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Executive Summary

The Food and Agriculture Organization, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO-RAP), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) of Thailand undertook a research on Gender Responsive Technology for Poverty Alleviation. The interagency collaboration explored the issue of gender considerations in the nexus of technology for poverty alleviation in rural communities, which contributes to a research-based understanding of rural women in Thailand and thus contributes to gender knowledge base. Such knowledge would foster information driven policy and programme development to improve the situation of rural women and consequently economic and social conditions of Thai rural families and communities.

A conceptual framework for analysis of factors driving supply and demand for gender differentiated technologies for three aspects of production guided the research. Gender responsive technologies are defined as a set of technologies that pay due attention to gender-differentiated needs and constraints, reduce drudgery among women, release time for alternative activities, and promote labour efficiency and sustained household economic and welfare gains. The scope of the study was small as a pilot but it has significant implications for understanding the rural gender roles dynamics and gender responsive technology identification and for the formulation of technology policies and programmes. Since it was a pilot study only including six villages and four provinces, it acknowledged that the findings are relevant to these research sites and thus presents a limitation of generalization of the results to whole of Thailand. It is possible that there could be different patterns in other villages not included in the study.

The fieldwork was conducted in Buriram, Nan, Phitsanulok, and Songkhla to have agro-ecological zone representation and these are the provinces that also had an ongoing UNDP project. The study design included the following methods: secondary data analyses, desk review of the policies of selected Ministries of the Royal Government of Thailand, Key Informant discussion sessions with Government Officers, Village Community leaders and Civil society representatives at provincial and district levels in the four provinces and participatory assessment among the rural communities inclusive of men and women in six villages in the research provinces. A national policy dialogue was organised for a cross section of development professionals and diverse group of stakeholders in Bangkok to present and validate the findings.

The publication presents summary of the findings on gender roles and gender differentiated technology demand for agriculture production, post harvest processing and household activities; and key issues on women’s access to technology and technology related training. The key findings related to the role of local organizations to provide technology service and support are presented as well as the types of government organizations and NGOs that provide technology support. A review of the policies in various Ministries of Royal Government of Thailand for gender equal technology support was undertaken and the main findings are included.

The content includes recommendations presented to address the gender gap in technology support for poverty alleviation based on the findings of policy review and field study as well as the national policy dialogue. The recommendations address the strategies to improve the supply of gender responsive technologies, interagency collaborations to improve gender equal access to technologies, capacity building and policy refinement and implementation for improving technology and training access for men and women with implications for poverty alleviation.

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