Gender and development People

Posted February 1998

Gender and Participation in Agricultural Development Planning
Section 2: Comparative analysis of the case studies

Tools and methods

Introduction | Key issues: 1. Overview / 2. Analysis of case studies: policy environment - entry point - tools & methods - capacity building - gender information - linkages - institutionalisation / 3. Best practices / Annex-Bibliography | Download documents

MOST OF THE PROJECTS at the workshop used some form of participatory rural appraisal and/or gender analysis. Projects that used PRA combined with gender analysis and the analysis of difference were particularly successful in demonstrating their relevance and practicality for participatory gender-responsive planning.

PRA, when combined with gender analysis and the analysis of difference, is both powerful and relatively cost-effective5 because it serves three functions simultaneously:

Some of the most important PRA/GA tools used in the projects are described in the following table from the Nepal case study. The information gathered by means of these tools was illustrated on large posters and analysed by different focus groups or by the community as a whole. Both focus groups and communities prioritised problems (using tools such as pair-wide ranking) and analysed the feasibility of potential solutions. PRA exercises often concluded with the development of a community action plan (CAP) or with separate action plans that reflected the specific priorities of different focus groups.

PRA/GA tools: Example from Nepal
Name of tool Purpose
1. Social and resource mapping - indicate spatial distribution of roads, forests, water resources, institutions,
- identify households, their ethnic composition and other socio-economic characteristics/variables.
2. Seasonal calendar - assess workload of women and men by seasonality
- learn cropping patterns, farming systems, gender division of labor, food scarcity, climatic conditions and so forth.
3. Economic well being ranking - understand local people's criteria of wealth
- identify relative wealth and the different socio-economic characteristics of households and classes
- facilitate formation of focus groups to work with other PRA/GA tools
4. Daily activity schedule - identify daily patterns of activity based on gender division of labour on an hourly basis and understand how busy women and men are in a day, how long they work and when they have spare time for social and development activities.
5. Resources analyses - indicate access to and control over private, community and public resources by gender.
6. Mobility mapping - understand gender equities/inequities in terms of contact of men and women with the outside world
- plotting the frequency, distance, and purposes of mobility.
7. Decision making matrix - understand decision making on farming practices by gender.
8. Venn diagram - identify key actors and establishing their relationships between the village and local people
9. Pairwise ranking - identify and prioritise problems as experienced by men and women
10. Community action plan - assess the extent to which women's voices are respected when men and women sit together to identify solutions for the problems prioritised by the latter
- understand development alternatives and options, and give opportunity to men and women to learn from each other's experiences and knowledge

The action plans and other information generated by PRA tools can be used as inputs for "bottom-up" planning. When compiled and analysed at district or higher levels, focus group priorities and action plans provide information that can make programme, area, and policy planning more responsive to gender and socio-economic differences.

The GA/PRA framework: Example from Namibia
Step of the GA Framework Answers the question Related PRA tools
1. Context What is getting better?
What is getting worse?
In terms of the environmental, econ-omic, social and political patterns that support or constrain development
Village maps
Wealth ranking
Problem Trend diagrams
Institutional (Venn) Diagrams
2. Activities Who does what?
In terms of the division of labour for productive & reproductive activities.
Daily activity profiles
Seasonal calendars
Mobility maps
3. Resources Who has what?
In terms of access to and control over resources and benefits.
Gender resource mapping
Decision-making matrices
Income and expenditure matrices
4. Work plan What should be done?
In terms providing government services that will be sustainable, effective, and equitable, and in terms of community implemented projects.
Identifying problems
Identifying potential solutions
Preliminary feasibility analysis
Ranking problems and opportunities
Community Action Plan

The following pages provide examples of the PRA/GA tools used in the projects represented at this workshop.

Different types of seasonal calendars (one of the most important tools) are taken from the Nepal and Tunisia case studies. The two calendars from Nepal show the sexual division of labour over the year on specific crops. The Tunisian calendar (in French) shows the seasonality and sources of women's, then men's incomes. The third section of the Tunisian calendar indicates the periods in which women's agricultural and forest based work is heaviest.

The pair-wise ranking matrices from Tunisia show how gender-based priorities can be revea;ed by choosing repeatedly between alternatives.

