News All ILSSI technical workshops in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Ghana to address gender issues in small-scale irrigation

undefinedOn March 9-10, 2016, the first in a series of Feed the Future ILSSI workshops to strengthen capacity on gender and water was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (agenda, pdf), convened by the International Food Policy Research Institute, the International Water Management Institute, and the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Over 45 participants from the Ethiopian government, NGOs, and research institutes joined for two days of interactive presentations, trainings, and discussion on gender issues in agricultural water management. Workshop materials, including presentations and videos, can be accessed here (Day 1 and Day 2).

The workshop series was motivated by the fact that control over water is essential for productive agriculture, but we have limited knowledge about whether women’s water needs are being met. ILSSI is addressing this knowledge gap, through research and capacity building-for-development in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana to identify the technological, economic, and cultural factors limiting women’s ability to irrigate.  

The workshop involved presentations from the Women’s Affairs Directorate in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Agricultural Transformation Agency, and IFPRI describing the state of knowledge on women’s access to water and the benefits of gender equality in water. A dozen NGOs and researchers shared case studies on their work overcoming barriers to women’s access to water. Presenters pointed out that women do have distinct needs that are not being met, and a one-size-fits all irrigation promotion policy is insufficient to achieve national gender equality, food security, and climate resilience goals. (Photo Credits: Apollo Habtamu/IWMI )

Building on early findings from qualitative and quantitative research in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania, the ILSSI team is developing a diagnostic checklist that water-related interventions can draw on to identify the key factors limiting women’s control over water. This instrument is being further refined through these workshops. 

In the Ethiopia workshop, participants practiced using the checklist to apply gender concepts to the case study discussions. Participants expressed interest in using the checklist to promote dialogue with communities about solutions to gendered water needs and proposed using the checklist to inform Ministry of Agriculture gender mainstreaming guidelines. 

Upcoming workshops in Ghana (April 13-14) and Tanzania (April 20-21) will carry forward this dialogue and forge new networks of government agents and practitioners working at the interface of gender and irrigation. If you work in these countries and would like more information about these workshops, please contact Sophie Theis from IFPRI.