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Gender Synthesis of Canadian International Food Security Research Fund Projects


For the purpose of the gender synthesis of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), KIT Royal Tropical Institute used a bottom-up approach to develop typologies of gender strategies and gender outcomes of CIFSRF-funded projects.

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Making sense of gender integration in agriculture research for development

The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) was a CAD$124.5 million research for development programme implemented from 2009-2018 by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Global Affairs Canada. CIFSRF projects were funded in 24 countries and involved 20 Canadian and 40 Southern partner organisations. The programme’s aim was to improve food security and nutrition through applied, collaborative, results-oriented research that informs development practice.

To clarify how gender can be integrated into agriculture research for development (AR4D) and how AR4D can contribute to gender transformative change, in 2017, IDRC commissioned KIT to carry out a gender synthesis of CIFSRF. Two inter-related knowledge products were produced: (1) a lessons learned paper on integrating gender in research funding at the level of the CIFSRF program (download below), and (2) an analytical paper on gender integration strategies used by CIFSRF-funded projects and how they relate to gender outcomes achieved (download below).

Gender categories, from the bottom-up

KIT approached the synthesis by developing typologies from a bottom-up perspective. Categories of gender integration strategies and gender outcomes and their interrelationships were not predefined. They were built inductively from existing project data and used as building blocks for the gender synthesis’ analytical framework. This framework consisted of

  1. a gender integration typology and
  2. a gender outcomes typology.

Gender strategies and gender outcomes: key takeaways

There is no one-to-one link between one particular gender strategy and one particular gender outcome. Projects that use a variety of different gender strategies to address multiple, context-specific problems, combined with investment in sufficient resources and capacities, generally achieve more and higher level outcomes than projects that implement fewer strategies with fewer resources. Projects that explicitly acknowledge relationships between gender outcomes—and explore the conditions under which women can access and control resources—are more likely to achieve benefits and empower women than projects assuming that access to resources lead to or guarantee women’s control.


Services delivered

  • Applied research

    KIT Royal Tropical Institute addresses development challenges at local, regional and global levels through research that generates new insights and knowledge in our areas of expertise: health, sustainable economic development and gender.

  • Knowledge management

    Development and research organisations are often so focused on achieving their objectives that they find it difficult to create time to look back, analyse and learn from what they experienced and share their results.