How GREAT-TL III training transformed me from being a conventional breeder to being a more gender responsive breeder

Participants working on an activity on key learnings at the GREAT TLIII Course. Photo: GREAT

Participants working on an activity on key learnings at the GREAT TL III Course. Photo: GREAT

My mindset prior to this training was that it will be either impossible or too difficult to relate specific breeding program or activities to desired societal goals, considering different market segments and agro-ecologies. However, the Gender Responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) course has generated impressive results  by converging social scientists, breeders and gender specialists to discuss and understand a common language. With the rigorous training we had this week, I have a better understanding of the need to integrate gender into our breeding activities from pre-breeding to variety release stages. This will really help me  come up with different crop varieties that will satisfy different market segments and increase the adoption rate of the future varieties.

This kind of workshop is going to transform African plant breeding programmes and make Africa more food secure. “ Food security” is assessed based on the availability, affordability and quality of food for both human and livestock. The quality of food relies on  particular crop varieties that address the different needs of various market segments.To develop such crop varieties, we need to fully adopt gender-responsive breeding that will help us to: recognize different needs, and assign roles and responsibilities to every member of the research team. This will positively enhance the  participation of men and women farmers in the process of crop variety development.

Other things that are became clear to me and which I consider to be the pillars of success in gender-responsive breeding include: choice and description of methods to include in collection and analysis of gender-disaggregated data, and an explanation of how the research results will help to reduce identified gender-based constraints related to the research focus. Careful design of research questions and/or proposal monitoring and evaluation indicators is required to be able to track changes in both women’s and men’s outcomes such as yields, participation in trainings,and  embedded gender differences that may inform better actions.

Author: Dr Umar Mohammad Lawan,  Plant Breeder,  Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria

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