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Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment Vol.8 (3&4): 1024-1032. 2010

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Change in gender relations: Managerial and transformative approaches of gender mainstreaming in agriculture
Amare Tegbaru 1*, John Fitzsimons 2, Barun Gurung 3 and Helen Hambly Odame
2

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Oyo Road, PMB 5320, Ibadan, Nigeria. C/O L. W. Lambourn & Co., Carolyn House, 26 Dingwall Road, Croydon CR93EE, UK. 2Associate Professor School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, Guelph, N1G 2W1, Canada. 3 Cultural Anthropologist and Gender Consultant, Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and NRM (WOCAN), 1775 K St, NW, Suite 410 Washington, DC 20006, USA. *e-mail: a.tegbaru@cgiar.org, jfitz@uoguelph.ca, hhambly@uoguelph.ca, gurungbarun@yahoo.com
Received 7 July 2010, accepted 26 October 2010.

Abstract
This paper explores the managerial and transformative approaches to gender mainstreaming in order to draw a more comprehensive understanding of how institutional and behavioural change processes occur with regard to gender equality. Drawing from the managerial and efficiency path, and planning tools used in implementing a project in Northern Nigeria, Promoting Sustainable Agriculture in Borno State or PROSAB, and by exploring largely unintended/unforeseen consequences of project actions, the paper argues that change in gender relations should be viewed not as outcome of technology transfer following a simple input-output model conceptualised largely in linear terms, but rather as a complex social phenomenon based on peoples interests, motivations, relationships, and innovative actions that are embedded in their historical and cultural situations. It suggests that the managerial and efficiency approaches are insufficient to encourage change in gender relations. Drawing from the case of PROSAB, the paper underlines the importance of a transformative approach that understands change processes in gender relations and success in women empowerment, which are influenced by the interplay of multiple factors that are not project controlled. Key words: Gender, agriculture, managerial and efficiency, transformative, womens empowerment, Northern Nigeria.

Introduction Beginning in the 1970s, a steadily increasing effort has been devoted in development projects and research on issues and action on gender equality, participation and empowerment 1-4. The strategy of gender mainstreaming - the integration of mens and womens concerns and experiences in all aspects of projects and programs from development to evaluation 5, 6 - is now an accepted element of all development activities. Numerous projects in the agricultural and natural resource management sector involving initiatives to strengthen the position of poor women in development activities have been reported, supported by empirical studies indicating increased participation of women in decision making processes 7, 8. However, much of this work has focused on the quantification of womens participation in activities and less on the transformative and empowering processes and their outcomes. The result is a difficulty in capturing changes in gender relations that are outside direct project control and often hidden within womens social networks and the potentially greater group homogeneity and life biographic qualities of women 9. This is because most gender mainstreaming efforts in agriculture and natural resource management are driven more by a managerial approach of programme and project management and less by an approach that addresses the systemic issues that create gender inequality and capture the transformative and empowering path of gender mainstreaming.
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Managerial approaches, directed primarily at enhancing economic growth, poverty alleviation, social inclusion and equity within a sector are reflected in the use of mainly quantitative tools such as logical frameworks, ex-ante and ex-post quantitative economics and rate-of-return methods as well as participatory approaches 10. The emphasis is on the efficiency aspect of resource allocation to women, quantifying their participation in and benefits from project activities and reporting on these as planned outcomes of a project. In contrast, the transformative approach, defines gender issues with an ethnological appreciation of social and cultural relations that contextualize and shape project from inception through implementation, follow up and evaluation. The approach recognizes the need for mainstreaming that develops capacities to address individual, organizational and systems level issues in gender equality. The aim is to give voice to the voiceless and marginalized and to ensure change at the multiple levels of gender inequality 11, 12. This approach provides a deeper understanding and ethnographically oriented insight into the socio-cultural processes of knowledge acquisition, individual and collective actions and empowering outcomes generated from the project that were not necessarily anticipated by the managerially focused planned interventions by the project. This paper outlines the experience of the project Promoting Sustainable Agriculture in Borno (PROSAB) undertaken in

