CGIAR Gender

Webinar: Improving gender equity in irrigation – What approaches can improve participation and benefits for women?

NP Central Asia. (photo credit: IWMI / Neil Palmer)

The CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research hosted the webinar “Improving gender equity in irrigation – What approaches can improve participation and benefits for women?” on Tuesday March 13. The webinar was organized in collaboration with the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).

Webinar recording

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Background and purpose

Women farmers often undertake farming activities within irrigation schemes, and can even constitute the majority in smallholder irrigation schemes. However, for various reasons, women are often excluded from the governance and management of such schemes. This makes it difficult to achieve equity in outcomes from investments in irrigation. In turn, this situation can have a negative impact on overall scheme and water efficiency, on food production, household food security and nutrition, and livelihoods. It also means a missed opportunity for empowering women. At the same time, public investments continue to be made in irrigation schemes, following the historical patterns in governance and management. This happens despite the fact that many donors that are investing in irrigation projects are, at least partly, targeting women. The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) had been approached by public servants working in irrigation departments and irrigation projects through the Improved Management of Agricultural Water for East and Southern Africa (IMAWESA) network, requesting support to improve gender equity.

The tool and pilot to be presented in the webinar are a response to the call for a different approach to planning and implementing irrigation projects toward greater gender equity, allowing for learning and improvement at different points in the project life cycle.

Webinar discussants

Nicole Lefore is a Senior Project Manager (Research for Development) at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in South Africa. She works on research related to water and land institutions, small-scale irrigation and gender, microfinance for smallholder irrigators, and approaches to community engagement. Nicole has over 20 years of experience in Africa managing projects related to agricultural development, water and land resources, policy and institutional reform, and capacity development. She holds a PhD in Government from the University of Virginia and an MSc in Development from the School for Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Nozilakhon Mukhamedova is currently working as research associate at the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) and is a PhD candidate in Agricultural Economics. For four years she worked for the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) as a gender and social development research officer in Central Asia. Her research interests are related to gender, socio-economic and institutional development as well as agricultural labour and water and land relations in Central Asia. She holds a MSc in International development and cooperation from the University of Pavia, Italy.

Elizabeth Weight has more than 25 years of experience in international development in Africa and Asia, with an emphasis on smallholder agricultural water management, bridging science to policy and implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. She served as the Global Science Uptake Coordinator at the International Water Management Institute from 2011 to 2015. She currently works for the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Integrated Drought Information System. She holds a Master in Environmental Management from Duke University.

Related resources (accessed February 21, 2018) (accessed February 21, 2018)