December 4-8 was an exciting week for CGIAR gender scientists! KIT Royal Tropical Institute hosted 90 participants – scientists from across CGIAR and partners – to come together for the first scientific conference and capacity development workshop of the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research. Together the CGIAR gender community started to craft a collective story on gender research, making conceptual and thematic connections across the 12 CGIAR research programs and 15 CGIAR Centers. It was a wonderful opportunity for networking, learning and collaboration! Below are a few highlights: a full report will be available in the new year.
Forty-five scientists presented their gender research during the conference. Topics ranged from thematic – gender dimensions of migration, nutrition, policy, value chains, seed systems, climate change, land ownership, water, fish and livestock – to more conceptual explorations of masculinities, intersectionality, gender norms, agency and women’s empowerment. I was struck by the diversity of the gender research underway in agriculture and natural resource management themes as well as the breadth of qualitative and quantitative (and mixed) methodologies in use.
Being in Europe allowed us to hear from regional gender specialists – from Wageningen University (Margreet van der Burg), KIT Royal Tropical Institute (Franz Wong, Julie Newton) as well as the UNESCO-IHE (Margreet Zwarteveen) and formerly University of East Anglia (Christine Okali). We also had contributions from Pennsylvania State University professors (Carolyn Sachs and Ann Tickamyer). These external gender specialists brought fresh eyes and new insights as to how CGIAR gender research speaks to broader discourse on gender and development and where we might be able to strengthen our efforts. Next year, we will look forward to hearing from gender specialists from another region of the world!
Gender priorities of donors were shared in an informative panel before the conference closed. We heard from Ria Ketting (European Commission), Holger Kirscht (German Society for International Cooperation), Melle Leenstra (Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and Vicki Wilde (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). We were challenged to think big about the role of the Platform in the gender/agriculture space internationally and learned how these donors approach gender through mainstreaming, specific programs and support to learning of their partners.
Gender dynamics in seed systems grantees met to share their plans and explore common ground and differences in their research. To support our grantees on gender dynamics in seed systems, we had enlightening inputs from Michigan State University (Krista Isaacs), the Gender and Breeding Initiative/CGIAR Research Program on Roots Tubers and Bananas (Graham Thiele) and KIT Advisors working in the Integrated Seed Systems Development Program (Silvia Sarapura and Peter Gildemacher). I am very eager to see how this cross-CRP research shapes up as we work towards a Special Issue in 2019.
Communities of Practice on gender and water, breeding, climate-smart agriculture, nutrition, GENNOVATE shared tools and what they are up to. We also heard from colleagues working on the big data platform as to possible entry points for us to engage and ensure that gender dimensions are a part of emerging work on this.
From the communications and knowledge management team for the Platform, the main messages are clear:
- Read the newsletter to know what we are up to and to keep abreast of gender events and publications system-wide!
- CGIAR gender scientists – make sure you inform us when you have publications to profile!
And finally, the social highlight of the week was an evening canal boat ride to see Amsterdam’s Festival of Lights, followed by a dinner and reception at the Tropen Café. Lots of time to talk and share ideas! I feel energized by the warmth of the CGIAR gender community and look forward to 2018 as we continue to work together!