Together with other CGIAR Centers, ICARDA is increasing its support for women as more men relocate to cities and more studies are conducted on gender inequalities and the potential of women in agriculture. We emphasize research that improves women’s access to land, water, seeds, credit, knowledge, and innovation. Our work empowers women via capacity building that allows them to be more effective leaders and change agents. Through agricultural diversification, intensification, and value addition, we also help them engage in more lucrative economic pursuits. We push for better pay and working conditions and the elimination of gender inequity. We also look at potential formal and informal institutional structures that strengthen women’s voices and influence in dryland communities and promote proven agricultural technology.
The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning team nurtured a partnership between ICARDA, the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute, and the beekeeping data company HiveTracks, under the project ‘Al-Driven Climate-Smart Beekeeping for Women Advisory and Extension,’ funded by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). The initiative aims to improve beekeeper hive monitoring and management, increase the economic activities of women beekeepers, and allow beekeeping experts and extension workers to remotely manage beekeeping practices and bee health. This project will adapt and launch a hive management app for beekeepers in Lebanon, focusing on women, and will develop a new web application for extension workers and researchers that enables improved engagement with beekeepers and monitoring of bee health. To localize and pilot this app in Ethiopia and Uzbekistan, ICARDA has received funds from the German Federal Foreign Office and is partnering with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, the Holeta Bee Research Centre, and HiveTracks.
In 2021, ICARDA’s Dr. Dina Najjar from the Social Economy and Policies team contributed an evidence explainer to the CGIAR Gender Platform. The explainer discusses how the increasing migration of people out of the world’s dryland areas affects women’s roles in agriculture and related activities, in particular their productivity and gender equity. It also encourages social and economic policy interventions to leverage the increasing participation of women in dryland agriculture and improve women’s livelihoods.
To help Tunisian female farmers, three ICARDA scientists—Drs. Mina Devkota, Zied Idoudi, and Dina Najjar—introduced a user-friendly and cost-effective innovation that saves time and reduces the number of seeds needed. The Handheld Precision Spreader (HPS) spreads seeds and fertilizers evenly, resulting in 20 percent higher biomass yields in forage crops than manual broadcasting. The HPS also allows farmers to spray chemical fertilizers without their skin being in contact with the product, reducing health concerns. ICARDA has imported and distributed 25 of the low-cost spreaders with national partners and provided technical guidance to farmers during the 2020-2021 cropping season. Farmers reported that the machine is easy to handle, reduces labor, and slashes costs by 40 percent—saving time spent on broadcasting. The development of the HPS was supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique de Tunisie, and the Office d’Elevage et des Paturages Tunisie.