As part of a series of important workshops for the African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) program, a gender strategy validation workshop took place on 21 and 22 September 2017 at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The validation workshop was a crucial event because it
- brought together the program teams from Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania and was the first global ACGG team meeting since the last program management team meeting where gender work was kick-started;
- helped set strategic directions for gender work in the three ACGG countries;
- crowned the ACGG ‘in focus’ campaign on gender awareness which concludes later this month (October), with the publication of various important documents from ACGG gender work so far.
Where is gender in ACGG?
Despite 12 ‘gender outputs’ being produced so far (see slide five of the presentation below including inception report, trip summary reports, baseline gender analysis guide, pilot ACGG empowerment tool, country coaching plans etc.) gender dimensions have been missing in the data collection protocol and tool used in the program. And gender has not always been an explicit component of the innovation platforms set up in the course of the program.
A team from the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) that has been hired to pilot initial gender work in ACGG used these two lenses (data collection protocols and innovation platforms) as the vehicles to focus on gender work in the program and to ensure that the remaining two and a half years of the program pay due diligence to gender.
They presented their findings in the meeting in two sessions focusing on results from the ACGG data collection protocols and innovation platform reviews?
The on-farm data session revealed that what the three country teams preferred was to add a form to the Open Data Kit (ODK) used to collect data and that this form would be administered less frequently to gather more information about some quantitative aspects of gender. Qualitative aspects were captured through additional activities at the innovation platform meetings, such as focus group discussions.
The innovation platform session focused on how the national innovation platforms (NIPs) and community innovation platforms (CIPs) would connect to gender work by e.g. preparing the meetings to ensure women’s concerns would be addressed, that a space would be provided for men and women to express themselves freely, that women would be targeted more proactively etc. and that the reports of gender-focused conversations at CIPs would resurface at NIPs for a better integration of gender issues throughout.
The gender validation workshop also reviewed ‘what women’s empowerment means and how to make it acceptable to the cultures where ACGG works’ and it included a planning session where each country team and the global team focused on integrating all elements shared over the one and a half days of the workshop into an agreed plan. Finally the KIT team and facilitator invited participants to reflect on how gender work could be effectively monitored, and the event was closed under the promise that the final gender strategy would be shared as draft for inputs by the end of October. After that the country teams would start implementing their part of the gender action plan.
Looking ahead, the program is now looking forward to integrating gender in data collection, innovation platforms, country teams’ work, program management and in embedding gender specialists in the country teams.