Toolbox with gender-sensitive research methods

Submitted by Cecilia Schubert 27th October 2014 9:47
544e14bf175694071115838-2a3bf018a8-o - climate adaptation.

A Gender and Inclusion Toolbox supporting integration of gender and social perspectives in climate research and program development was released in late 2014 and is available for download. The toolbox is the result of a long-term partnership between the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and CARE International.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has in addition provided considerable contributions that ensures a high-quality product that keeps in line what it is trying to achieve: represent the knowledge, experiences and analyses of multiple actors.

Refining existing gender-sensitive methods and tools

The participatory toolbox builds on the previously released Gender and Climate Change Research in Agriculture and Food Security for Rural Development training guide produced by FAO and CCAFS in 2012, and later updated and translated into Spanish and French in 2013. The new toolbox cannot replace it, but instead contributes with additional participatory tools and methods and a focus on social learning approaches.

We realized that the key gender-questions needed to be updated, and this time co-defined with local partners that are working closely with farmers – both women and men. We believe the rigorous testing in various contexts should make the modules presented highly useful, not just to researchers but development partners trying to figure out how to best support gender transformative approaches, said Patti Kristjanson, CCAFS Gender Research Leader and Senior Scientists at World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).   

The participatory tools have been tested in Western Kenya through assistance from ICRAF, and Northern Ghana through the Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) with CARE International. Based on results from each session, the tools have been refined and reworked. The ambition was to keep the tools practical, while supporting meaningful gender-research in the context of climate change and agriculture.

Building the needed capacity to conduct gender and social inclusion research

The manual focuses on increasing the research capacity, skills and knowledge of its users, including non-governmental organisations, research for development programs, researchers and rural development actors engaging in climate change and agriculture work.

Capacity to engage in a sensitive way is critical but often lacking among development and research practitioners. CARE International’s contribution to this manual seeks to help fill this gap by providing some of our tried and tested approaches to gender and power analysis across different contexts, said Fiona Percy, Coordinator of the ALP porgramme for Africa within CARE International.  

These sessions have also included capacity building of the various test-groups. The toolbox will continue to be tested throughout CCAFS research sites with partners like the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in the Trifinio biosphere in Guatemala and CCAFS research sites in Vietnam later this year.

The manual should be viewed as a living document that will be kept relevant by continuous input and feedback from practitioners using the methods in their work.