Gender transformative approaches in nutrition and aquatic agricultural interventions by Afrina Choudhury,Paula Kantor and Miranda Morgan,WorldFish

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  • ENOUGH for sustained livelihood outcomes and for the more equitable gender relations that we contend underlie sustained development outcomes?
  • Formative study to help guide emerging AQ interventions in WorldFish – which are trying to integrate or involve women in these technologies…what can we learn to do this better?
    WorldFish is taking a bold step in doing this, and this study highlights the complexity of what field staff are having to encounter
    In order to do it appropriately, must challenge assumptions that targeting or involving women automatically leads to benefits for women or gender relations
    Furthermore – how to sustain any changes or benefits for women?
  • We try to involve or target women but women do not use the technologies in a vacuum – without influences from other actors and institutions.
    Power relations – and specifically gender power relations – at every level affect the extent to which women can actually use and benefit from these innovations.
  • Involve or target women
    Targeting women to receive assets can be a first step in the process of women actually using and deciding on AQ
    Women have varying levels of responsibility and decision-making power relative to the husbands, fathers, or other males in the household
    In one village, men and women say that the husband and wives do everything equally (joint responsibility); men’s and women’s labour can complement each other
    In another village, men do the work. The technology is in their wife’s names only.
    Who goes to training
    Women in Barisal, in her 20’s, primary education – attended pond training: “My husband also doesn’t like all this. He also doesn’t like that I went to the meeting. The woman should stay at home. Fish farming is done by the men… I stopped farming fish. It was difficult for me to go the training. I have a small child, I have household work … Again there are outside men at the training. They see us … I didn’t go any more after those 3-4 days. I didn’t go anymore because I have hassles here.” (from husband, in-laws)
    Training can affect the relationships
    - Women learn to do tasks that men previously did – can achieve a new status (with roles and responsibilities) in productive activities (ESP POND)
    There is a short gender module in the training that may help women to increase their decision-making in the household (though this still needs to be researched)
    Motahar – him and his daughter-in-law were chosen as the pond demonstration farmer in Khulna – he is over 70 years old: “it’s easy, she [daughter-in-law] can do everything. Even if I am not home for 10 days she can look after everything. She is also sufficient alone in doing the agricultural work. She doesn’t need me on many occasions.”
    However, training can also increase women’s workload. Loss of leisure or rest time. Only women’s workload is increasing. Some women like the new livelihood opportunity so they do not mind. Others wish their husbands would help them more.
    One woman (pond adopter in Khulna in her 30’s with secondary education): “[Husbands say,] ‘you have learnt everything, fish farming along with vegetable farming, we (husbands) don’t have to do anything, you all can do’. Saying this, they leave it to us. Now [because of] training I am in another hassle, now the husband’s don’t do, we have to do.”
    Who controls money or benefits
    In Khulna cage site, both men and women said that women controlled the money and profits from the cage more than men. One husband (in his 40’s) said: “it’s her money. I don’t have any interest in that money. It is not my concern what she does with that money”. Another husband said he considered it as his wife’s own income and she could spend it any way she wanted.
    In one very poor household in Barisal, the woman was the primary financial manager. The husband said that he felt it is good for women to have wealth and that his wife managed all the money and kept the earnings.
    However, for others in Barisal, many of the women and their husbands said it was mainly the men who made decisions about the money. One man said “even if the money stays in their hands, we are the ones who spend it…they don’t spend anything. They bring the money and put it in our hands.”
  • Strong relationships
    In cage village in Khulna, the technology was disseminated to members of an existing women’s group; who was strong and people trusted, both women and men.
    Shikha Boiragi (cage adopter, Khulna, in 20’s, secondary education):
    “we decided together that we will all release some fish in a pond and breed them there for some time and then from there we will give fish to everyone”
    Groups can help to pool financial resources or labor
    Shah Alam (husband in 40s, in Barisal, cage): “If I’m away, [my wife] can call our neighbours, like my brother’s wife. That is why this project was kept jointly”
    Poor group dynamics
    Unequal allocation of work among women cage adopters. In one village, one woman (Barisal, in her 20’s, primary education) said she felt that she did more work than everyone else:
    “When doing it together, someone does more. The person’s house that the food is in, he gives food on two extra days. The person who doesn’t have the food in his house, he doesn’t remember, he stays busy in other work. And if each one is on his own, they will remember about the work, that, the work of looking after the fish has to be done first. Otherwise one sits in expectation of the other.”
