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Publication: Agricultural extension services and gender equality An institutional analysis of four districts in Ethiopia

Decentralized delivery of public services has been promoted as a means to enhance citizen voice and make service provision more responsive to users. Ethiopia has undertaken two rounds of decentralization, making first the regional states and then the district governments responsible for providing key public services. This paper explores whether decentralization has improved the quality of service delivery and citizen satisfaction with the services provided, focusing on agricultural extension. Specifically, we examine whether services are responsive to the needs and expressed demands of poor farmers, including women farmers. We focus on the institutional arrangements through which agricultural extension services are provided and how these contribute to efficiency, effectiveness, and equity in service delivery.

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News: Educating Women Saves Children, Study Finds

LONDON (AP) — Giving young women an education resulted in saving the lives of more than four million children worldwide in 2009, according to a new study published Friday. American researchers analyzed 915 censuses and surveys from 175 countries tracking education, economic growth, H.I.V. infection rates and child deaths from 1970 to 2009. By using statistical models, the researchers found that for every extra year of education women had, the death rate for children under 5 dropped by almost 10 percent. They estimated that 4.2 million fewer children died in 2009 than in 1970 because women of child-bearing age in developing countries were more educated. In 1970, women in developing countries ages 18 to 44 had attended about two years of school. In 2009, it was about seven years. The study was paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was published Friday in the London-based medical publication Lancet. Continue reading


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Event: Online Discussion and Podcast on Gender, Education and Employment

You are invited to participate in an online discussion on the linkages between women’s and girls’ access to and participation in formal and non-formal education and training, and their equal access to full employment and decent work. The online discussion will take place from 7 to 20 July in both English and French. It is organized by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Registration will be open from 7 July, and will be necessary for participants to post comments. Registered participants can also opt to follow the online discussion by e-mail.

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News: Asia, Merali, and CARE Foundations Together Launch University Scholarship Program for Young Pakistani Women

Source: The Asia Foundation SAN FRANCISCO, June 2 PRNewswire-USNewswire

Many young Pakistani women from low-income families can only dream of going to college or university. Now, however, some disadvantaged young women will have the chance for their dream to come true. With a generous donation from the Shirin Pandju Merali Foundation, established by Pandju Merali in honor of his late wife Shirin Merali, The Asia Foundation is set to launch a scholarship program that will enable young Pakistani women — “Merali Scholars” — to pursue undergraduate studies at eight highly respected colleges and universities in Pakistan. The Asia Foundation will enroll 66 women in hard-science degree programs, 67 women in medical degree programs, and 67 women in engineering degree programs. Continue reading


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Resource: New IFPRI Dataset on Chronic Poverty and Long Term Impact Study in Bangladesh

The Chronic Poverty and Long Term Impact Study in Bangladesh project, which focuses on 102 villages characteristic of rural Bangladesh, aims to further our understanding of the economic, social and political processes that shape chronic poverty in Bangladesh together with the impact of selected anti-poverty interventions on poverty dynamics. After initial community level fieldwork approximately 1,907 core households first surveyed in 1994, 1996, or 2000 were interviewed in late 2006 to ascertain how their living standards, endowment and other characteristics have changed over time and what role selected interventions have had on their welfare trajectories. 365 households who had split from their original households were also interviewed Detailed life-histories were then collected from a stratified sub-sample of approximately 293 adult men and women living in 161 households in order to better understand which events, institutions and processes have trapped certain households in chronic poverty while allowing others to escape from it. By analysing the results of the community level focus groups, panel survey and life-histories interviews together, a much fuller and more nuanced understanding of chronic poverty and the impact of the selected interventions is produced. Continue reading


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Event (DC): Capacity Building for Women Farmers The Impact of Numeracy and Literacy Training on Household Well-being in Central Mozambique

Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2010  Time: 3:00-5:00 pm
Location: Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, 499 South Capitol St. SW, Suite 500-B, Washington, DC
To RSVP, please send your name, affiliation, and email to: events@partnership-africa.org

Welcome: Emmy Simmons, Board Member, Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa
Presentation: Maria José Novoa, Senior Associate, NCBA – CLUSA International

Mrs. Novoa has over 30 years of professional experience working in Africa with rural communities and local institutions in the areas of adult education and rural development, training of trainers, producer organization, gender and advocacy. She is one of Africa’s leading experts on functional literacy and numeracy and has played a key role in integrating functional literacy and numeracy into CLUSA farmer business development activities in Africa.

Throughout her career Mrs. Novoa has carried out assignments for numerous organizations, including USAID, European Commission, Swiss Cooperation, African Development Bank, FAO, CIDA/Canada, UNESCO, CARITAS, and several International and African NGOs and Ministries in Africa. Mrs. Novoa holds a BA in Educational Psychology and an M.S. in Education and Development from the University of Minho in Portugal. She is a citizen of Portugal and was raised in Mozambique. She currently resides in South Africa.


