Considering gender when promoting small-scale irrigation technologies

Watering plants Photo: Melissa Cooperman/IFPRI

Guidance for inclusive irrigation interventions.

Why is the tool important?

This tool provides a guide and structured set of questions to assess gender dynamics in irrigation in a specific context. The questions can be used to collect information prior to, during or after project implementation to inform different strategic approaches of the project, including gender-sensitive marketing and dissemination strategies, design of technologies, risk mitigation approaches, adaptive management and/or monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities.

Who is the tool for?

Actors who are designing and/or promoting irrigation technologies – development practitioners, agricultural extension agents, agribusiness companies working with contract farmers and irrigation companies.

Country of focus: Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania.

How can I use the tool?

The tool has two components: Part 1 includes a series of general and specific questions to explore the risk of inequity and exclusion, while Part 2 focuses on approaches and indicators for monitoring, learning and evaluation as follows.

  • Part 1-Assessment questions: Key questions are provided for each phase of technology adoption – awareness, initial adoption and continued use – to identify gender differences and potential risks of exclusion related to the adoption of irrigation. The questions explore potential causes of the risk of exclusion and how the project may affect gender and social dynamics. 
  • Part 2-Approaches and indicators for measuring inclusion in irrigation projects: Possible project approaches and indicators are provided that can be used as is or adapted for use in M&E efforts.

When and how was it developed?

The tool is an output from the REACH programme funded by UK Aid from the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

It was developed through an iterative process of field research and stakeholder consultation. An initial workshop series was held in 2016 in Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania to gather feedback from researchers, government officials, implementing organizations and donors on key questions on gender dynamics in irrigation, as part of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation (ILSSI). Qualitative research was then conducted to test an initial set of questions, which were further refined through qualitative fieldwork for the REACH programme. Researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Ethiopian Development Research Institute/University of Bonn conducted in-depth interviews and focus-group discussions. 

Where can I get the tool? Who can I contact?

Find the tool here or download in pdf (233 KB).