GOB_tarikua_woldetsadick.jpg© CTA

Women clearly have a paramount role in agriculture in ACP countries, but they are often held back due to a lack of adequate access to information. How can CTA make a difference? Tarikua Woldetsadick, who is in charge of CTA’s gender strategy, explains.

CTA has revised its 2003 Gender Strategy. What are its main recommendations?

CTA’s revised 2014 Strategy for Gender is designed to take the Centre into its new strategic period from 2015 and beyond. CTA is at the forefront of developments in the field of agriculture, ICTs and knowledge, and key to every recommendation in the strategy is that empowerment is what is most crucial to ACP women today. At the heart of the strategy is the recognition that by directly and indirectly targeting smallholders in ACP countries, CTA, through its mandate and activities, has always embraced women as a key part of its beneficiaries. This strategy calls for an ‘en-gendering’ of CTA’s impact by strengthening existing women-specific products and by ensuring that all its activities, products and services are based on solid gender analysis.

The strategy states that ”Women are the backbone of the rural economy. Yet they access only a fraction of productive resources such as land, credit, inputs, agricultural training and ICTs compared to men.” What difference will CTA make?

CTA is a knowledge organisation with comparative advantages including access to ACP policymakers and its pioneering role in promoting ICTs as key to agricultural and rural development. With its GenArdis project, for example, CTA was the first to show that ICTs are not gender neutral. The current body of knowledge on the impact of ICTs in empowering ACP women in agriculture, both in terms of policymaking and in agri-value chains development, is still very weak. One of the ways that CTA can contribute is by filling this knowledge gap, which will in turn enable well informed and sustainable interventions to be implemented together with our partners.

Empowerment of ACP women in agriculture requires the engagement of ACP governments and policymakers. What actions does CTA plan in this regard? Will ACP women organisations be involved?

One of the ways CTA will engage ACP agricultural and rural development policymakers is by providing the evidence required to make policies that empower women. Firstly, there is a need to generate that evidence. Value chains analysis, capacity building, specific research and CTA’s work on science, technology and innovations are but a few of the mechanisms that CTA uses to generate such evidence. Secondly, this evidence needs to be promoted, up-scaled and used, not least because CTA already promotes multi-stakeholder policy processes, and this cannot happen without the involvement of ACP women’s organisations. This includes the recognition of ACP women and their representative organisations as policy actors in their own right. It also involves strengthening their capacity to make their voices heard.

How will the impact of this new strategy be evaluated?

CTA’s plan is firstly to facilitate and maximise impact. CTA staff will be provided with specific tools and support to strengthen the gender analysis of their interventions. The plan includes clear progress markers and targets for each project cycle management step to enable them to translate the ‘new en-gendered CTA impact pathway’ into concrete actions. Coupled with CTA’s new partnerships and regional strategies, this will help with regular monitoring as well as context specific project design. Since CTA cannot bring about impact in isolation from its partners, CTA has a unique evaluation framework which encompasses impact of its own capacity and that of its partner organisations.

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