The 2018 GREAT Annual Meeting brought together key stakeholders to take stock of the project at its half-way point. Here participants pose for a lighter picture.

We're about half-way through the GREAT project - an exciting time to reflect back on what we've accomplished - and with two cohorts of Fellows out in the field, we're seeing more results coming in.

This April, key stakeholders, including members of the GREAT External Project Advisory Committee, convened in Rome to take stock of where we're at. And with two cohorts now finished we looked at what has been learned from these, and discussed how to apply these lessons as we plan and implement the second half of the project. Participants represented included:  African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD); Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA); the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Makerere University; Oxford University; Cornell University; Aline Impact, the CGIAR Gender & Breeding Initiative; the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research; and Phase 2 of the Gender, Agriculture, and Assets Project (GAAP2).

The annual meeting brought up lively and timely discussions around issues such as how to measure the impact of  gender-responsive capacity building programs like GREAT, as explored in our guest blog post from Vicki Wilde, Senior Program Officer for Agricultural Development and Women's Economic Empowerment at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This discussion carries increased significance, both within the foundation and in the field, given the foundation's reach and their recent adoption of a foundation-wide strategy placing women's economic empowerment in a central and cross-cutting position within their international development work. We picked up a piece published on Medium by  Nick Austin, the foundation's director of Agricultural Development, who highlights how this will play out in their agricultural work, and mentions GREAT.

Moving forward, our third course starts in a few short weeks in Kampala, Uganda, and will focus on gender-responsive legume breeding. We'll be welcoming teams of bio-physical and social scientists from Ghana, Senegal, Malawi, Kenya, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda and Mali. We're excited to welcome the new GREAT cohort, some of whom will be representing institutions we've worked with before, such as the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Kenyan Agricultural and Livestock Research Institute (KALRO), l'Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), Ghana's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Uganda's National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI), while others will represent an expanded reach for GREAT, including Mali's Institut d'Economie Rurale (IER), the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Zambia's Mulungushi University. Stay tuned to our Twitter feed and the GREAT blog for updates from Week 1 of the course!

Lastly, our Community of Practice has a new leadership structure, with an advisory board of eight terrific Fellows taking active roles in shaping the direction and future of the GREAT community - we're excited to see where this takes us for the second half of the project!


Margaret Mangheni and Hale Tufan
GREAT Co-Principal Investigators
Catch up with the latest blog posts from GREAT

Evaluating the effectiveness of any program is complex, and particularly challenging for projects like GREAT, which seek to build skills and shift mindsets. For more insight into evaluation and impact assessment from the perspective of a donor, we spoke with Vicki Wilde, Senior Program Officer for Agricultural Development and Women's Economic Empowerment at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Read more...

GREAT RTB Fellows at GCP21 strive to catalyze transformation in African Agriculture
By:  Bello Abdulrazaq Abolore, GREAT RTB Fellow

Twenty-nine root, tuber and banana (RTB) researchers, both men and women from national and international research institutes in sub-Saharan Africa, were trained in Uganda in 2016 and 2017 as part of the Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) project.  Read more...

The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative Technical Workshop, held between April 13 and 17 in Marrakesh, Morocco, was one-of-a-kind. The venue was quite scenic and beautiful, with an experience of a mix of languages and cultures that came together to form a great community of people to interact with and learn from. Read more...

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, reach out to the GREAT Comms Leads, Aman and Kachalla for inclusion in the next newsletter .

RTB Fellows at the GCP21 conference in Cotonou, Benin
In June the GREAT Community of Practice Advisory Board (CoP AB) was restructured, with four members from each GREAT cohort sharing four new roles: two CoP AB Leads - Losira Nasirumbi-Sanya and Bernice Waweru; two Comms Leads - Aman Bonaventure Omondi and Kachalla Mala; two Resource Leads Lilian Nkengla and Hellen Opie; and two Research Leads - Williams Esuma and Bright Asante; each role has one Cereal Grains Fellow and one RTB Fellow sharing the duties.

