Making the Invisible Visible: Leveraging space satellite technology to benefit women in agriculture

Earth observation and remote sensing offer limitless applications for studying the dynamics of our planet from space.
How can we leverage this information to empower women as farmers, mothers, and citizens to respond to climate extremes and build more resilient communities? This panel will present innovative research that uses geospatial data to better understand how food security and access to critical information can influence resilience by bringing research from three distinct areas of the world - Amazonia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Hindu Kush Himalaya - into dialogue with two global initiatives.


Katherine Casey, SERVIR Global
Kamala Gurung, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)

Bridging gender gap in agriculture development through enhancing climate information advisory services: Evidence from Nepal
A Rapid Gender Needs Assessment (RGNA) study of the agriculture and food security service in Nepal was carried out in three villages representing three agro-ecological regions. The objective of the study was to identify the platforms to disseminate the agriculture climate information services targeting women farmers and marginalized groups in order to mitigate the climate risks in agriculture production. The study method utilized qualitative information/data collection. The findings revealed that the farming system has been changing mainly in upland/bari areas with market-based crops production with improved technologies adoption. Such changes have also led to changes in the gender roles and relations. Despite the efforts to increase agriculture production, climate hazards remained a major problem. None of the agriculture extension service providers offer climate related information or advice. Therefore, climate information services should be strengthened to deliver in a gender inclusive way to increase agriculture productivity and food security.


Kathryn Grace, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA

Is there a linkage between seasonal agricultural variation and women’s health? A multi-country investigation of recent trends
In sub-Saharan Africa where the vast majority of households are dependent on rainfed agriculture to meet their food and income needs, many households are chronically and seasonally food insecure. Births also demonstrate a strong seasonal pattern, but the role of seasonal agricultural variation (capturing dimensions of food/resource insecurity) plays in determining reproductive health outcomes is highly uncertain. In this research, we build on and integrate ideas from past studies focused on food security in the developing world with those on fertility and contraceptive use to examine how variation in seasonal agricultural production relates to contraceptive use and pregnancy in three countries in sub-Saharan Africa - Burkina Faso, Kenya, and Uganda. In this research, we use highly detailed, spatially-referenced individual-level data from Performance Monitoring for Action (PMA) that includes detailed information on women’s contraceptive use and pregnancies. This data is matched to different remotely sensed based measures of vegetation - the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) - as proxies for community-level seasonal agricultural quality. To analyze the relationship between growing season conditions and these different reproductive health outcomes, we estimate a series of regression models leveraging individual-level variation in the timing of contraceptive use and pregnancies with attention to variation in the different measures of vegetation. Preliminary results suggest that contraceptive use and pregnancies do vary based on seasonal vegetation measures but that this relationship depends on each woman’s characteristics as well as on specific community characteristics related to the family planning environment. The research provides insight into how individual- and community-level reproductive health needs may change according to seasonal fluctuations, suggesting that decision-making related to women’s health interventions and associated targeting incorporate local growing season conditions.

Marina Irigoyen, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT

Women's involvement and Participatory Mapping in Peru. First comments
The SERVIR Amazonia Program and the Cocoa Peru Alliance (ACP, Alianza Cacao Peru, in Spanish) are coordinating since the end of 2020 to join efforts and enhance the promotion of gender equity, raising the participation on women cocoa farmers associated to Alianza Cacao, in the monitoring of their plots from space using geospatia systems. Cocoa is one of the flagship products of Peru, due to the quality and potential of the product; moreover, the cocoa plots combine their production with forestry and fruit trees oriented to food security. At the Ucayali Office level, ACP organizes 2,710 farmers, mostly of them are male, only 8.5% are women. However, women are increasing their activities at the technical and social level. Given the restrictions of the pandemic, the Program considered to work with Facilitators in the area, previously trained by the SERVIR Amazonia Program, who could carry out direct training to women in the exercise of monitoring. The Facilitators are technicians or professional who are in permanent contact with the cocoa farmers in the area, working as ACP staff or the Colpa de Loros Cooperative, a member of the ACP. One objective was to involve women farmers who are owners of their plots or - who being couples or daughters - have a high participation in the productive and management of their plots. The activity considers three phases: As an introduction, the Facilitators training. Then, the implementation and follow- up of the field activities. Second, the SERVIR Amazonia processing of data and the production of a StoryMap. Third, the devolution of the information to women farmers. At this stage (August 2021) the Participatory Mapping work plan is on intermediate development. The systematization of the experience, which is in process, provides insights into how women farmers could be involved in the participatory mapping of their plots, the factors and conditions that promotes it, the challenges they face and how it could act as a means to enhance their esteem, contributing to make visible their potential. In addition, it introduces a reflection on the role of Facilitators in a pandemic scenario.