    Lack of trust makes it difficult to make decisions – especially financial decisions – at the group level. Particularly around how much to re-invest and how much to spend on personal expenses.
    Sharing knowledge
    The demonstration farmer model is a way to have a ‘Learning Center’ in the village and encourage intra-community knowledge sharing. A certain percentage of assets are given to a demonstration farming HOUSEHOLD, and the other farmers can learn from them. The success of this though depends on the process and selection criteria of the farmer, and how good they are at sharing the knowledge. And whether the rest of the community will learn from them. Also, this is a technology focused trial, so need to show how the pond can be successful. There are a lot depending on the performance of the pond AND the demo farmer – so this is difficult
    One woman pond demo farmer (in her 40’s, from Barisal) said she liked to use the new management practices and was able to improve her life from it. However, she had some challenges in sharing knowledge:
    “They don’t even come close to us. That isn’t the fault of World Fish. They taught them, if there is anyone among you more knowledgeable, you can also let them know, the experience will increase. But they don’t listen to much. They don’t come…. Will they give value to my words? Everyone eats their own rice. I also don’t go to say anything to them. They also don’t come near me.”
    Must be aware of social sensitivities –research question – why would other women not want to learn from her? Must investigate further.
    Inequality between demonstration farmer and other farmers (who do not receive inputs) can contribute to this. Women who attended the pond trianing but did not receive inputs said they were sad or upset that they didn’t receive anything and the demo farmer did.
    Woman who attended pond training in Khulna: “if anyone fails in any paper in an exam then how does the heart feel and this fish that [the demonstration farmer] got, how does her heart feel and us who didn’t get the fish, how do our hearts feel?...my husband also says, you go swaying to the meeting and come back swaying, only Anwar fisherman’s wife got the fish…”
    THIS HAS IMPLICATIONS
    “my husband prohibited me from going to the [next] meeting. ‘You have been going to the meeting for so many days but they don’t give you anything’. That is why the husband says it’s bad or forbids me”
    Another woman from the same village said: “my husband doesn’t help me with my work anymore … my husband says they don’t give you anything in your meeting”
  • Trade-offs in testing
    There may be a trade-off between testing the feasibility of a new AQ technology and decreasing poverty. For example, choosing an appropriate pond to test and demonstrate technologies may mean choosing a household that is not poor
    Even in the same village in Khulna, pond adopters had different opinions. One man said he thought they provided training to the right people, or the poor people: “From the 25 of us in this group they didn’t select the rich people and give it. All of us are poor. This woman (field staff) is intelligent; she went from home to home and selected the best people. All of them are hard core poor.”
    But one woman said the poor who really could have benefitted from getting some kind of input from WorldFish: “Those who can afford to release fish worth 1000/2000 taka, they were given fish and those who do not have the ability to release fish, they weren’t given fish. That’s why i say that the poor constantly have bear kicks….our space is small that is why we didn’t get fish”
    Managing expectations
    - Even if the project is very clear and transparent about what resources will be provided and for who, some people at the village-level seemed confused and disappointed if they did not receive assets.
    Facilitating independent use
    Cages were introduced as an adaptive research trial so project officers had to provide strong technical support and decision-making. Important to think through what kind of skills and experience people will need when it is up to them to manage the technologies on their own – financial training? Negotiation skills training for women?
    Do some technologies lend better to being used without the support of extension officers? Are cages more complicated than the pond polyculture?