This new structure allows GREAT Fellows to have more direct leadership in the CoP, and creates clear channels for communicating and acting. To start, RTB Fellows will be the primary point of contact for each role.  Below is an update from our new Comms Leads, Aman Bonaventure Omondi and Kachalla Mala.

- News from the Comms Leads -

Forum: The Cereal Grains and Root Tubers and Bananas Cohorts' Advisory Board members have launched in a new communications medium, via a WhatsApp Discussion Forum. This is to be summarised and shared to the entire group. The Communications Leads are investigating ways of enriching (but not duplicating) communication platforms within and between the cohorts; and to (and from) the outside world.
Meeting up:  The GREAT Advisory Board Teams have met and agreed on their priorities. These will be sent on email once finalised. The communications team (Kachalla  and Aman ) for example will be pleased to open various communication channels for reporting events and opportunities, or holding discussions (in conjunction with the CoP leaders Losira and Bernice). Let us know what works for you.
Lilian Nkengla  (RTB, Cameroon) participated in the Gender Summit in Rwanda in March 2018 and shared the advert on GREAT training legumes with colleagues and others, had a discussion with ICRISAT Director regarding the course.  Lilian also attended the Gender Research and Integrated Training (GRIT), organized by Pennsylvania State University in collaboration with the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network. The training was aimed at strengthening research capacity on gender, enhancing the quality of gender research in the CGIAR, and providing strategies for interdisciplinary collaboration. Experiences and knowledge gained from the GREAT course was shared during the training during discussions.

Williams Esuma  (RTB, Uganda)  established a Participatory Variety Selection for cassava in the Zombo highlands, Uganda.
Losira N. Sanya (RTB, Uganda)  organised and participated in a one-day gender sensitisation workshop for top managers at NARO during their quarterly review meeting. The workshop was implemented by G REAT / ASARECA / AWARD in collaboration with NARO.

Bernice Waweru (third from the right) and peer Cereal Grains Fellows at the BGRI annual workshop in Marrakech.
Bello Abolore Abdulrazaq  (RTB, Nigeria) received a GREAT travel grant to present at the Global C assava Partnership (GCP21) conference in Cotonou, Benin, in June. Many other GREAT Fellows and trainers were there representing the first GREAT cohort; see Bello's blog  post, below.

Celestin Niyongere  (RTB, Burundi) and Aman Bonaventure (RTB, Benin) presented their GREAT gender work in the annual R TB/University of Queensland-led Banana Bunchy Top control project in West Africa. Gender-linked data on power connections, message attrition and access in a project communities may be included in an epidemiological model scenario analysis.

Bernice Waweru (Cereal Grains, Kenya) attended the 2018 BGRI Technical Workshop held in Marrakesh, Morocco, 13th to 17th April, 2018, and had the privilege to host the first-ever gender panel session at the workshop: "Does Gender Matter in Wheat Breeding." Appreciation to Hale Ann Tufan and GREAT for the opportunity and for covering the airfare costs to and from Morocco. See a blog about Bernice's experience at the conference, below, and look for it shortly on the BGRI website!

Tell your story: What have you done in the last month, season or year, that was linked to the GREAT training ideas or research?  Please let us know by email (, We will share this with the rest of the team.

- Aman Bonaventure Omondi and Kachalla Mala

Gates Foundation Medium Post on Gender Mentions GREAT

With a new $170m foundation-wide strategy designed to put women's economic empowerment centrally within much of their international development work, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is placing heavy investment in women as drivers of equitable growth.

In this Medium post, Nick Austin, the director of Agricultural Development the foundation  highlights how this new strategy will impact the foundation's agricultural development work, with mention of GREAT as well.

Upcoming events and opportunities
Kindly share any opportunities, seminars/webinars, conferences, funding or job opportunities that may be of interest to this group with Aman and Kachalla. For  inquiries about GREAT conference  
travel support (only available to GREAT Fellows and course participants),
please email Devon.

