CCAFS Gender Training and Strategizing Workshop: a collaborative effort to link gender issues and climate change

Photo credit: ICRAF

Photo credit: ICRAF

“Gender equity is a goal, but gender equity is also about synergy”, said Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), at the opening plenary of the first CCAFS Gender Training and Strategizing Workshop. The CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) Linking Knowledge with Action research team, based at ICRAF’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, along with partnering institutions, brought together researchers from around the world to learn new approaches for gender and climate change-focused research, communication, social learning and empowerment.  No small challenge.

From October 22 – 25th, 2013, participants from 19 different countries and five regions gathered to take part in a highly interactive workshop.  They learned together about newly available qualitative and quantitative approaches to gender and climate change research, and shared their own related research experiences from a wide range of countries.

“This was a unique opportunity to gather researchers from the three initial regions of CCAFS, South Asia, East Africa, and West Africa, as well as two new regions, added this year [2013]: Latin America and Southeast Asia”, said Patti Kristjanson, who leads the Linking Knowledge with Action Research Theme for CCAFS.  “We wanted to create a joint learning space for sharing information on recently developed gender-climate change research methods catalyzed by CCAFS, but also to plan some new and innovative user needs-driven and gender transformative research in these 5 regions”.

Patti Kristjanson, speaking during the opening session. Photo credit: ICRAF

Patti Kristjanson, speaking during the opening session. Photo credit: ICRAF

Christine Jost, science officer for CCAFS, and Nafisa Ferdous, a gender expert working with CCAFS, developed a series of interactive activities that challenged participants to link their day-to-day research with the workshop objectives:

  • To review research tools available through CCAFS and its partners and how to plan research based on study objectives
  • To help partners develop and/or improve their gender research strategies
  • To develop a plan to link gender development outcome targets to research in the CCAFS regions

To accomplish these objectives, the participants were divided into three breakout sessions for the first two days, and then into five groups representing each CCAFS region for the final two days.

“Dividing the participants into separate groups allowed everyone to really focus on the gender research tools that interested them. Each regional group showcased individual expertise and this arrangement also encouraged collaborative knowledge-sharing”, says Jost.

One of the breakout training sessions. Photo credit: ICRAF

One of the breakout training sessions. Photo credit: ICRAF

The first three groups each focused on one of the following gender research tools: 1) quantitative research methods; 2) qualitative research methods; and 3) organizational gender research strategies.

The final five groups each focused on one of the CCAFS regions: South Asia, East Africa, West Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. The purpose of these parallel tracks was to develop regional gender and climate change research plans that specify the activities of participating CGIAR partners and their contributions to the CCAFS gender development outcome. This outcome was identified as the empowerment of women and marginalized groups through increased access to or control over productive assets, inputs, information, food and markets; and a strengthened participation in decision-making processes.  Pathways towards achieving this ambitious outcome were developed by each regional group.

These five breakout sessions helped develop planning frameworks for each region, by identifying desired gender impacts at each stage and the changes in knowledge, attitude, and skills leading to changes in practice that would contribute to such impacts. Putting the overarching gender outcome first, and working backwards from there, asking what is needed to get there, ended up being a very powerful exercise for all the groups. It enabled them to identify tools to incorporate gender and climate change into their future research endeavors, and strategic approaches for mainstreaming gender in their home institutions.

On the final day of the workshop, groups shared their planning frameworks. The regional teams could see the similarities and differences in proposed approaches, with interesting ideas and ‘aha’ moments happening. The plans will be further developed into detailed regional gender impact pathways with continued CCAFS support as they are being highly sought by our investors and others partners. Armed with these new tools and impact and outcome-led approaches, together we will be in a better position to achieve our ambitious gender goals.

Workshop participants and organizers. Photo credit: ICRAF

Workshop participants and organizers. Photo credit: ICRAF

Read more:
CCAFS gender and equity
CCAFS gender and climate change research methods
CCAFS training manual to prepare South Asian rural women to adapt to climate change
CCAFS gender and climate change small grant awards
CGIAR gender and youths in dryland agriculture
ICRAF gender and climate-smart agriculture

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CCAFS Gender Training and Strategizing Workshop: a collaborative effort to link gender issues and climate change