The GREAT Project has opened its 4th training and General course on gender responsive plant breeding attracting more men and other participants beyond Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) is a 5 year (2015-2020) Makerere University (Uganda) and Cornell University (USA) joint certificate program in applied gender training for agricultural researchers funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
It offers skills in gender-responsive research tailored to assisting agricultural researchers to address gender issues along the design, implementation, evaluation, and communication pathway of their research projects.
At Makerere University, the project is jointly implemented by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and the School of Women and Gender Studies (SWGS). The project has been operational for the past three years.
Week 1 of the fourth training was officially opened by Makerere University’s GREAT Project PI Prof. Margaret Najjingo Mangheni at the Forest Cottages in Bukoto-Kampala on 22nd July 2019.
The training brought together social scientists and plant breeders from East, West and South Africa as well as Asia. The participants included research teams from India, Thailand, Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Prof. Mangheni said, the GREAT Project has been in operation for the last three years where three cohorts have been trained in different commodities.
“The first one was focusing on breeders doing work on root tubers and bananas. The second one was on cereal grains and the third one was on legumes.
This year, we have opened up so that we are working with breeding programs focusing on a whole range of crops not restricted to a commodity. But still, they are coming as an interdisciplinary team of social scientists working with a breeder on a breeding program.” The PI explained.
Prof. Mangheni said the goal of the trainings is to strengthen the capacity of these research teams to be able to conceptualize, design, implement and communicate gender responsive research within a breeding program.
This year, the course attracted more men than women with other participants coming from as far as India.
“Actually we are excited with this cohort because we have been able to broaden the reach of GREAT. Initially, we were targeting Sub-Saharan Africa but when we sent out the call for applications, it attracted a broad range beyond the anticipated target catchment area of SSA.
We have a team for this course from the World Vegetable Centre (Worldveg) South Asia/Central Asia based in Hyderabad India working on Mechanised Mungbean Harvesting in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan and they have come in to train alongside the SSA research counterparts,” Prof. Mangheni explained.
She said the GREAT Project is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation but the model had inbuilt models for sustainability so that progressively, the funding by the project decreases and the funding from participants increases.
“We hope that next year we shall run a course that is 100 percent funded by participants based on demand. This time, we have seen a significant increased level of funding from participants themselves, self-supported teams but we are also funding some participants from the project, so it is a mix”. Prof. Mangheni said.
In her key message Prof. Mangheni emphasized that Gender responsiveness needs to be the norm in terms of breeding.
“The emphasis we have is that when we breed varieties, we send them out there through the seed system and we need to be cautious about stakeholders and cultural context from which they come and; this cultural context shapes and positions men and women differently and if one is not paying due attention to these socio-cultural contexts, you may end up causing unintended harm,” Mangheni explained
The nine day training program focuses on different aspects including Gender concepts and why gender matters in Agriculture, What men and masculinity have to do with gender and agriculture, Why gender matters in plant breeding, Positionality, The science of gender and plant breeding, Principles of quantitative gender research,
Quantitative gender analysis plan, Setting breeding priorities, and Qualitative gender research methods, mixed methods and practical sessions on interviewing techniques and Field case studies among others.
The courses are being delivered by a team of over 15 facilitators from Makerere University’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), the School of Women and Gender studies, staff from collaborative research institution, and consultants from abroad.
“I am very excited to deliver the gender responsive course which is this time broadened in approach compared to the previous ones that we held focusing on specific commodities.
This time it is breeding of different types of commodities. We don’t want to leave any one behind in the breeding world. We have brought most people on board, those breeding tomatoes, beans, maize, cowpeas and animal breeding commodities.
This is our fourth year of the course and we hope we shall harness the opportunities and knowledge brought from the commodity-based training now to this broad spectrum,” Dr. Brenda Bonabaana from the CAES Department of Forestry Biodiversity and Tourism, CAES narrated.
She was proud of the high diversity of the current cohort saying, the course was becoming more demanded with more participants from West, South and East Africa than before.
Dr. Bonabaana who is also an Associate Coordinator of GREAT project will be delivering sessions on principles of qualitative and quantitative gender research with a focus on data collection methods and tools, session on women empowerment and also coordinating the mentorship program.
