The African Chicken Genetics Gains (ACGG) programme aims to empower women farmers. After two years of implementation, and insufficient progress in this area, the programme asked KIT Royal Tropical Institute 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. It aims 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 programme planning and implementation. This was threatening program outcomes. Earlier research suggested that wherever chicken production was intensified or commercialised it resulted in the marginalisation 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 programme but how.
Gender Strategy for ACCG
In October 2016, ACGG and ILRI hired KIT to lead a one-year, programme-wide process of co-developing an ACGG gender strategy. As part of this process, KIT visited the three countries and – with programme staff and partners – unpacked the programme’s Theory of Change from a gender perspective. KIT also reviewed the programme’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).
Understanding women’s empowerment in ACGG
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 programme. It specifies goals, prioritises action areas, and clarifies the responsibilities of program staff. In addition, KIT produced detailed programme 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”