Improving small livestock management and reducing the impacts of animal diseases requires engaging both women and men, who hold different roles in owning and managing livestock.
A research report about gender relations in small ruminant production identified gaps in our knowledge, attitude and practice in gender roles in livestock, women’s livestock ownership and zoonotic diseases.
When both women and men are engaged in the process, communities can bring about changes in discriminatory gender norms, attitudes, behaviors and power imbalances, creating positive changes related to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
People who could benefit from this method include facilitators, epidemiologists, local partners, community groups and researchers committed to transforming gender relations in managing livestock.
After identifying knowledge, attitude and practice needs, researcher teams created a community-based transformative approach called “community conversations”.
Community groups work with trained facilitators in forums to identify their strengths and constraints, analyze community values and practices, and explore strategies for addressing challenges that prevent women from fully taking part in livestock production.
- enable people to discuss issues away from formal social environments, opening space for new ways of thinking and questioning.
- are based on the recognition that people have the knowledge and capability that can bring about positive development outcomes individually and collectively.
- can lead to the evolvement of collective ideas and a critical consciousness, which can contribute to changes in restrictive gender norms and livestock management practices.
- engage a wide variety of stakeholders.
The forums were created after a review of participatory methods and tools.
- gives the methodological background
- outlines the steps for organizing, facilitating and documenting community conversations
- expands on four outcomes achieved through the method
- suggests challenges, lessons and considerations for scaling community conversations to groups of different sizes.
Using this approach allows participants to engage fully in the conversations. This leads to everyone involved being included in decision-making about gender and livestock management, which presents them with opportunities for sustained change.
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) developed this method in 2019.