The SARD-SC Wheat component aims to thoroughly incorporate gender into all the initiative’s main components: technology generation, technology dissemination, value addition, and training. We recognize that failing to adequately consider gender will bring only partial success and the unfulfilled potential of sub-Saharan Africa’s wheat sector.
Without considering the role of gender issues in technology design from the onset, the benefits of subsequent technologies may be limited in their abilities to equitably benefit men and women, and may exacerbate inequalities and the workload of women.
Considering gender issues in technology dissemination is equally important – this process needs to respond adequately to gender-specific limitations, roles, needs and opportunities to help increase adoption and impact.
To adequately strengthen the capacity of women producers, the initiative aims to first understand the roles of women and men in wheat systems – which may differ according to location, generation, and social status – and respond to their capacity building needs.
Rather than working with women in isolation - as most programs do - SARD-SC Wheat instead targets gender relations. This means engagement with husbands and male community leaders alongside women in order to generate benefits for all.
Capacity strengthening activities include targeted farmer field schools, ‘learning by doing’ opportunities, and the production of training modules for women-related tasks. The ultimate goal: women empowered to voice their opinions with the knowledge and skills to adopt the technologies required to deliver higher productivity gains.
Throughout the initiative opportunities will be identified continuously to integrate gender into its activities.
Priority activities identified over the course of the initiative include:
- Participatory varietal selection: involve women extension agents and male relatives to increase the approval and participation of women in varietal selection; collect sex-disaggregated data on farmer preferences; and hold farm trials hosted by women on their lands
- Increase the number of women participating in technology validation and on-farm demonstrations
- Increase the number of women who receive and disseminate new technologies
- Improve wheat seed multiplication by women: identify women entrepreneurs and involve them in seed production; and involve women extension agents and male relatives to increase the approval and participation of women in seed production
- Targeting women producers through farmer field schools: enhancing awareness of extension and development staff to solicit women’s participation in public training; and establish ‘learning by doing’ initiatives in women-only groups.