Seasonal calendar indicating gender disaggregated workload: Nepal
(Vertical axis indicates hours worked per day)

Composite calendar: Participatory diagnosis with women of Tbainia

Source of women's income
Source of men's income
Calendar of agricultural and forestry activities

Pair-wise ranking for determining priorities
Rank Score Activities ranked
(row by column)
Vegetable production Livestock, small livestock rearing Fruit tree cultivation, fruit gathering Food processing/ distilling Strawberry production Bee-keeping
3 3 Beekeeping Vegetable production Livestock and small livestock rearing Beekeeping Beekeeping Bee- keeping
6 0 Strawberry production Vegetable production Livestock and small livestock rearing Fruit tree cultivation and forest gathering Food processing; distilling

5 1 Food processing/ distilling Vegetable production Livestock and small livestock rearing Fruit tree cultivation and forest gathering
4 2 Fruit tree cultivation and fruit gathering Vegetable production Livestock and small livestock rearing
1 5 Livestock and small livestock rearing Livestock and small livestock rearing
2 4 Vegetable production

Men's ranking of productive activities they prefer for women
Rank Score Activities ranked
row x column
Cactus production Fruit tree cultivation and fruit gathering Vegetable production Bee-keeping Food processing/ distilling Goat and small livestock rearing
2 3 Goat and small livestock rearing Goat and small livestock rearing Goat and small livestock rearing Vegetable production Bee-keeping Goat and small livestock rearing
4 0 Food processing/ distilling Cactus production Fruit tree cultivation & fruit gathering Vegetable production Bee-keeping
3 2 Beekeeping Cactus production Fruit tree cultivation & fruit gathering Vegetable production
1 5 Vegetable production Vegetable production Vegetable production
3 2 Fruit tree cultivation & fruit gathering Cactus production
2 3 Cactus production

Participatory tools will not automatically reflect gender or other differences among community groups when they are used in community-wide meetings. PRA tools, in fact, have often been used in a manner that is insensitive to critical differences within communities, including gender. If this result is to be avoided, it is essential to combine PRA, gender analysis, and the analysis of difference.


Use of focus groups: In Namibia, Ethiopia, India and Nepal the creation of focus groups with similar socio-economic statuses gave disadvantaged groups a "voice" in the PRA process and facilitated the identification and analysis of the specific constraints and priorities of male and female youth, the elderly, the poor, and so forth.

Use of local cases for PRA training: The projects that based their PRA/GA training on local cases were able to be especially sensitive to the types of gender, socio-economic, ethnic, and age differences that are relevant to gender and difference-responsive agricultural planning in the areas in which the training was taking place. These projects had particularly successful training programs, in part because the relevance of the tools to the analysis of local situations was immediately apparent.

Use of inter-disciplinary PRA facilitation teams: The India project developed an important methodological approach to conducting PRAs with newly trained facilitators. Inter-disciplinary two person PRA implementation teams were formed with staff from different government departments. Whenever possible the teams had a male and a female member. These teams were rotated each day so that technical officers and field agents would be exposed to a variety of professional skills and gender attitudes. The team leader floated among the teams working in each village. This approach worked well to convince sceptical team members of the value of gender analysis. It also facilitated farmers' access to staff from several government departments.

Methods to adapt PRA/GA tools to local circumstance: The PRA facilitators in Nepal found that it takes special efforts to assure that women speak in PRA sessions, even when PRA is conducted in gender-separate groupings. When mixed sessions are held, facilitators need to learn to handle male dominance in discussions. In Ethiopia it was essential to work with single sex groups when learning about labour activities and gender-differences in access to and control over resources because cultural barriers prevent women from speaking out on sensitive issues in the presence of men. In Afghanistan the situation of civil strife and the Taliban imposed restrictions on women required that many PRA tools had to be modified. The project nonetheless used a wide variety of participatory tools. In Pakistan project management's resistance to gender analysis and to using the information generated by PRA to modify project implementation prompted the women's programme to use PRA more as a method to establish a partnership with women's groups rather than a tool for obtaining information relevant to future project planning.

Use of statistical surveys to supplement PRA generated information: Namibia found that PRA/GA alone could not provide adequate data on the statistical frequency of the information it generated on gender and other group differences. Hence researchers from the university, who were familiar with PRA and other participatory methods, were engaged to supplement the PRA generated information on certain topics with survey data and information from secondary sources. Tunisia also used a method of combining participatorily generated data with more standard surveys in helping the government to define a strategy and plan of action for integrating women into the 9th Five Year Plan.

Use of participatory impact monitoring: India used a method of participatory impact monitoring that involved frequent informal visits to project participants by staff and consultants. The emphasis in these visits was on the emerging issues that village women and men viewed as significant, with a focus on who was benefiting and how. Participatory monitoring identified both positive and negative outcomes, many of which were unexpected.

