ILRI’s Violet Barasa reports on recent Livestock and Fish CRP lessons from using a pilot gender capacity assessment methodology in Tanzania.
Debate on more in-depth analyses of institutional and individual capacities to deliver change and enhance development outcomes of resource-poor women and men and their families has been ongoing in different CGIAR institutes. Research institutions are prioritizing such analyses in the hope that this will help them strategize on their partnerships and ensure partners deliver on joint mandates agreed on in their Memoranda of Understandings (MOUs).
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)’s gender strategy recognizes the important role that partners play to jointly deliver outcomes. This is done by:
- Collaborating with partners in research to identify and work to eliminate constraints to participation of women and marginalized groups in value chain activities;
- Working with development partners, the private sector and other implementing organizations to increase benefits of participation especially for women.
The goal is to ensure that:
- Smallholder farmers have reliable and consistent access to quality inputs and services in order to efficiently achieve high milk productivity;
- Smallholder farmers have access to reliable, well-coordinated, and efficient dairy products marketing arrangements with resultant improvement in household income and livelihoods;
- Poor consumers have improved access to quality, safe, and nutritious dairy products at affordable prices to increase per capita consumption of the dairy products
The CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish has a gender strategy that aims to “increase gender capacity within CGIAR centers, partner organizations and value chain actors to diagnose and overcome gender based constraints within value chains”. The focus is on improving incomes and employment and on stimulating local level public private partnership models and multi-stakeholder partnership initiatives.
Between 1-8 December 2014, ILRI’s staff (in collaboration with Transition International, a Dutch consultancy organization) were in Tanzania to meet partner institutions and individual colleagues in the Maziwa Zaidi dairy value chain project to pilot a gender capacity assessment methodology with seven partners.
The meetings were held with the Tanzania Livestock Research Institute, FAIDA MALI, Local Government Authorities (LGAs) including District Dairy Boards, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Heifer International, and Tanzania Dairy Board which all work with ILRI to improve milk production and expand markets for smallholder dairy farmers.
Why Capacity Assessments?
A gender capacity assessment is important to help identify gaps within a) institutions, b) organizations and c) individuals to help address gender inequalities.
Findings derived from any assessment should lead to the design of capacity development response strategies across the above mentioned three strata.
Six core gender capacities are identified in ILRI”s methodology as key requirements to design and implement gender responsive activities:
- Gender analysis and strategic planning: How much is gender analysis done and whether this inform strategic planning within organizations
- Gender responsive programming, budgeting and implementation: Are gender issues taken into consideration in program implementation and service delivery? Are gender issues researched? Research can be done on gender issues in value chains (strategic gender research); gender can also be mainstreamed into research.
- Knowledge management and gender responsive M&E: The capacity to collect and analyze sex disaggregated and gender equality data, to monitor and to report on gender responsive programming
- Effective partnerships and advocacy on promoting gender equality: The capacity to build coalitions, influence government and external partners, and to advocate for women’s rights
- Gender and leadership: The commitment and vision towards gender equality and women’s rights; women’s leadership and power to take decisions.
- Innovation in gender responsive approaches: Innovative and experimental approaches for impact in women’s empowerment (from accommodating to transformative), capacity to search for, absorb and share information, knowledge and resources
Capacity assessment is an analysis of desired capacities or skills against existing capacities. It generates an understanding of capacity assets and needs that can serve as input to formulate a capacity development response that addresses those capacities that could be strengthened, and optimizes existing capacities that are already strong and well founded. It can also set the baseline for continuous monitoring and evaluation of progress against relevant indicators, and help create a solid foundation for long-term planning, implementation and sustainable results.
In Tanzania, seven focus group discussions were conducted, respectively in Lushoto (3), in Dar es Salaam (3) and in Morogoro(1). These discussions were guided by an in-depth questionnaire survey instruments to stimulate dialogue and to enable data collection on:
- Current core gender capacities of organizations and individuals within those organizations;
- Key gender capacities individual staff highlighted as priority areas to address;
- Least developed gender capacities, and how to address the gaps.
Representatives from partner organizations were given specially-designed score sheets with ratings on each of the aforementioned six core capacities and were guided through a self-assessment on each. It was interesting to see the honesty with which they rated themselves, acknowledging a lack of capacity in many areas. One director remarked:
we thought we did integrate gender in our work but after taking us through this assessment, we realize how poorly we are faring on this.
My own learning going through this assessment process showed that:
- The overall awareness of the partner organizations about gender concept still focuses on the traditional gendered division of labour and ownership notions where women do housework and men manage livestock and its returns. This outlook needs to shift as currently women are overburdened with dairy livestock process-based activities (feeding animals, milking, and cleaning etc.) but are excluded from decision making and benefits accrued from sale of milk and livestock, a situation that further leads to their marginalization.
- At the government, institutional level, there is a national gender strategy in place and there are gender responsive policies in the dairy livestock sector. Mainstreaming gender in all sectoral policies, programs and strategies is highlighted by this strategy.
However, respondents illuminated that these are rarely implemented. In my opinion it is vital that the government of Tanzania commits resources towards implementation of the policies on gender both at national and grassroots levels, including in dairy sector. One way of doing this could be to provide incentives including performance-based incentives to motivate staff and partners to integrate gender into their work.
Some recommendations made by partners include needs and demands for:
- Gender analysis training, with specific tools to do gender sensitive value chain analysis, activity mapping and access and control profiles, monitoring gender related changes for all the staff members;
- Ensuring that gender capacities are shared within the organization and do not remain the responsibility of gender specialist/s only;
- Monitoring and evaluation of intra-household level income distribution, ownership levels of livestock, and power and decision-making processes;
- Having job description for staff members that includes gender responsive objectives;
- Periodic reporting on gender equality indicators.
ILRI is committed to further pilot and roll out the gender capacity assessments. In the next few months ILRI will conduct similar assessments in the Livestock and Fish Program value chains in Uganda, Nicaragua and Ethiopia.
Article contributed by Violet Barasa, Research Technician, ILRI Livelihoods, Gender and Impact program