Incorporating gender in agricultural research is a key strategy for successful interventions. This was demonstrated at a workshop of the GENNOVATE methodology. A qualitative research methodology was specifically developed and brought to scale in the study to explore hidden norms within societies, particularly in the field of gender and agriculture. It explores differences in women’s and men’s capacities to access, adopt, and benefit from innovations in agriculture and natural resource management.

Developed by the CGIAR Gender Research Agriculture Network, the GENNOVATE methodology is being implemented in a standardized way across 11 CGIAR Research Programs and involves more than 20 gender and social science specialists. The cases chosen for the study cover a wide range of target regions, environments, crops and cultures, or crop production systems. Data from each of the global cases, collected using a standardized field methods, will be entered into a shared, global database for a comparative global analysis.

Dr Kamanzi, a development practitioner and scientist from the Institute of Rural Development and Planning, Tanzania, conducted the training for the South Asia team. According to him, “Behind what people practice or do, are norms. Using qualitative data collected through the Gennovate methodology, the norms that govern the gender issues will be unveiled, so people can innovate.”

In South Asia, a case study on pigeonpea in Kanzara village, Akola district, Maharashtra has been chosen under CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes for 2015.

The objectives for this research are twofold:

  • Provide robust empirical evidence on the relationship between gender norms, agency and agricultural innovation, and how these interactions support or hinder achievement of Intermediate Development Objectives (IDO) across varied contexts.
  • Inform CGIAR Research Program theories of change and related research portfolios by identifying gender-based constraints that need to be overcome in different contexts in order to achieve lasting and equitable improvements in agricultural and natural resource management outcomes.

During the five-day workshop, the initial three days were spent on familiarizing with the study methodology, concepts and instruments. Day 4 was spent in Aurepalle village, piloting the main study instruments. Two interesting methodologies were pre-tested: (a) the ladder of life (focus on movement/trajectories out of poverty) conducted with men’s group and (b) the ladder of power and freedom (focus on empowerment pathways) conducted with women’s group. The last day was spent discussing the field experience, pilot issues and preparing for the fieldwork/data collection phase that began on 6 October in Kalman village in Maharashtra and JC Agraharam village in Andhra Pradesh.

The training program was held from 24-29 September at ICRISAT headquarters, attended by 13 participants.

Adapted from ICRISAT Happenings