Methods to strengthen grassroots organisations: The Costa Rica, Pakistan, Senegal and Honduras projects stressed the importance of strengthening grassroots organisations, especially women's groups, so that they could make better use of existing government services and improve their negotiating skills in demanding better services. Honduras worked to strengthen women's groups, first by training women volunteers as agricultural extension "linkage agents" and then by training volunteers as "para-technicians" capable of supporting women's micro-ennterprise and local savings and credit associations. The Costa Rica project taught organisational management and project formulation and management skills. Its grassroots women's organisation workshops identified common gender problems in each local area, and helped create a regional rural women's association that could analyse regional problems and bring them to the attention of policy makers and planners. The Nepal case study suggests that when PRA tools are used, farmers learn valuable skills like problem analysis and priority ranking that they can use to lobby for support from government and other agencies.

Methods to involve senior staff and decision-makers in participatory gender-responsive planning activities: India's Sikkim livestock project had little difficulty forging supportive relations with the newer generation of managers appointed in the Animal Health and Veterinary Science Department during the latter period of the project. Initially, however, many AHVS staff were reluctant to accept such unconventional approaches as PRA/GA. Some, including the national project director, never did fully accept the project's methods, but the majority gradually came to recognise relevance of gender-responsive approaches for livestock programme planning. The project accomplished this by constantly raising the problem of appropriate targeting, insisting on asking who does what? and how should that affect who gets extension services? Inter-departmental workshops facilitated dialogue among Forest Department, Rural Development Department and AHVS staff, enabling people who were interested in gender-sensitive participatory methods to encourage their more reluctant colleagues to try them.

Ethiopia also used a wide variety of methods to involve senior staff in project activities: inception workshops in each project area, invitations to open or close training sessions, invitations to attend PRA sessions, and workshops to discuss the results of PRA activities. Namibia conducted a special workshop for policy-makers on the analysis of difference and on the implications of PRA results for policy planning. Costa Rica to a large extent used the ASEG approach, considering three inter-related levels of analysis/work: macro-level, intermediate level (both sub-sectoral/institutional) and local level (regional and local), using participatory methods/tools. The project mainly used workshop format and interdisciplinary working groups to involve various levels of government personnel in gender analysis and to promote gender analysis of existing agricultural policies among policy makers. The methodology developed by the Honduras projects facilitated the use of gender analysis at all levels, with the aim of permeating public and private agencies with an understanding of women's productive roles.

The need to establish a mechanism to respond to community planning efforts: The Nepal, Ethiopia and Tunisia case studies all emphasised that PRA and MARP should not be used in the absence of a mechanism for response and follow-up. Farmers who engage in a full PRA process, including the development of a community or group action plan, are anxious to have some institutional support for their plans. This is a critical issue for projects of this sort. It may also be a reason that policy makers and planners hesitate to use PRA or other methods that encourage full-scale bottom up planning.

The need for direct training in client-responsive agricultural programming: The client-oriented extension training project in Ethiopia found that after training extension agents in the use of PRA/GA to generate information for planning, field agents and officers were still not sure how to use the information in planning their own programmes and work plans. It was therefore important to develop training modules that dealt directly with methods for incorporating that information in extension programming. This experience suggests that projects to promote gender and difference-responsive agricultural planning should consider adding specific training modules to help planners and policy makers apply the information generated by PRA and gender analysis in actual planning processes.

Summary on Tools and Methods

Project experiences with participatory methods like PRA and MARP demonstrate the potential of participatory tools to generate information relevant to planning in a variety of agricultural sub-sectors. They also demonstrate the importance of using participatory methods in conjunction with gender analysis and the analysis of difference in order to incorporate less powerful segments of the population in the participatory process.

Among the PRA tools used, several projects found seasonal calendars and daily activity profiles to be the most useful for demonstrating the significant contribution of women's labour and knowledge to agricultural production processes. Problem and opportunity ranking when used separately by men and women revealed important gender differences in constraints and priorities.

Nepal's experience of losing women's voice when men's and women's separate analyses were brought together to develop a Community Action Plan suggests that if action plans are used, they should be developed separately by all focus groups, thereby allowing the priorities of non-dominant groups to be communicated to planners. Several projects remarked that since PRA requires a great deal of community involvement and effort, it is important to plan for follow-up support, such as the opportunity to discuss action plans with planners or to have a project or service (such as extension) actually assist in meeting the priority needs identified by the PRA.

The Ethiopia and Namibia projects demonstrated the importance of training extension officers and agents in how to use PRA/GA generated information to plan extension programmes that are "customised" to meet the needs and priorities of different client groups. The issue of exactly how planners can respond to farmer-generated information needs to be more directly addressed.

Introduction | Key issues: 1. Overview / 2. Analysis of case studies: policy environment - entry point - tools & methods - capacity building - gender information - linkages - institutionalisation / 3. Best practices / Annex-Bibliography | Download documents

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