    In Khulna, women who attended the pond training said they were specifically encouraged NOT to depend on them, they said: don’t stay reliant on us
  • POINT 3 (for audience): these technical approaches work within the existing social context and inequities instead of seeking to change those that stop poor women and men from reaching their potential
    Note to Afrina: POINT 4: is a GTA…moving you to the next slide on what this type of gender integration, that seeks social change, would look like… so a GTA is a way to integrate gender that seeks to act upon the social context and the ways in which it/inequalities within it hinder poor women’s and men’s abilities to define and achieve development goals… limit what they feel they can aspire to be
  • Design and test approaches that integrate technical interventions and social change efforts…AAS research program… including a focus on our own organization culture and capacities
  • No one GTA; nor one initiative should operate alone
    Gender power relations operate across actors and scales so ‘portfolio’ of initiatives must do the same to foster change in attitudes, norms and behaviors…

Transcript

  • 1. Gender transformative approaches in nutrition and aquatic agricultural interventions Workshop on “Inspiring Change: Institutionalizing Gender in Nutrition and Agriculture Interventions” 9 March 2014 Afrina Choudhury Paula Kantor and Miranda Morgan, WorldFish
  • 2. Contents: Examples of two women-targeted technologies Study findings that substantiate the need for Gender Transformative Approaches (GTA) What are Gender Transformative Approaches (GTAs), conceptually and practically?
  • 3. Women targeted technologies: two examples
  • 4. CAGES Why women targeted? NUTRITION CLOSE TO HOME FOR EASY ACCESS (time and labor burden, mobility and access constraints ) INCOME OPPORTUNITY AS UNDERUTILISED RESOURCE PUT INTO PRODUCTIVE USE NO NEED FOR OWNERSHIP OF COMMON WATER BODIES CAGE FISH INCREASE CONSUMPTION OPTIONS WOMEN ARE OFTEN IN CHARGE OF HH CONSUMPTION DECISIONS WORLDFISH ADAPTIVE RESEARCH <FISH COMPONENTS>
  • 5. POND POLYCULTUR E Why women targeted? NUTRITION CLOSE TO HOME FOR EASY ACCESS (time and labor burden, mobility and access constraints) MORE CONTROL OVER HOMESTEAD ASSETS INCOME OPPORTUNITY FROM AN UNDERUTILISED RESOURCE (without hindering other usage) SMALL FISH CAN BE GROWN WITH LARGE FISH WITHOUT MUCH EXTRA COST SMALL FISH CAN BE MULTIHARVESTED CONSUMPTION CONCERNS OVER RETURNS FOR INVESTMENT COMBATED SMALL FISH HIGH IN MICRO-NUTRIENTS NUTRITIOUS VEGETABLES CAN BE GROWN ON DYKES WORLDFISH ADAPTIVE RESEARCH <FISH COMPONENTS>
  • 6. Is targeting women with technologies enough? Even when we do: • Recognize and respond to the specific needs and realities of men and women based on their existing roles and responsibilities • Build capacity and skills of women • Link them to markets • Try to build them up as Demonstration farmers and leaders • Provide credit access, etc Does targeting or involving women automatically lead to benefits for women or more equitable gender relations? Furthermore – how do we sustain any positive changes and benefits for women and their families?
  • 7. Recently conducted study examines these notions
  • 8. Introduction to research study Rationale: Research on agriculture and aquaculture technologies focuses on testing and refining them to increase output. Need to understand how the social and gender relations in a local context shape how women and men adopt, use and adapt these technologies. Such knowledge will help to design more appropriate technologies and dissemination strategies that lead to independent uptake, sustained use and equitable development outcomes Research question: How do gender relations shape the uptake and use of aquaculture technologies?
