Methodological innovations: Indexes, ethics, and frameworks for gender research

Measuring empowerment across the value chain: The evolution of the project-level Women’s Empowerment Index for Market Inclusion (pro-WEAI+MI)

Greg Seymour

Many development agencies design and implement interventions that aim to reach, benefit and empower rural women across the value chain, ranging from production to processing to marketing. Determining whether and how such interventions empower women, as well as the constraints faced by different value chain actors, requires quantitative and qualitative tools. We describe how we adapted the project-level Women’s Empowerment in Agricultural Index (pro-WEAI), a mixed-methods tool for studying empowerment in development projects, to include aspects of agency relevant for multiple types of value chain actors. The resulting pro-WEAI for market inclusion (pro-WEAI+MI) includes quantitative and qualitative instruments developed during four studies. Studies in Bangladesh (2017), Philippines (2017) and Malawi (2019) were intended to diagnose areas of disempowerment to inform programming, whereas the Benin (2019) study was an impact assessment of an agricultural training program. The pro-WEAI+MI includes the quantitative core pro-WEAI plus a dashboard of complementary indicators, along with recommended qualitative instruments. These tools investigate the empowerment of women in different value chains and nodes and identify barriers to market access and inclusion that may restrict empowerment for different value chain actors. Our findings highlight three lessons. First, the sampling strategy needs to be designed to capture the key actors in a value chain. Second, the market inclusion indicators cannot stand alone; they must be interpreted alongside the core pro-WEAI indicators. Third, not all market inclusion indicators will be relevant for all value chains. Users should rely on contextual knowledge to select which market inclusion indicators to prioritize.

A guide for conducting ethical gender-inclusive research: The gender research Ethics and Standards toolkit

Ara Go

As gender-inclusive designs assume a more central place in research related to food, land and water systems and donors now routinely require a gender-sensitive lens on research, there is a heightened demand among researchers for a comprehensive resource on the ethical considerations involved in gender research. In response to this growing demand, the CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform’s Methods Module team has developed a toolkit titled “Gender Research: An Ethics and Standards Toolkit.” This toolkit is aligned with the CGIAR Ethics Framework and the CGIAR Research Ethics Code, and it is intended to serve as a reference guide for researchers within CGIAR and beyond. It provides guidance, recommendations and resources on gender-relevant ethical considerations, as well as additional gender considerations regarding the ethical treatment and protection of human subjects that are applicable to different types of research. The resources and guidance in the toolkit span various stages of a project’s lifetime, including project development and design, building research partnerships, project implementation and fieldwork, and data analysis, storage and dissemination. It also includes a practical checklist for research design, data collection and data storage. Importantly, this toolkit is designed as a “living” document which will be periodically updated to reflect new resources and include additional topics of interest.

Framework for incorporating Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) elements in Climate Information Services (CIS)

Everisto Mapedza

This paper proposes the incorporation of a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Framework into Climate Information Services, which is increasingly becoming important due to climate change and climate variability. Our paper understands gender as a socially constructed definition of women and men. Gender inequalities seem to be pervasive in that, even with the introduction of new agricultural and climate information technologies, the gendered fault lines still appear within the new technological settings. Such gendered technological inequalities can be traced back to as early as the 1960s, when it was clear that technological solutions are grounded within the society in which they are embedded. Unless women are intentionally included in the design and development of agricultural technologies, there is a high risk that women will not benefit from agricultural innovations meant to ameliorate the impact of climate change and climate variability. According to Conway's law, any technology reflects the values of its creator. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to understand the values of those who create technological solutions and innovations. Our proposed framework has five indicators: gender targeting by design; sex-disaggregated data collection; analysis of sex-disaggregated data; dissemination of technological options; and ongoing gender monitoring and empowerment evaluation. The five indicator domains are further complemented by their respective assumptions. The five indicator domains are applied in the context of three development interventions: an agricultural data hub, Climate Information Services Training, and Flood and Drought Indicators, which are all being implemented in Zambia as part of the Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa Project (AICCRA) Project. The framework being applied in Zambia is showing the importance of incorporating gender equality and social inclusion in the design, implementation and evaluation of climate information services.

Gendered mapping and consumer testing of steamed matooke in urban areas of Uganda 

Susan Ajambo

This paper explores the attributes of steamed matooke that are (un)desirable for urban consumers in Uganda by gender, age, and income status. Gendered food mapping involving the use of focus group discussions (FGDs) and individual in-depth interviews (IDIs) was conducted, followed by a consumer test with 381 consumers where four steamed matooke samples/ cultivars were evaluated (Nakitembe, Kibuzi, Ntika and Mpologoma). Of the cultivars assessed Kibuzi was most preferred during the FGDs and had the highest mean overall liking in the consumer test (7.2). Ntika was least preferred (5.9). However, differences were observed among income classes and gender groups (sex and age). High- and low-income consumers gravitate toward Kibuzi, while for middle income consumers it was Mpologoma. The women (adult and youth) showed more preference for Mpologoma, while the men liked Nakitembe more. The mapping of sensory characteristics showed that the key drivers of overall liking were a yellow color; a nice aroma; attractive looking; sweet (delicious, not sweet like sugar); homogeneous (one color); good taste and soft. Matooke taste proved a key determinant for the preference of steamed Kibuzi over the other varieties. It is important to undertake a sensory quantitative descriptive analysis and physiochemical characterization of this attribute, to guide breeding efforts geared toward improving sensory acceptability of matooke cultivars. Differences were observed in preference among different income and gender categories, and breeders need to package products based on the preferences of the various socio-demographic segments, including by gender and income class groupings to enhance new cultivar adoption.