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New grant equips researchers to advance gender-responsive agricultural research in sub-Saharan Africa

GREAT Pilot Course_low resolution

GREAT (Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation) is a new project that will equip researchers to create more inclusive and effective agricultural systems by addressing the priorities of both women and men in sub-Saharan Africa.


 Achieving greater parity among women and men in sub-Saharan Africa so they more equally share the benefits of agricultural research is the goal of an initiative announced today, on International Women’s Day, in the spirit of the Pledge for Parity campaign.

The $5M grant to equip researchers to create more inclusive and effective agricultural systems by addressing the priorities of both women and men in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been awarded to Cornell University, in partnership with Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation, or GREAT, will deliver training to agricultural researchers from SSA in the theory and practice of gender-responsive research in the key areas of root, tuber, and banana breeding; grain and legume breeding; small ruminant breeding; dairy and legume value chains; nutrition and food systems; knowledge exchange (extension); and agricultural mechanization.

“Women play critical roles in food production and processing, but their input is frequently overlooked by agricultural researchers,” said Hale Ann Tufan, gender specialist and adjunct professor with International Programs in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who will lead the project for Cornell. “Gender-blind research projects and products inadvertently increase the burden on women and limit the potential positive impact of research outputs.”

“GREAT will increase opportunities for equitable participation and the sharing of benefits from agricultural research and improve the outcomes for smallholder women farmers, entrepreneurs, and farmer organizations across sub-Saharan Africa,” said Margaret Mangheni, associate professor at Makerere University who has over 20 years of experience with gender-sensitive agricultural development projects in Uganda and across Africa. Mangheni will lead the project at Makerere.

GREAT will train researchers to address the priorities of both women and men when setting project goals, implementing projects, and measuring and communicating project outcomes.

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IFPRI Gender Brown Bag: African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD): Can Capacity Building Be Measured?

The IFPRI Gender Task Force invites you to a Gender Brown Bag with:


African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD): Can Capacity Building Be Measured?

Presented by:

Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenburg, Ph.D.,Director, AWARD

Apollo Nkwake, Ph.D., Senior Manager, Monitoring and Evaluation, AWARD

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

12:30pm – 1:30pm

IFPRI, Conference Room 6A

Instructions for joining virtually are available at the end of this message.

Only one in four agricultural researchers in Africa is female, and worse, only one in seven leadership positions in African agricultural research institutions are held by women. African women remain underrepresented in the spaces where agricultural research priorities are set, resources allocated, and policy decisions made.

African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) is empowering a new generation of African women leaders in agricultural research and development using the African Women in Science Empowerment Model (AWSEM). This empowerment framework is based on the literature around capacity building and especially around the expansion of agency. Working with an evidence-informed and adaptive management approach, AWARD has, through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, analyzed the design, implementation performance and progress towards the expected outcomes and long-term impacts of AWSEM. The results are compelling – and sometimes confounding.


 Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Ph.D., Director, AWARD

 Prior to joining AWARD, Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg served as an assistant professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco.  She also founded and served as Executive Director of Akili Dada, an award-winning leadership incubator that invests in high-achieving young women from under-resourced families, who are passionate about driving social change.

She has received widespread recognition for her work investing in women, including being honored as a U.S. White House Champion of Change, named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African magazine, recognized as a Ford Foundation Champion of Democracy, and named one of Kenya’s Top 40 Women Under Age 40.

Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg earned a PhD and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, and a BA in Politics from Whitman College, Washington State.


Apollo Nkwake, Ph.D. Senior Manager Monitoring and Evaluation, AWARD

 Prior to joining AWARD, Dr. Nkwake served as a research associate professor for Monitoring & Evaluation at Tulane University.  He has held a Senior M&E Advisor positions at the World Vision United States, University Research Co, and JSI Research and Training Institute.  He has research and M&E field experience with USAID, World Bank, DFID, UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and World Vision programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Dr. Nkwake earned his PhD in social development from the University of Cape Town and holds Canadian Evaluation Society’s Credentialed Evaluator Designation.  His work focuses on developing and testing theories of change for gender responsive and effective development assistance. He has authored three books and several peer-reviewed journal articles/book chapters including: Credibility, Validity, and Assumptions in Program Evaluation Methodology (2015, Springer), Working with Assumptions in International Development Program Evaluation (2013, Springer), and Changing Gender Roles? A Study on Fathers’ Involvement in Childcare (2013, Tate).

Please find previous presentations from the IFPRI gender series on the IFPRI Gender Slideshare.

For more information about gender research at IFPRI, please visit the IFPRI Gender Research webpage: http://www.ifpri.org/topic/gender

Instructions for joining online via GoToMeeting:

  1. Please join my meeting.


  1. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

Dial +1 (312) 757-3121

Access Code: 457-402-429

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 457-402-429