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northern Nigeria in strengthening gender in agriculture. It explores the managerial and transformative approaches to gender mainstreaming employed in PROSAB in order to generate a more comprehensive understanding of how institutional and behavioural change processes related to gender equality occur. Drawing both from the managerial and efficiency path and the planning tools used in the PROSAB Project and by exploring largely unintended/unforeseen consequences of project actions, the paper argues that change in gender relations cannot be viewed simply as an outcome of a largely linear technology transfer process, but rather as a complex social phenomenon based on peoples interests, motivations, relationships, and innovative actions embedded in their historical and cultural situations. It suggests that the managerial and efficiency approaches alone are insufficient to encourage a change in gender relations. On the basis of this analysis the paper underlines the importance of a transformative approach that understands change processes in gender relations and success in womens empowerment as influenced by the interplay of multiple factors that are often not project controlled. Materials and Methods The project context: PROSAB was a special project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The key priorities addressed by the project were the continued occurrence of drought, low levels of soil fertility and a high incidence of Striga spp., aggravated by poor access by farmers to farm inputs such as fertilisers, vulnerability to price fluctuations for farm produce, high transportation costs and poor commodity markets. The project areas in south Borno State comprised four local government areas (LGAs) covering the Sudan Savanna (SS), the Northern Guinea Savanna (NGS), and Southern Guinea Savanna (SGS) agro-ecological zones (AEZ),involved 30 communities comprising of over 17,000 households and 100,000 individuals. Participants included 318 farmer groups, 38% of whom were women, represented by over 1000 lead farmers appointed by their groups and directly supporting some 6000 other farmers. In addition PROSAB supported 311 community seed producers, 48% of whom were women and many of whom were members of the farmer groups. The project had a gender mainstreaming strategy to address the many constraints facing women in Borno with the overall aim of reducing the gender inequalities through participation of women in: Identifying relevant and appropriate entry points and interventions for achieving gender equity. Encouraging gender-specific activities, including working with women groups to encourage CBO formation and participation in farming activities, post harvesting processing of crops and livestock share schemes as well as identifying and allocating resources for implementation as part of group action plans. Encouraging increased participation by women in agricultural decision making and assessing their achievements in increased productivity and family welfare. The opportunities identified to support this process were: i. Provision of support to womens CBOs (Farmer Groups), female lead farmers and female seed producers. ii. Provision of support for soybean post harvest processing and

utilisation, given that soybean was being introduced and widely adopted as a new crop in the area. iii. Encouragement and support of womens Group Farms to build social capital and encourage learning as well as producing food and income for the participants. iv. Provision of support for a livestock goat-share scheme undertaken in collaboration with PROSABs Livestock Unit (ILRI). v. Provision of support for post harvest processing activities for groundnuts and maize. During the five years of implementation, the project created gender awareness among the project staff and participants, including the technical capacity to undertake gender analyses, planning, and implementation. Female lead CBOs, lead farmers and seed producers emerged and support from the project strengthened the capacities of women as leaders. The project went beyond simple quantification of participation and produced clear evidence of womens innovation as well as indications of reductions in gender inequality in terms of income distribution, engagement and participation in development, access to property rights and leadership 13. Indicators of change using the managerial approach to gender mainstreaming Support to women farmers CBOs, lead farmers and seed producers: In the initial season of project activities in 2004, the number of womens groups, lead farmers and seed producers was relatively low but from 2005 onwards, the numbers of women involved in project activities grew steadily (Fig. 1). The percentage of womens groups relative to mens groups increased from 27% in 2004 to 38% in 2008, female lead farmers increased from 25% in 2004 to 45% in 2008 and the number of female seed producers increased from 14% in 2004 to 33% in 2008 14. Encouragement of womens Group Farms: The encouragement of womens groups to undertake crop production activities using high quality seeds and improved management practices started with ten Group Farms in 2005, and increased to 49 by 2008. The groups were trained in group management and leadership skills, as well as in farming as an enterprise. Benefits included building social capital through the establishment of support networks, development of profitable farming enterprises, sharing of produce and income. An end of project assessment of the 49 groups based upon group cohesion and leadership, crop management, yields and productivity indicated that 45% were strong and likely to sustain their operations into the future, whilst 47% could likely improve if support were maintained but could otherwise likely fail. Eight percent were deemed weak with poor group cohesion, conflicts, poor leadership, poorly managed farms with low yields and were felt very likely to fail without considerable ongoing support 14. Farmer to Farmer Extension (FFE): Before the introduction of Farmer to Farmer Extension through project training on the Participatory Research and Extension Approach (PREA) women had less contact with other farmers than men, but after the training women had significantly more contact with both female and male farmer groups. These results are not surprising as previous work on gender differences in use of extension services concluded that, other things being equal, extension services were more
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Figure 2. Number of contacts before and after the introduction of PREA (Source: farmer field survey). Figure 4. Percentage of men and women farmers having more than five contacts in different extension activities after PREA.