Catherine Le Côme, SNV Netherlands Development Organization

Pastoralists’ inclusion as minorities in GARBAL service
To provide herders in Mali and Burkina Faso with timely information to assist in transhumance decisions, GARBAL programme was initiated in 2015 under a public private partnership. GARBAL is a call center allowing pastoralists to access data on pasture & water conditions, market prices, herd concentrations, the location of pastoral infrastructures and advisory services for their production. The data is collected through a mix of field and satellite data sources, building on the traditional information systems of pastoralist communities in the area, while adding the power of earth observation imagery. A call center in Mali has been fully operational since 2017 and one in Burkina Faso since 2019. It will soon launch in Niger. This presentation will outline the methodology behind the two call centers as well as results of initial user uptake and the future scale-up plans.

Jawoo Koo, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Gender equality and food systems transformation in climate change hotspots: Exploring data synergies
Women and men experience climate change impacts differently due to unequal access to resources and social norms defining their differential roles and responsibilities. In developing countries, women constitute nearly half of the labour force in agriculture, and yet there they do not own the land they farm, lack access to credit, have limited participation in collective action, decision making and leadership. Climate change threatens to exacerbate these existing inequalities, leading to higher vulnerability. The CGIAR Gender platform conducted research that sought to identify hotspots of climate change, where gender inequalities are persistent and likely to exacerbate under a changing climate. A methodology was developed for identifying climate change and gender inequality hotspots, using geo-spatial information and large socio-economic datasets. In these hotspots, extreme climate hazards intersect with high levels of gender inequalities in the context of agricultural and food systems leading to low adaptive capacities. These hotspots span across different countries, urban-rural continuum, and diverse agro- ecologies. The methodology identifies the convergence and degree of climate-induced food system transformations and gender inequalities. The methodology further allows projects to better target their interventions to trigger equitable and sustainable agricultural and food system transformation for vulnerable population groups. This presentation will discuss the relevance and development of the hotspot mapping methodology, and the identification of hotspots across Asia and Africa. The presentation will focus on the methodology for identifying climate hotspots, the relevant indicators of gender inequality and the maps of geographical hotspot areas that face substantial threats in the near future.

Laura Cooper Hall, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)

Gender Integration in SERVIR Agriculture Services: Project Examples and Opportunities for Wider Learning
In 2015, the SERVIR program adopted a Service Planning approach to ensure that its services help developing countries effectively solve challenges related to agriculture, water management, land use and disaster management. To support implementation, SERVIR designed the Service Planning Toolkit as a resource for SERVIR Hubs as they, with their partners, strive to make an impact in designing, delivering and implementing services. In 2020 Advancing Gender in the Environment (AGENT) began a review process of SERVIR’s Service Planning Toolkit, identifying opportunities for enhanced gender integration and gender-responsive implementation. This review included a review of SERVIR’s existing gender case study bank, and a process of identification of additional external case studies demonstrating successful integration of gender and inclusion into existing services, in alignment with stages of the service planning toolkit. In the process AGENT identified two case studies of gender integration into agricultural services, both focusing on drought management. These case studies highlighted the value of conducting a gender analysis or assessment at any point of implementation, to better understand project context to have the highest potential for impact. For example, one case study illuminated that it was important to understand how different genders access information in their community, to ensure all community members and farmers are enabled to make informed farming decisions. Case studies also showed the importance of building staff gender knowledge and capacity. Both cases provide valuable learning opportunities for projects and implementers interested in learning about the initial steps to integrate gender in their work.