A Gender Research Program for Latin America

19 May, 2009 by (comments)

Gender is like blood: It flows through the body and keeps it alive; likewise gender keeps programs and projects alive and relevant to poor farmers. Without gender or without blood dev. interventions will not be viable. (Ugandan woman farmer)

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This morning’s special topic of CIAT’s KS week was dedicated to Research on Gender. Patricia Biermayr who recently joined the System wide Program on Participatory Research and Gender Analysis (http://www.prgaprogram.org/ target=”_blank”) called her presentation: “Participatory Research and Gender Analysis in Time of (CGIAR) Change. You can watch it here.

This Program has now 12 years of existence and is in his 3rd phase. One of the main pillars of the program has been its participatory plant breeding and seed systems work.

In the context of the CGIAR change process the leaders in gender work – Patricia for PRGA, Vicky Wilde for the G&D; Program, Ruth Meinzen-Dick for IFPRI — recently joined efforts to plan a possible pathway for integrating the different areas of reasearch and activities. An expert consultation has been held most recently and the recommendations are now being finalized.

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For CIAT specifically, Patricia suggests to focus on the following activities:

Take into account the lessons from gender audit 2008
Develop a sensitization framework
Strengthen the links between HQ and the regions. Patricia already invited the regional coordinator to a brainstorming session to take place during this week.
Create a database to support gender analysis
Develop a capacity building strategy ans support gender research
Strengthen the focal point network
Create a CIAT gender support unit

Patricia foresees a face out of the PRGA by the end of this year and suggests the creation of a Gender Research Program in early 2010 which would focus on Latin America. The expected outcomes of the program would be to (1) mainstream gender analysis in agricultural research and to (2) enable poor rural women to adapt to climate change.

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One discussion that followed Patricia’s well-received presentation recognized CIAT’s poor results in gender mainstreaming. As Douglas Pachico stated: “While we were quite succesfull in mainstreaming participatory research in some of our research activities, like cassava in Asia, Forages, Beans in Africa, we haven’t been strong in mainstreaming gender in our research.” Some participants mentioned that this shouldn’t be a reason to do less in the participatory area. Rod Lefroy raised the importance of non-gender issues, like ethnicity, which is highly relevant in Asia. Michael Peters wonders if the Diversity issues haven’t been neglected so far. Patricia recognized that “we can’t do gender without participation”

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By Simone Staiger-Rivas

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Filed Under: Gender, Inside CIAT, Latin America and the Caribbean, Regions