Figure 1. Number of farmer groups, lead farmers and seed producers, 2004-2008.

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Figure 3. Increases in farmer to farmer extension activities as a result of PREA (Source: farmer field survey).

efficiently utilized by female than male farmers 15. Prior to PREA training both genders had relatively little contact with other farmers (87% of men and 89% of women). As a result of the training the number of contacts increased significantly for both men and women (Fig. 2). Those having contact with less than five other farmers declined to 17% in the case of men and 12% in the case of women. Those having contact with 5-10 other farmers increased to 44% for men and 48% for women and those with contact with over 10 other farmers increased to 39% for men and 40% for women. More detailed examination of individual activities and changes before and after PREA training show that the largest increases in contacts resulted from attendance at field days, exchange visits, providing information to other farmers and visiting leading farmer trial sites (Fig. 3). A comparison of gender differences in the nature of contacts before and after PREA training (Fig. 4) show that womens contacts with more than five other persons for all activities was greater than that for men, comparative figures being 76% for women and 70% for men. Comparison of increases in contacts by gender for the various extension activities showed that the largest increase came through attendance at field days, comparative figures being 92% for women and 87% for men, closely followed by the provision of information on new technologies, (91%-women versus 74%men). Other activities where increases in contacts for women exceeded 80% included training sessions with other farmers, exchange visits with other farmers and visiting lead farmer test plots. Activities recording a 70-80% increase for women included acting as a trainer for other farmers , undertaking study tours with other farmers, providing seeds and other farmers visiting own fields . Activities with lower but still substantial changes of between 60% and 70% for women were, exchanging information during festivals, providing financial assistance to other farmers, exchanging information on market days, assisting other farmers to market produce and acting as a demonstration for others. Community training in soybean utilization: Introduction of soybeans offered a win-win-win technology for many households in the project, improving soil fertility, reducing Striga infestation and providing nutritious food for household use and sale. At the beginning of the project soybean was largely unknown Table 1. Participants in the goat share scheme.
Zone* NGS NGS SS NGS SS SS SS NGS SGS SGS NGS NGS NGS SGS SGS
*

in the area, household utilisation was limited and no formal market existed for any production surplus. The key to increasing household utilisation was raising awareness and training on the nutritional and health value of soybean, followed by the practical demonstration of household processing. Training on soybean utilization and its health benefits was provided to over 2000 women and 334 men in 30 communities. The impact of this training subsequently spread to neighbouring communities and as a result soybean processing for both household consumption and local trading has now become common both within and outside the PROSAB target areas. Local sales as soybean grain and processed product are substantial and increased household consumption, which has increased by 75% has improved family income, welfare and nutrition. Both male and female farmers are keen to grow soybean for both household use and sale. The costs of production are low, labour input is less than that of maize and the crop can be used for multiple products which can serve as the basis of a small business. Market linkages were developed with large scale processors as far away as Plateau State and the potential exists for large scale processing within Borno. The Livestock Goat Share (LGS) scheme: Livestock transfer projects have the potential benefit of delivering tangible assets to vulnerable households, especially women, empowering them and enabling families to improve their livelihoods through both increased consumption and building of an asset bank that can be sold in times of need. PROSAB initiated a scheme to improve livestock productivity through a Goat Share scheme and an associated Community Animal Health Care scheme. The objectives of the LGS scheme were to aid resource-poor livestock farmers (especially poor women), gain skills in goat production, encouraging and strengthening crop-livestock integration as well as helping in the empowerment of women. The scheme recognised the important role that livestock play in ensuring livelihood security especially in semi-arid areas, where livestock are both a direct source of consumption and a store of wealth and an asset that can be sold quickly in times of need. During the course of the project 15 womens groups, involving 229 women have participated in the share scheme (Table 1). Each group were given eight female and one male goat. Local breeds of goats were selected due to their adaptation to local climate, disease