Delivering on gender concepts and why gender matters in agriculture, Dr Peace Musimenta from the School of Women and Gender Studies described gender as development issue adding that Human Development, if not engendered, is endangered.
She noted that women’s domination or exclusion from participation in agricultural opportunities raises gender issues in agriculture as a sector in as far as the division of labour, land ownership and control, decision making and agricultural marketing and irrigation are concerned.
“Agriculture is the backbone of many economies of the developing countries…if women had access to the same productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%.This could in turn reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17 % .
Women compared to men are 10 times likely to invest more of their earnings in their families’ well-being,” Dr. Musimenta asserted.
She said although many women depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, they face numerous gender based constraints or barriers such as unpaid care work, stereotypes, low education, discriminatory laws e.g on land, limited access to productive resources, limited mobility and inability to make independent decisions. She advised gender responsive researchers to strive for rigorous gender focused research.
“Aim at conceptual clarity, achieve greater precision in terminology, collect data carefully and accurately, avoid stereotypes; build the evidence base, and recognise that gender equality is good for communities, families, women and men, is key to achieving sustainable development,” Dr. Musimenta advised.
Speaking on Gender and Agricultural Development and what men and masculinities have got to do with it, Dr. Amon Ashaba Mwiine from the School of Women and Gender Studies said men are unavoidably involved in gender concerns including control of equitable resources, decision making and being custodians of traditional knowledge.
“Some forms of masculinities can be harmful to men and women and detrimental to development. The subordination of women and other men, the desire to control agricultural technologies, marketing, networks, information, proceeds and men withdrawing labor from agricultural production raises gender concerns”. Dr. Mwiine said.
The don emphasized the need for gender responsive researchers to involve men in their research programs to realize gender equitable development.
“Expectations, attributes, behaviors and roles associated with men can hinder or promote agricultural innovations. In your research outputs, technologies and interventions, consider men’s ways of living and relationships, Dr. Mwiine advised.
About the GREAT theme Four training
The course has three components: Week 1 of classroom work (22-31 July 2019) and Field work with support from Field trainers.
Week 2 of classroom work will take place on 13-17 January 2020. The course includes a variety of applied learning activities.
During Week 1, each participating team will complete a plan for data collection to be conducted in their field site for analysis during Week 2 of the course.
At the end of Week 1, participants are expected to come up with a Gender research question related to participants’ projects, a sampling framework and design, draft data collection methods and tools, a Research plan and timeline and a draft budget for the field research grant
During the Field Training Phase, participants are expected to come up with Qualitative and quantitative data sets to be analyzed during Week 2.
During Week 2 participants will write a Seed grant proposal. For teams selected for seed grants, a detailed timeline and budget for ensuing work will be submitted.
Funding for the fieldwork phase will be supported by teams’ research projects, except one team. The cost is about $1000.
Teams will develop the fieldwork concept and tools progressively during the course and the final product presented on Day 9 for trainers’ feedback. Teams will present a well thought out research plan covering the Brief contextual background and the Case Study description.
Competitive research grants of $5000-10,000 for each of the top three teams or individual participants will be available post Week 2.
Evaluation based on criteria will be shared during the course. Field trainers will support in completing seed grant research work, and publication of outputs.
Two social scientist who have demonstrated competency and have an interest in further developing their gender research skills will be selected as GREAT Gender Fellows (GGFs) at the end of Week 2: Other opportunities include professional mentorship and additional research funding and getting positions on the GREAT CoP Advisory Board.
Report compiled by:
Principal Communication Officer, CAES
Rotary International President visits Mak
Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.
At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted. President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.
President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims.
Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.
By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.
Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders
The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.
The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.
Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.
Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.
Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.
Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.
“Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.
The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.
The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.
At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.
“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.
On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.
Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.
“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.
Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.
Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.
She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.
Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.
She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.
On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”
At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.
She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.
“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.
Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.
“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.
Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.
He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”
Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.
Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.
Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”
Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.
“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.
The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”
She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.
The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.
Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal
The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25. For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.
Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.
Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY
Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG
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