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Mak Hosts Second Phase of GREAT Gender-responsive Legume Breeding Course

GREAT Gender-responsive Legume Breeding Course facilitators and participants from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mali, Ghana, Zambia, Senegal and Nigeria wave to the camera at the course opening on 14th January 2019 at Forest Cottages, Bukoto, Kampala Uganda

Makerere University is hosting the second phase (week 2) of the Gender-responsive Legume Breeding Course under the project titled, “Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT). GREAT is a 5-year (2015-2020) collaboration between Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 The five-day training (14th-18th January 2019) was jointly organized by Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and the School of Women and Gender Studies (SWGS).

The course follows Phase one (Week 1) of the Gender-responsive Legume Breeding Course held in July - August 2018 where participants covered gender concepts, design of their gender-responsive research projects, qualitative and quantitative gender analysis and designed field case studies which they went back with to their countries and implemented.

After week 1, research teams, using their field case studies, collected data from female and male legume farmers and value chain actors involved in their ongoing projects.

The research teams mainly social scientists and plant breeders are now back at Makerere University Kampala Uganda with collected household level data on their project focus crops for the second phase (Week 2) of the training.

Pariticipants conduct self-introductions during Day 1 of the GREAT Gender-responsive Legume Breeding Course

The second phase which attracted research teams from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mali, Ghana, Zambia, Senegal and Nigeria, was opened on 14th January 2019 by Makerere University Co-PI GREAT project-Associate Professor, Margaret N. Mangheni from the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies at Forest Cottages, Bukoto Kampala.

Assoc. Prof. Margaret Mangheni said the overall objective of the course was to strengthen the ability of researchers to design, conduct, and communicate gender-responsive research.
By the end of this training Mangheni said, participants should be able to articulate the concepts and principles of gender-responsive research and demonstrate positive practice and value for gender-responsive research. In addition, she said, participants should also be able to conceptualize, design and plan appropriate gender-responsive research, collect, analyze, interpret and integrate qualitative and quantitative sex disaggregated data and communicate gender-responsive research to a range of audiences.

She described this second phase as an important component of the GREAT course where participants will get the opportunity to analyze the data they collected from the field.

“After the participants had covered the theory, they designed field research breeding case studies which they implemented in their countries and the whole of this week; we shall be taking them through the process of data analysis. Unlike the usual data collection designs, breeders employed a mixed data design to collect both qualitative and quantitative data as a way of ensuring that the needs of both men and women farmers and other actors in the value chain are catered to,” Assoc. Prof. Mangheni noted.

Co-PI GREAT project-Associate Professor, Margaret N. Mangheni from the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies, CAES, addresses participants

The day’s program opened with a critical reflection on the process the research teams underwent when they were in the field, what stood out for each person as an individual, how they worked together as interdisciplinary teams of social scientists and breeders and the practical forms of collecting qualitative and quantitative data.

“This week we are going to give them skills on how to analyze this qualitative and quantitative gender data and how to integrate it into mixed method publications and how to communicate this research to their peers in the professional community and policy makers and ultimately how to influence their institutions on gender influence. At the end of the course they are going to be given certificates by Makerere and Cornell University”, The Co PI stated.

She said after week 2, there will be a Competitive small grant for the top 2 or 3 teams (about $10,000). Participants will be evaluated throughout the week on; final presentations, field case study reports as well as on the quality of qualitative and quantitative data. A template for final presentations and guidelines will be provided.

Winners will be announced after assessment of the field case study reports (about first week of March 2019). Field trainers will assist in completing work, and publication of outputs
In addition, two social scientists with an interest in further developing their gender research skills will be selected as GREAT Gender Specialist Fellows at the end of Week 2.

Course participants make poster presentations of their findings during the GREAT Gender-responsive Legume Breeding Course

Besides conference support that will be available to Fellows upon completion to present gender research results at international conferences, the PI said, there will be new grant opportunities including the opportunity to publish gender research in a peer reviewed journal, participation in the upcoming GREAT conference in 2020 and access to resources and information under the community of practice.

As trainers, Dr. Mangheni said they were excited with this team.

“I think this year we have quality work. From the reflections from the fields you can see that the social scientist and plant breeders were able to work together and that interdisciplinarity is what we want to achieve. We see that they were able to face issues of interdisciplinarity the way researchers encountered, navigated and were able to present quality data so, there is evidence of learning.” Mangheni appreciated.

The professor said GREAT Project   aims at application of the skills due to the many gender trainings conducted, and believes that they were contributing to the real equipping of candidates with skills that they can apply both in ongoing projects and the research they will be conducting later on. This is in line with the project vision to contribute towards gender inclusive agricultural research which meets the needs of men and women.

“So participants should use the acquired skills in their subsequent career and build onto what they have achieved, because we have only started them off on a journey of gender responsible research. The other one is to connect. We want to build a community of practice, a community of researchers and scientists who are passionate and skilled in conducting gender-responsive research. There is an institutional arrangement to ensure that they are linked. That connection is important so that we continue to exchange resources and to network and impact the research community”.

Teams of social scientists and plant breeders take time to reflect on their field experiences

For those who have not participated in the GREAT courses offered, the don said, they are continuing to advertise their courses and the vision even beyond this five-year project is that Makerere University will be a center of excellence in gender-responsive research and training.

Reflecting on what contributed to the success of data collection, what should have been done differently to get better results and lessons from the field, researchers credited the continuous support from the field trainers, availability of funds, teamwork and commitment from researchers. Regarding the best ways to conduct interdisciplinary field gender data collection, researchers proposed having clear sampling and data analysis strategies, involvement of men and women, appropriate timing, building rapport with respondents and open-mindedness among others.

About GREAT courses
This is the third year of implementation of the GREAT project activities. The project is now on its third Course. Course 1 was the training of Root tuber and banana breeders. Course 2 was on Cereal grains breeding and currently, Course 3 phase 2 is working with Legume breeders.

GREAT delivers courses to agricultural researchers from sub-Saharan Africa in the theory and practice of gender-responsive research, seeking to increase opportunities for equitable participation and the sharing of benefits from agricultural research and improve the outcomes for smallholder women farmers, entrepreneurs, and farmer organizations. By building and engaging communities of researchers equipped with the skills, knowledge, and support systems to develop and implement gender-responsive projects, GREAT advances gender-responsiveness as the norm and standard for agricultural research

Report compiled by;
Jane  Anyango and Esther Namitala
Communication Officers, CAES & SWGS

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