Community Buratai Miringa Sabon Gari Kurtum Damboa Nzuda Mungule Mandafuma Tashan Alade Kirbitu Kwaya Kusa Guwal Vinadam Fillin Jirgi Marama

Group name Kurfi women group Women multi purpose coop. Women development association Women farmers group Women farmers coop. (B) Askiringi Women farmers group Akangaba group Women multi purpose Women multi purpose Hirra group Women multi purpose Dempila women group Paksu women group Yawi women group Soybean women group Total

No. of members 16 14 16 11 17 22 15 11 12 17 14 18 18 14 14 229

No. of goats provided 8 7 8 6 8 10 8 6 6 9 7 9 9 7 7 115

SGS =Southern Guinea Savanna, NGS = Northern Guinea Savanna, SS = Sudan Savanna.

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and management conditions. Women received training in goat production and management as well as group management and leadership skills before they received the goats. The group was responsible, for feeding, watering and the good health of the goats and received in return offspring donated to each of the member women in turn. During implementation further training, participatory evaluations and enterprise training resulted in increased experience and skills both in goat production and group management. In overall terms, evaluation of the planned outcomes indicates substantial benefits to households within the project area. Farmers who adopted improved technologies and management practices indicated increased food availability (94% reporting); improved nutrition-especially women and children (86% reporting) and increased income (86% reporting). Considerable progress was made in addressing the key problems of declining soil fertility and Striga as indicated by the high rate adoption of improved maize varieties resistant to Striga (77%) and soybean varieties (53%) by both male and female farmers. Community based seed production was established and linked to the formal seed sector. The benefits to women were considerable. Increased womens participation in crop and seed production, improved access to inputs, especially seeds, access to labour through group farming, an animal share scheme, dissemination of market information crop processing and utilization especially soybean and ground nuts were reflected in increased food security, surpluses for sale and consequently, improvements in income. In 2008 cumulative income derived from agriculture gained by the 473 women farmers stood at Naira 16.5 million, representing an 81% increase in income realized since 2005 14, 16. Assessing the transformative and empowering outcomes of gender mainstreaming: A range of qualitative indicators can be used to evaluate the transformative and empowering outcomes of gender mainstreaming in the PROSAB project 13. These comprise evidence of womens increased levels of skill and knowledge, increased mobility and broader social relations, increased income, the assumption of leadership roles, land ownership and the redefinition of the role of traditional womens groups. a. Evidence of increased skills and knowledge: PROSABs focus on training womens and mens groups in improved farm management practices, effective land use, improved livestock management practices, improved postharvest practices, knowledge of land rights and effective engagement with markets produced considerable benefits for both the womens groups and the community at large. The male and female members of all groups interviewed detailed the knowledge and skills received from the range of project training events attended. Most relevant with regard to the changes in womens empowerment and gender relations is the evidence on how women applied knowledge and skills to improve yields, improve on-farm productivity, increased incomes, pay childrens school fees and invest in soybean and groundnut processing and marketing opportunities (Box 1). Many womens groups gave the highest priority to the knowledge and skills associated with soybean production and utilization, reflecting the income-generating potential of soybean in the markets. Some womens groups were involved in the
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production of seeds and soy products (tofu) for sale to other community members as well as to larger markets in the area. They also prized soybean for its nutritional benefits in the form of milk and roasted snacks, particularly for growing children. With the knowledge and skills gained through the training programmes organized by PROSAB, there has been an increase in farm and livestock production and incomes. There have also been the largely unintended outcomes that can be associated with the generation of social capital, particularly for marginalized and poor women. In some instances religious constraints led to the use of indirect mechanisms for the acquisition of knowledge from the project by women. Some men went to great lengths to ensure that their wives acquired skills and knowledge without having to break with the Islamic tradition of womens segregation. They used a proxy system of acquiring the knowledge either by attending the training sessions themselves or sending their sons who, in turn, taught the skills to women at home (Box 2). b. Increased mobility and social relationships: Improved marketing activities can also increase mobility and networking and promote the establishment of strong social bonds, particularly for women. While most Muslim women in Borno State are now free from strict segregation practices, improved marketing activities has increased both the frequency and range of mobility for women in project areas. In the words of one woman in a Muslim community, their men .are agreeable to my travel, even outside the community, to train others or to market our products, as long I can bring home some money . Training activities have also increased womens mobility. In the early stages of the project, women rarely travelled outside their communities to attend training workshops. However, as these women acquired farm management and postharvest skills, their travel has increased both outside the household and the community as they train other groups (Box 3). Women from the Tum, Guwal Dampila, Tilla, and Mbulatawiwi Groups all reported traveling outside their communities to attend meetings and training. Many women now express confidence in their ability to train both women and men from their own or other communities as well. When asked if they would be prepared to train only men, one woman responded that she would avoid looking them in the eye. All the womens groups reported training activities as one of the ways of generating income, both in cash and kind (though mostly the latter). One group reported that training others with the skills they had acquired was done more as a service for the community than for profit. This was in stark contrast to a male group that made loans at an annual interest rate of 35%. The increased mobility of women meant establishing a wider social network that goes beyond the domestic sphere and local community as marketers, trainers and arbitrators, entering into a previously male domain. All the men interviewed supported the increased social mobility of women and expressed a sense of pride when they talked about the women in their communities who had gained economic and social capital have as a result of their increased mobility and social relationships . c. Increased income(s): By 2008 the cumulative income derived from agriculture gained by the projectss 473 women farmers stood at Naira 16.5 million, an 81% increase compared with 2005.

