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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation: Technical Workshops on gender and irrigation

Reposted from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) website.

Upcoming workshops in Ghana (April 13-14) and Tanzania (April 20-21) will carry forward this dialogue and forge new networks of government agents and practitioners working at the interface of gender and irrigation. If you work in these countries and would like more information about these workshops, please contact Sophie Theis from IFPRI.

IWMI ethiopia photo

On March 9-10, 2016, the first in a series of Feed the Future ILSSI workshops to strengthen capacity on gender and water was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (agenda, pdf), convened by the International Food Policy Research Institute, the International Water Management Institute, and the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Over 45 participants from the Ethiopian government, NGOs, and research institutes joined for two days of interactive presentations, trainings, and discussion on gender issues in agricultural water management. Workshop materials, including presentations and videos, can be accessed here (Day 1 and Day 2).

The workshop series was motivated by the fact that control over water is essential for productive agriculture, but we have limited knowledge about whether women’s water needs are being met. ILSSI is addressing this knowledge gap, through research and capacity building-for-development in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana to identify the technological, economic, and cultural factors limiting women’s ability to irrigate.

 

The workshop involved presentations from the Women’s Affairs Directorate in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Agricultural Transformation Agency, and IFPRI describing the state of knowledge on women’s access to water and the benefits of gender equality in water. A dozen NGOs and researchers shared case studies on their work overcoming barriers to women’s access to water. Presenters pointed out that women do have distinct needs that are not being met, and a one-size-fits all irrigation promotion policy is insufficient to achieve national gender equality, food security, and climate resilience goals. (Photo Credits: Apollo Habtamu/IWMI )

Building on early findings from qualitative and quantitative research in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania, the ILSSI team is developing a diagnostic checklist that water-related interventions can draw on to identify the key factors limiting women’s control over water. This instrument is being further refined through these workshops.

In the Ethiopia workshop, participants practiced using the checklist to apply gender concepts to the case study discussions. Participants expressed interest in using the checklist to promote dialogue with communities about solutions to gendered water needs and proposed using the checklist to inform Ministry of Agriculture gender mainstreaming guidelines.

 


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New publication: What dimensions of women’s empowerment matter for nutrition in Ghana?

Photo: Alison Slack. Source: Flickr (IFPRI Images)

A woman works the field in Ghana. Photo: Alison Slack. Source: Flickr (IFPRI Images)

Abstract: This paper investigates linkages between women’s empowerment in agriculture and the nutritional status of women and children using 2012 baseline data from the Feed the Future population-based survey in northern Ghana. Using a new survey-based index, the women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index, we conduct individual-level analyses of nutrition-related indicators including exclusive breastfeeding, children’s dietary diversity score, minimum dietary diversity and minimum acceptable diet, children’s height-for-age, weight-for-height, and weight-for-age z-scores, and women’s dietary diversity score and body mass index. Results suggest that women’s empowerment is more strongly associated with the quality of infant and young child feeding practices and only weakly associated with child nutrition status. Women’s empowerment in credit decisions is positively and significantly correlated with women’s dietary diversity, but not body mass index. This suggests that improved nutritional status is not necessarily correlated with empowerment across all domains, and that these domains may have different impacts on nutrition.

Available here.