In January 2015, the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network met at the International Rice Research Institute in Los Baños, in the Philippines. Discusses focused on how to make sure CGIAR research factors gender and social difference into its strategy and results, to enhance future planning and innovation.
Formed in 2012, the Network is composed of researchers engaged with social science research on gender in agriculture and natural resource management across the fifteen global CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs). Since its formation, the Network has taken decisive steps to establish a shared approach for measuring and reporting progress towards empowering women in agriculture as an outcome of research conducted by those programs. This joint effort is critical for meeting the heightened expectations of CGIAR’s donors, partners, and other stakeholders.
The meeting presented an ideal opportunity to for insightful reflection on what is already gender research is already happening on the ground, and how that can better be communicated. The objectives were to share experiences and good practices followed by an open, special topic workshop that addresses opportunities for cross- program research collaboration.
The Network Effect: Improving gender-responsiveness and transformative effects of innovations
Updates from the annual meeting of the CGIAR Gender and Agricultural Research Network
Impactful innovation needs to be socially inclusive and gender-equitable. Science-based innovation is at the heart of CGIAR’s vision of impact on poverty reduction, food security and climate-smart resource management. While CGIAR is discussing its Strategic Results Framework and conceptualizes its future research agenda, the Gender and Agriculture Research Network met in January 2015 to put together a collective picture of what CGIAR gender research is doing to inform, guide and improve the gender-responsiveness and transformative effects of its innovation.
At the heart of the gathering was the networking effect: Allow participants, senior and junior to share experiences, ask for advice, gather ideas, and formulate priorities in diverse areas such as capacity development, participatory breeding, data analysis and climate change.
The meeting benefitted from some senior practitioners who provided some supportive insight to the group based on their experience in the context of working as gender researchers in the field of agricultural research for development.
“Seeing you and seeing this network, I think you’re poised to make a historic difference. It is so important for you in the network to support each other. Together you will be far more effective than individuals”,- Vicki Wilde, Senior Program Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Carolyn Sachs, Professor of Rural Sociology, and Head of Women’s Studies Department at Penn State University thinks that there has never been anything like this network of people who are doing research on gender and agriculture.
“I hope we can move gender research forward in a way that had never been done before and influencing the direction of the CGIAR”, – Carolyn Sachs
Dr. Celia Castillo, who has been associated with the CGIAR system for 38 years recommends:
“Don’t make biophysical scientists your enemies; they are still the gems of the agricultural research. Do joint field trips with them as a team, and for a while you forget that you are a gender specialist, you are there to learn, and learn with them.”