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Box 1. Increased skills and knowledge.


Mallama Pati was born and married in Tum village of Biu Local Government Area of Borno State, the fifth child of farmers from the same village. She has no education of any kind.As a young girl she followed her mother to work on the farm, fetched water, herded the animals and scared away wild animals from the crops.. At age 16, she was married to her present husband, a devout Moslem who kept her in purdah (seclusion) and prevented her from participating in public affairs. He took care of every family need whilst she cooked, took care of the children at home and stayed indoors always. She was not allowed to farm, trade or even go to the market. When her husband took a second wife he allowed Mallama Pati to have her own plot of land which she cultivated herself. She attended the PROSAB project awareness campaign and joined one of the women groups formed by the project. As first wife she has more freedom to be mobile than young mothers and can travel to distant markets to engage in trading, meet freely with both women and men irrespective of their age and can interact on many issues affecting women. Since Mallama Pati joined the PROSAB womens group more women ask her advice about crop varieties and cropping problems. She is planting the new rice variety nerica introduced by PROSAB and is recognized for her knowledge on how to process soybean into various nutritional products and shares that knowledge with other women. She says nobody told her to train other women, but her spirit or maybe Allah might have told her to help other women and share her skills and knowledge. Her children are grown, well-fed and healthy. Mallama Pati said she is proud of being a helping hand to bridge the gap between the project and young mothers and teen age girls which the project had difficulties in reaching through male extension agents.

Box 2. Home processing of soya.

. No male whether young Alhaji Malam is one is of the devout adherents of the tenets of Islam in his community or old ever enters his house or is allowed to see his 3 wives who are always in purdah. In the husband-wife relationship, the wife has a status inferior to that of the husband and she defers to the husband in decision making. This has been his stand until the coming of PROSAB to his community.
Alhaji Malam joined the mens group where he learnt about improved crop varieties and how to process soybean. At first he did know what to do with the knowledge he acquired on the use of soya in local recipes, but when he saw the money other women were earning from the sales of these soy products, he decided to teach his wives. Now he buys soya beans for his wives from the market. The women prepare awara (a processed form of soya) and give it to their children to sell in the village market. By adopting soybean processing and value added activities within the constraints of their Islamic beliefs the family of Alhaji Mallam have been able to generate additional income, invest in their childrens education and build new houses on the their empty plots.

Box 3. Success in seed production.


Mohammed Wakawas wife was responsible for persuading him to join the JIRKUR seed producers cooperative. She first participated in training on seed production and subsequently became one of the lead farmers. Mohammed at first thought she had joined the group because she was bored at home but soon saw the benefits she was able to generate from the seed business and resigned from his own job as a school teacher. He and his wife are the lead seed producers and have shared their knowledge with others. With assistance from PROSAB, they formally registered the cooperative as JIRKUR in March 2008 to multiply seeds. The society grew to 60 members, who now train seed growers to process and market seeds to farmers. They sincerely appreciate the help of PROSAB for making it possible for to secure financial support from the Alliance for the Grain Revolution in Africa. They have attended a training workshop in Tanzania, Rwanda, and South Africa and will soon attend another in Mali. They are exporting seeds to Niger, Mali andCameron, and we are soon expecting to enter in the Kenyan and Tanzanian seed market.