Webinar: GENNOVATE, a qualitative comparative study on gender norms and agency in agricultural and environmental innovation - Study concepts and methodology
CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research and GENNOVATE
12 July, 2018

In this webinar, two of GENNOVATE's Principal Investigators will provide background on GENNOVATE and present the study methodology , which consists of several different tools that engage participants in dynamic and reflexive ways. They will discuss some of the main tools and ways the methodology can be applied or adapted in other projects and initiatives to achieve more gender-responsive and gender-equitable Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D).   Learn more...

2018 Scientific Conference and Capacity Development Workshop
CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
25-18 September, 2018

CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research is convening its second Annual Scientific Conference and Capacity Development Workshop on September 25-28, 2018 at the campus of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. General registration opens 02 July, and space is limited. Learn more...

IDRC Research Awards 2019
International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Positions in Ottawa (Canada), and Nairobi (Kenya)
Application deadline:  
September 5, 2018 by 4:00 PM (EDT)

Research award recipients will join IDRC for a one-year paid program to undertake research on the topic they have submitted, and will receive hands-on experience in research and program management and support, grant administration, and the creation, dissemination, and use of knowledge from an international perspective. Positions are available at IDRC's head office in Ottawa, Canada AND there is one position available at IDRC's Regional Office for Sub-Saharan Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya. Eligibility criteria differ for each location. Learn more...

Platform for African - European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) Research Funding Blog
The European Commission (EC) and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)

A blog featuring dozens of funding opportunities for agricultural research for development (AR4D). Learn 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 Gender & Breeding Initiative:  Working Paper 1 - Gender and social targeting in plant breeding
This paper explores a market-based approach that can enable breeding programs serving resource-poor farmers, traders, processors and consumers to better better target breeding priorities to effectively benefit these groups.

CGIAR Gender & Breeding Initiative:  Working Paper 2 - From Market Demand to Breeding Decisions: A Framework . This paper proposes a framework to capture and respond to the complex and highly variable needs and demands that exist along plant and animal value chains, and that breeding must address in order for gender-equitable outcomes to be achieved.

CGIAR Gender & Breeding Initiative:  Working Paper 3 - State of the Knowledge for Gender in Breeding: Case Studies for Practitioners . Gender is widely seen as an important consideration in agricultural research for development, particularly in regards to developing varieties that lead to equitable benefits, yet an evidence base that demonstrates this is still lacking. This synthesis compiles case studies from two workshops organized by the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network: "Gender, Breeding and Genomics" (Oct. 2016) and "Innovation in Gender-Responsive Breeding" (Oct. 2017).

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):  Gender in Food and Nutrition Security . This free, online, self-paced course is aimed at policy- and decision-makers, senior managers, program designers and implementers, and statistics and monitoring & evaluation officers who are working in food and nutrition security and agriculture programs. Participants will receive guidance on how to design and implement agricultural policies and programs that are gender-responsive, sustainable, and contribute to gender equality.
USAID / Cultural Practice: 
Guide Pour l'Int├ęgration du Genre Dans les Cha├«nes de Valeur AgricolesThe French edition of a previously-published guide, "Promoting Gender Equitable Opportunities in Agricultural Value Chains: A Handbook." This resource, an outgrowth of work done with the GATE project, presents a participatory training approach for gender-responsive development work along agricultural value chains.

International Potato Center (CIP) / NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences: 
Scaling up of sweetpotato vine multiplication technologies in Phalombe and Chikwawa districts in Malawi: A gender analysis . Researchers examined the impact that technology scaling can have on reinforcing or reducing gender inequalities, based on work with orange-fleshed sweetpotato varieties and sweetpotato vine multiplication systems in Malawi. Findings point to a need for scaling strategies that move beyond simply promoting technologies, and restructure non-technical aspects of agricultural systems as well.
PLoS ONE Journal: 
Women's empowerment in agriculture and agricultural productivity: Evidence from rural maize farmer households in western Kenya . A study from Kenya using the Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) to look at possible correlations between women's agricultural empowerment and maize productivity.

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