  • 9. Study findings: Technology users are embedded in a range of relationships
  • 10. Relationships inside household • Want to involve or target women but this requires the whole household to consent to attend training, provide inputs and investment, provide labor time • Attending training can affect these relationships E.g. Going to the training and taking on new roles can create tension within HH “My husband also doesn’t like all this. He also doesn’t like that I went to the meeting. The woman should stay at home. Fish farming is done by the men…” – Training affects the type of work women are perceived to be able to do – Training affects how much work women do E.g. Training can increase workload One woman (pond adopter in Khulna in her 30’s with secondary education): “[Husbands say,] ‘you have learnt everything, fish farming along with vegetable farming. We (husbands) don’t have to do anything, you all can do’. Saying this, they leave it to us. Now [because of] training I am in another hassle, now the husband’s don’t do, we have to do.” • Household relationships can affect who controls the money and benefits “Even if the money stays in their hands, we are the ones who spend it…they don’t spend anything. They bring the money and put it in our hands.” (male respondent, Barisal)
  • 11. Relationships among group • Both benefits and drawbacks from a group – Strong relationships help to foster technology use and benefit, especially for women E.g. Groups can help to pool financial resources or labor “If I’m away, [my wife] can call our neighbours, like my brother’s wife. That is why this project was kept jointly” (male respondent, Barisal) – Lack of trust and certain power dynamics can affect the potential for pooling resources and sharing knowledge E.g. Unequal allocation of work among women cage adopters, leads to problem of free riding and feeling of unfairness. In a village in Barisal, one woman in her 20’s said she felt that she did more work than everyone else: “When doing it together, someone does more. The person’s house that the food is in, he gives food on two extra days. The person who doesn’t have the food in his house, he doesn’t remember, he stays busy in other work. And if each one is on his own, they will remember about the work, that, the work of looking after the fish has to be done first. Otherwise one sits in expectation of the other.” (Female respondent, Barisal)
  • 12. Inequalities within the community can lead to problems within households E.g. Inequality between demonstration farmer (who gets inputs) and other farmers (who do not receive inputs) can contribute to this and lead to disheartenment “If anyone fails in any paper in an exam then how does the heart feel and this fish that [the demonstration farmer] got, how does her heart feel and us who didn’t get the fish, how do our hearts feel?...my husband also says, you go swaying to the meeting and come back swaying, only Anwar fisherman’s wife got the fish…” This has implications “My husband prohibited me from going to the [next] meeting. ‘You have been going to the meeting for so many days but they don’t give you anything’. That is why the husband says it’s bad or forbids me” (female respondent, Khulna) Another woman from the same village said: “my husband doesn’t help me with my work anymore … my husband says they don’t give you anything in your meeting”
  • 13. • Potential trade-offs in testing technologies: between testing the feasibility of a new AQ technology and decreasing poverty. E.g. choosing an appropriate pond to test and demonstrate technologies may mean choosing a household that is not poor “Those who can afford to release fish worth 1000/2000 taka, they were given fish and those who do not have the ability to release fish, they weren’t given fish. That’s why i say that the poor constantly have bear kicks….our space is small that is why we didn’t get fish” • Managing expectations • Facilitating independent use: What processes? What technologies? What additional skills? Relationships outside village
  • 14. The need for Gender Transformativ e Approaches
  • 15. Why gender transformative? • Practice lagging behind understanding • ‘empowerment lite’ does not lead to real and sustained change • Technical approaches/gap filling (e.g. delivering technologies to women) – can accept/reinforce inequity • Gender integration without social change limits sustainability of impacts “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. ……so we must think and act anew” Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865
  • 16. Key features of Gender Transformative Approach • Understands people and social diversity in their context • Engages with both women and men • Addresses unequal power relations • Enables critical learning, reflection & questioning • Fosters dynamic & multi- scale change processes
  • 17. Gender transformative research Integrates efforts to redress gender disparities in resources, markets and technologies with complementary actions to address underlying social norms and power relations
  • 18. GTA mechanisms: plans and possibilities • Household Approaches to foster more equitable intra- household decision making & relationships • Participatory Action Research, experiential learning to build new capacities and recognition of those capacities • Technology training approaches that integrate social issue awareness (e.g.: HKI manual) • Strategic gender initiatives to foster change in norms, attitudes and practices for positive development outcomes (e.g. Communications for social change campaigns targeting different groups) • Supporting collective action and networks
  • 19. Thank you! Research for development initiatives whose goal is to typically fill “gender gaps” and focus “…on the separate characteristics of women and men rather than on the way that social institutions work together to create and maintain advantages and disadvantages” are highly problematic and fail to sustainably reduce gaps in poverty between women and men (Okali 2011)