Box 4. A choice to be a farmer.


Mrs. Joy is an educated woman with a Higher National Diploma working in one of the government ministries in Borno State. Because the salary she earned was so low she could not feed her family and had to engage in trading. During the PROSAB project she joined the seed producers association and became the association secretary. As a result she has been able to increase the stock in her shop, buy more assets and improve her standard of living. In her words, PROSAB was a saviour. Also a government worker, Mrs Joys husband recognizes the contribution she makes to the family income. She spends most of the money earned on the home, their children, and on food. Her husband who was previously restrictive of his wifes involvement outside the home realized the benefits generated by his wifes engagement in seed business and gave her the freedom to be active in the seed producers association.

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Box 5. A leading seed producer.


Mrs. Rachael Hassan built on the knowledge and skills she gained from PROSAB to transform both her livelihood and her role in the community, she became a seed producer and very knowedgable in farming techniques and the production and use of soybean, maize and rice. Her activities boosted her income earnings she has invested in agricultural land, a house and cars. Mrs Rachel said that training with PROSAB, she didnt know how to raise chickens, goats, and other domestic animals. But now thanks to PROSAB she can take care of animals if they are sick, administer vaccines and has even trained men how to do it. She requested the training herself from PROSAB and was the only women trained as a community animal health workers.

Box 6. The Magiras.


Women have also begun to increasingly exercise leadership, both within the household and their communities said one Magira respondent during an interview. The Magiras are women traditional leaders recognized for their wisdom and charisma to mediate conflict, mobilize women and resources for community welfare and are recognized and respected by men. In the life span of the project the roles of the Magiras were transformed. They were able to combine their traditional leadership with the additional roles of lead farmers and seed producers. Some of the Magiras have moved into the public sphere beyond their local community, becoming local politicians advancing gender equity related issues such as family planning and reproductive health, development and civil rights. By transcending traditional leadership and entering the previously male realm of development and local politics, the Magiras have emerged as new candidates for election to local government. Men in the communities have acknowledged that some women can pursue leadership roles. Such elements of legitimacy and trust in womens new leadership roles were unforeseen outcomes of project activities 10.

Improved dissemination of market information to farmers contributed to the improved incomes among women farmers and improved access to inputs, especially seeds, resulted in increased food security with surpluses for sale and a substantial increase in incomes 14. The impact of these improvements in income have ranged from modest improvements household living standards (Box 4) to significant investments in productive and capital assets (Box 5). d. Emerging women leaders: The most common platforms and opportunities for the assumption of leadership roles by women were in local community based organizations, local politics and the delivery of skills training. In several of the mixed gender groups, women occupied leadership positions such as treasurer, secretary, or even in one case, the president. For instance in the Mbulatawiwi mixed group, the group treasurer, public relations officer and secretary were all women. Most of the men in these groups reported that they were comfortable deferring to female, particularly if they had the skills and knowledge they themselves did not possess. A second of leadership development was in the political arena. In one community (Bergimbuti), a member of the women farmers group has become the elected official of a prominent national political party, although this was cited as an exception rather than the rule in the State. Participation in the project has also led to a transformation of roles by traditional women leaders (Box 6). The third and more generally witnessed arena of leadership was women acting as trainers. All women who had acquired the skills and knowledge through attending training courses reported that they had trained others, either within their own groups, in other households within their community, or to a lesser extent, in outside communities further from their own. e. Land ownership: The inheritance laws in Borno State vary widely between communities. Under Islamic law women, while
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generally allowed to inherit land, do not always have control of the properties. In Christian communities, there are no governing inheritance practices and patterns depend largely on members of the family 17. Formerly it was common practice for people not to register their lands in their names, leaving them open to exploitation by outside interests, or to embedded social and cultural practices that were are not always conducive to gender equality. One important outcome of the projects land rights training workshops was an increased level of awareness among community members of the need to legally register their lands. Women from several groups reported officially registering lands in their own names, especially if they were widows and heads of household, to preclude potential acquisition by their late husbands relatives. This trend was evident even with male members who, prior to the training, reported being unaware of the need to formally register the title to their lands with the State. f. Changes in traditional womens institutions: Traditional womens groups in the project areas have also redefined their roles in order to address agricultural development needs in the areas of microfinance and credit. The Tum, Guwal Dampila, Tilla and Mbulatawiwi Womens multi-purpose groups are traditional organization which have now formally registered as Community Based Organizations. The focus group discussions and observations indicate that these institutions now function as a kind of innovation platform that not only facilitate knowledge sharing among women members but also encourage linkages with the Research for Development partner and extension and market agents. Limitations: These dynamic and innovative outcomes that contribute to the goal of gender equality have gone well beyond the projects planned objectives of disseminating striga, drought resistant and early and high yield producing crop varieties. However, despite the many positive impacts of the transformative

