The African Chicken Genetics Gains (ACGG) program aims to empower women farmers. After two years of implementation, and insufficient progress in this area, the program asked KIT Royal Tropical to develop a gender strategy.
ACCG is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi. It covers Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania and is a public-private partnership with universities and national research institutes to develop new chicken breeds. The project supports small farmers – especially women – by increasing the productivity of their chicken. The long term goal is to alleviate poverty, improve nutrition and empower women.
Women’s empowerment was part of the original design of ACGG. However, gender concerns were not integrated into program planning and implementation. This was threatening program outcomes. Earlier research suggested that wherever chicken production was intensified or commercialized it resulted in the marginalization of women in favour of men. Half-way through the program’s life, the key question for ACGG was not whether to integrate gender into the program but how.
Gender Strategy for ACCG
In October 2016, ACGG and ILRI hired KIT to lead a one-year, program-wide process of co-developing an ACGG gender strategy. As part of this process, KIT visited the three program countries and – with program staff and partners – unpacked the program’s Theory of Change from a gender perspective. KIT also reviewed the program’s baseline reports and research tools, and supported staff to pilot key ideas generated during the country visits. This involved trialing ideas of increasing women’s representation in the national innovation platforms (Ethiopia), testing a women empowerment monitoring tool (Tanzania), and generating gender analysis data from community meetings (Nigeria).
The gender strategy provides the basis for a common understanding in ACGG of what women’s empowerment and gender integration means in the context of the program. It specifies goals, prioritizes action areas, and clarifies the responsibilities of program staff. In addition, KIT produced detailed program and country level implementation plans as well as a gender strategy monitoring framework to guide the strategy’s implementation.
“Initially women’s empowerment wasn't really clear, we didn't know how we would achieve this - through your commitment, sharing, and refining the gender strategy we are now catching up on gender knowledge and today we are getting the real picture of gender integration”
“We mentioned gender in all parts of the [original program] proposal document and we were doing a bit here and there but now we have a road map that we need to start implementing”