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.

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 here), and (2) an analytical paper on gender integration strategies used by CIFSRF-funded projects and how they relate to gender outcomes achieved (download here).

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 take-aways

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.