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News: Despite Wide-Ranging Benefits, Girls’ Education and Empowerment Overlooked in Developing Countries

by Kata Fustos (PRB)

(April 2010) Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive impact of girls’ education on child and maternal mortality, health, fertility rates, poverty, and economic growth. Yet less than 2 cents of every dollar spent on international development is directed specifically toward adolescent girls, and they remain at the margins of international development programs.1 However, a March 2010 United Nations joint statement indicates that the international community is beginning to recognize that girls are a powerful catalyst for change.2

Investing in Adolescent Girls Brings Widespread Benefits

A key to reducing the cycle of poverty lies in an educated, healthy, and productive citizenry that is able to provide for the next generation. Adolescent girls hold a considerable yet untapped potential for accelerated national growth; their educational attainment, level of involvement in the labor force, and capability as caretakers of the next generation have a great impact on entire communities. There are about 600 million adolescent girls in developing countries and the 10-to-24-year-old age group is the fastest-growing segment of the population. This demographic trend can boost the economic prospects of developing countries by providing opportunities to these young people.

On average, girls with higher levels of education are more likely to participate in the labor force, engage in paid employment, earn more for their families over their lifetimes, and have healthier children who stay in school longer.3 Girls receive a higher economic return on investment in education than boys, and there are especially high wage gains from secondary education for girls. Female secondary education has an 18 percent return in the form of eventual wages, compared with 14 percent for males. In addition, girls with secondary schooling are up to six times less likely to be married as children than those with little or no schooling.4 The educational attainment of adults in the household also positively affects children. In many countries, maternal education levels have a greater influence over school enrollment of children than the education level of fathers. Continue reading


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News: PHILIPPINES Women’s College Corrects Gender Miseducation

MANILA, Apr 16 (IPS) – Flip open a typical textbook used in many Philippine schools and you will likely find images of women illustrating verbs such as ‘cook’ or ‘clean’, but hardly appearing anywhere much in economics and history textbooks.

These are examples of the gender miseducation that textbooks in this South-east Asian country often convey in a subtle manner, a problem that professors at the Miriam College say they are trying to fix by teaching their all-female student body about gender stereotypes at a young age.

The curriculum at the college, which is an all-female Catholic institution, thus consciously deviates from the categorisation of male and female roles that many young Filipinos, like many youngsters elsewhere, grow up with in their homes.

When talking to young students, teachers avoid describing mothers as a “good cook” or father as a “good driver” and show them that both men and women can share skills in different chores. Likewise, they introduce themes of shared parenting and shared home management as early as the first grade.

“Reactions range from students sharing proudly that in their house it’s their dads who do the cooking to being sad that their moms are always in the house, unlike other classmates whose moms go to an office,” Marita Castillo Pimentel, coordinator of the gender-fair education programme at Miriam College, said in an interview.

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Event (DC): An International Forum in Support of The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship

The United Nations Development Program & The Academy for Educational Development

“Advancing the Cairo Agenda: Entrepreneurship, Education and Gender Equality in the Muslim World”

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
(to be followed by a reception from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.)

Academy Hall, Academy for Educational Development
1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, 8th Floor

In his landmark “New Beginning” speech in Cairo last June, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would host a Summit on Entrepreneurship “to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.” President Obama, together with the Department of State and the Department of Commerce, will convene the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington on April 26 and 27. Delegates from over 40 countries on five continents will participate.

In this UNDP-AED international forum, we will explore how President Obama’s Cairo priorities of entrepreneurship, education and gender equality intersect. In particular, our panelists will discuss how educational reform in the Muslim world can produce a new generation of women and men committed to business and social entrepreneurship.

Please RSVP by Monday, April 26, to undp.washington@undp.org.


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Publications: Female Participation in African Agricultural Research and Higher Education New Insights

Authors: Nienke Beintema and Federica Di Marcantonio

This report presents the results of an in-depth benchmarking survey on gender-disaggregated capacity indicators, covering 125 agricultural research and higher education agencies in 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is the first study of its kind to present detailed human resources data on female participation in agricultural science, the main findings of which include the following:

  • Total capacity in terms of the professional staff employed at the agricultural research and higher education agencies included in this study increased by 20 percent between 2000/01 and 2007/08, and women constituted almost half of this capacity increase. The female population of professional staff grew by eight percent per year on average, which is four times higher than the comparable rate of increase for the male population, indicating that the gender gap in African agricultural sciences is closing.
  • The proportion of female professional staff employed at the sample agricultural research and higher education agencies increased from 18 percent in 2000/01 to 24 percent in 2007/08, but fewer women have advanced degrees compared to their male colleagues. In 2007/08, for example, 27 percent of the sample’s professional women held PhD degrees compared with 37 percent of the sample’s professional men.
  • Levels of female participation in agricultural research and higher education among the sample agencies were particularly low in Ethiopia (6 percent), Togo (9 percent), Niger (10 percent), and Burkina Faso (12 percent). Shares of female professional staff were much higher in South Africa, Mozambique, and Botswana (32, 35, and 41 percent, respectively).
  • The female share of students enrolled in higher agricultural education was higher than the female shares of professional staff employed at the agricultural research and higher education agencies in most cases, but a significant proportion of the female students concerned were undertaking only BSc-level studies (83 percent).

    To read the report in full