Exploring strategies and collaborations to increase participation of women throughout the chickpea value chain in Ethiopia


Potential areas of collaboration with various partners to help Ethiopian women overcome restricting cultural norms and enhance their participation in agronomic activities, were discussed at a feedback session of an ongoing gender study.

The qualitative study designed by the gender team investigated the factors responsible for women not attending the training programs. A major challenge faced by the chickpea breeding team in Ethiopia has been the low participation of women in the Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS) process. When farmers are invited to participate in agronomic training activities, women farmers do not attend the meetings and therefore get excluded from the subsequent steps of training in the PVS process. Even when the men are invited to attend the training with their wives, women don’t show up for the trainings. The main reason for this being the cultural norms and practices that restricted women’s activities outside the home.

This study is a major research milestone for ICRISAT’s gender work in Ethiopia and was carried out in collaboration with the Debre-Zeit Agricultural Research Center (DZARC). Qualitative data was collected in November- December 2015. The feedback session with stakeholders in Ethiopia was held on 13 April to share the study methodology and the results. The discussion covered the following main areas of the study as well as future direction.

  • Whether results obtained from the study were rigorous, if the methodology followed was satisfactory and if they represented the real situation of the Ethiopian women’s engagement with agricultural training agents;
  • What other data/studies would complement the current study;
  • Possible transformational gender interventions/models that can be designed and tested to enhance women’s participation in the chickpea value chain in Ethiopia;
  • Initiate discussions on the potential collaborative works with a Government University (University of Haramaya) for implementing future gender research activities in Ethiopia.

Participants included partners from National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), the DZARC team, working on chickpea; representative from the University of Haramaya, independent qualitative researchers working with the team as well as the management and researchers from ICRISAT-Ethiopia.


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