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gender strategy undertaken by the project there was some variability in the effectiveness of the strategy between different communities within the project area. These variations were largely the result of socio-cultural and religious factors. In some communities in the Damboa Local Government Area located within the Sudan Savanna AEZ, gender mainstreaming activities had comparatively limited impact. These communities are stable, fairly homogeneous, mainly Moslem (98%), have experienced limited in and out migration, and have traditional village institutions that have remained unchanged in living memory. These communities have long been recipients of regular hand-outs from politicians creating a dependency syndrome. This context, coupled with weak local agricultural extension and a lack of development oriented political leadership limited the impact of gender mainstreaming efforts in these communities. In contrast, LGAs in the NGS agroecological zone further to the south were more heterogeneous and dynamic. They had a history of long distance trade, in and out migration and mixed ethic and religious backgrounds. These communities also had a significant number of retirees from the public services and armed forces within their populations as well as higher levels of male and female literacy than other areas in the project. These diverse historical, social and cultural contexts have given new perspectives on life experience to the women and men of these communities. These perspectives (doxa) are built cumulatively over time and transformed into social agency 18, 19 allowing women and men to reflect on prior experiences individually, but also collectively. In these communities the project was there at the right time and was able to capitalize on existing collective effort and innovative knowledge to achieve an empowerment dimension of gender mainstreaming without undermining the existing social and cultural values or posing an overt or abrupt threat to higher order political arrangements that would have put the communities at risk of potentially severe repercussions. Results and Conclusions Based upon the PROSAB experience it is apparent that changes in gender relations did not emerge simply as an intended outcome of the managerial and efficiency based strategy of the project. A managerial path to change isolated from historical and social contexts would not be helpful in understanding how individuals address their own needs while at the same time becoming agents of change influencing the historical and social context which initially shaped their social being 20, 21. In the PROSAB project, the experiences of women and men of different social, cultural and experiential backgrounds interacting in the context of planned interventions, shaped their long term developmental goals and set in motion a complex process of change largely unanticipated and not project controlled. The conclusion this paper draws is that the empowering outcomes of gender relations derived from institutional and behavioural change should not be attributed to project interventions, managerial and planning tools and strategies alone. They should rather be viewed as outcomes of the interplay of multiple factors embedded in womens individual capacities as well as their social agency, their greater dependency than men upon these social networks and their potentially greater
___________________________________________
*

historically based group homogeneity and life experience including individual (leadership) capacities that were outside project control9, 12 . The lesson this paper draws is that gender should go beyond the managerial path of targeting women and the quantification of their participation in project activities 2-4, 8. It should give proper consideration to the transformative path of capturing and influencing change in the unequal power relations between women and men, boys and girls. In order to address the transformatory goals of participatory agriculture development programmes gender issues should go beyond the narrow focus of womens issues. The analytic importance of gender as a constitutive element of social relationships and as signifying a relationship of power will be obscured unless it is understood in a wider historical and institutional context 3. When the mainstreaming of gender redresses the imbalance of power and operates in a situation where women and men are relatively equal and the womens sphere of engagement transforms to the public sphere as equal to men, gender differences become less of an obstacle for development, economies tend to grow much faster, the poor, irrespective of gender differences move more quickly out of poverty, and overall quality of life is greatly improved*. References
1

See the evidence from the LCD countries compiled by UNESCO, International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA). Bi-annual New Letter Vol. 7, no 1. June 2005).

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