easy for me. I knew very little about plant breeding, and when filling out the pre-course assessment, I encountered many questions on gender, which I was not familiar with.  And there may be many more in my shoes Read more...

TLIII Custom Course participants pose for a group shot during the course in late November, 2018. Photo: GREAT
Meeting diverse gender training needs for practitioners: The power of successful customization
By:  Margaret Najjingo Mangheni, GREAT PI

When ICRISAT asked us to run our 14-day Gender-Responsive Plant Breeding course for scientists involved in its Tropical Legumes III project (TLIII) with only a fraction of the usual budget, I thought it couldn't be done! The budget is too small, we can't cover all the content; participants won't have enough time for hands-on application... these were just some of the things that went through our minds. But after several months of engagement with Dr. Esther Njuguna-Mungai, the Senior Gender Scientist leading the ICRISAT gender component of TLIII, we decided to take on the challenge. The 14 days were condensed to 6 days, and the first GREAT customized course was born.  Read more...

Dr. Esther Njuguna-Mungai, ICRISAT Gender Scientist, giving remarks during the opening of the TLIII Custom GREAT Course in Kampala in November 2018. Photo: GREAT
Misuse of the term 'empowerment' in daily conversations
By: Esther Njuguna-Mungai, Gender Scientist, ICRISAT and GREAT Custom Course Client

In a world where 'gender integration'  or 'gender mainstreaming'  is prioritised and practiced, actors from different backgrounds come together in a 'marriage' arrangement of sorts, aimed at a joint objective. One outcome of this endeavor is that  participants start learning new words from other disciplines. The new terms learnt in this process can become exciting and they easily permeate daily conversations. These cross discipline interactions can also lead to formation of new terms and acronyms.  It is not uncommon to attend a workshop and think speakers are not even speaking in 'English' - especially in global partnerships like the CGIAR, where acronyms get formed and used until they become familiar terms in daily conversations.  Read more...

Upcoming events and opportunities
Advances in Classical Breeding and Application of Modern Breeding Tools for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa - African Plant Breeders Association Conference
October 23-25, 2019 - Accra, Ghana

Plant breeding offers a huge opportunity for providing sustainable options to increasing domestic supply of food and dietary diversity in Africa. However, Africa still lags behind other continents in terms of knowledge and access to modern breeding techniques. There is also a general lack of awareness on the importance of plant breeders with regard to their capacity to drive innovations and technology adoption in the agricultural sector in Africa. As a consequence, up to date, there is no platform for plant breeders and seed scientists to discuss their findings and define a roadmap for their fields on a regular basis. This gap may limit advocacy on the importance of plant breeding and seed systems in addressing important challenges along the agricultural value chains. In order to bridge this gap, there is a proposal to launch the African Plant Breeders Association (APBA) in Accra, Ghana in October 2019.  Find out more...

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!
CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture & Food Security (CCAFS)
"Gender mainstreaming was acknowledged as an indispensable strategy for achieving gender equality at the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action. Since then, governments have made substantial efforts in developing gender-responsive policies and implementation strategies. The advent of climate change and its effects, which have continued to impact rural livelihoods and especially food security, demands that gender mainstreaming efforts are accelerated. Effective gender mainstreaming requires that gender is sufficiently integrated in policies, development plans, and implementation strategies, supported by budgetary allocations. This study analyzes the extent of gender integration in agricultural and natural resource policies in Uganda and Tanzania, and how gender is budgeted for in implementation plans at district and lower governance levels."

Earthscan Food and Agriculture
This chapter by Jacqueline A. Ashby and Vivian Polar, in a new book edited by Carolyn E. Sachs, 'Gender, agriculture and agrarian transformations,' examines plant breeding as "a useful process with which to explore the case for gender-responsive technology development that involves designing and targeting technology explicitly to benefit women."

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