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III. Comparative analysis of the case studies

III. Comparative analysis of the case studies

Six of the ten projects represented at this workshop were designed with the goal of influencing the responsiveness of some level of agricultural planning to the priorities of women and men farmers (Namibia, Nepal, Ethiopia, India, Tunisia, Costa Rica)4. The Honduras case also had important policy impacts in its later phases. The remaining projects (Pakistan, Senegal, Afghanistan), though not focused on influencing planning, used participatory and gender-sensitive methods that contribute to our analysis of what works, how, and why.

4 Two of the projects, Namibia and Nepal, are part of a pilot FAO technical assistance programme entitled, "Improving Information on Women's Contribution to Agricultural Production for Gender-Sensitive Planning" funded by the Government of Norway and carried out from 1995 to 1997. A third project in Tanzania/Zanzibar was part of this programme, but it has not yet produced a case study.

This section analyses the factors that affected project outcomes, both successes and problems. It uses the analytical categories (entry point, tools, capacity building, gender information, linkages, and institutionalisation) that all case writers incorporated in their studies.

Project goals, approaches, methods, and tools

The goal of most projects was to increase the responsiveness of agricultural planning and policy making to the priorities of men and women farmers, including and focusing on those with few resources. In most cases the goal reflected national policy directives to increase the participation of farmers and other local stakeholders in planning, and to make sure that women's interests were reflected in plans and policies. Thus the projects were attempting to facilitate the realisation of a goal shared by national policy-makers.

The approach chosen was to demonstrate the relevance and usefulness to agricultural planning of participatory, gender-sensitive, and socio-economic difference-sensitive participatory methods. Some projects also tried to strengthen the constituency for gender-responsive planning by working to strengthen women's groups. Most trained local staff in the methods and tools used.

Methods varied by project, but most included gender analysis (GA) and participatory rural appraisal (PRA) or MARP (methode acceleree de recherche participative). Some projects formed socio-economically similar and gender-specific focus groups so that PRA tools could be use! separately not only by men and women, but by poor men, young women, and so forth.

Tools associated with these methods were either: i) chosen from those already described in the literature, ii) combined (gender analysis tools, for example, were incorporated into PRA tools), or iii) adapted to reflect local situations and focus group differences. In some cases, new tools were invented, reflecting the fact that PRA and GA tools are rapidly evolving. Specific tools used will be cited in the "tools" sub-section below.

We turn now to the analysis of the case studies, beginning with a descriptive summary of each project and its policy environment.

The projects and their policy environments

In Namibia, the "Improving information on Women's Contribution to Agricultural Production for Gender-Sensitive Planning" project (1995-1997) focused on influencing the responsiveness of national agricultural policy making. The project's hypothesis was that information gathered using participatory research could make the gender and socio-economic relationships that structure farming systems more visible to policy makers, thereby improving the mental images upon which many policy decisions were presumed to be based. The project collaborated closely with another FAO project that was training agricultural extension staff in participatory extension training techniques in an effort to foster a client-responsive extension approach. "Client" was understood to include women farmers, women heads of households and rural youth. Trained extension workers conducted PRAs in four agro-ecological zones. University researchers incorporated the PRA generated information into region-specific case studies, and regional and national workshops brought it to the attention of agricultural policy-makers and planners.

The policy and planning context in Namibia was highly favourable there was a good fit between the gender-sensitive, participatory orientation of the National Agricultural Policy (passed in the project's first year) and project efforts to train agricultural officers in gender-sensitive, participatory methods. Passage of the NAP facilitated the project's efforts to interest policy makers and senior agricultural staff in gender-sensitive participatory tools for agricultural planning.

The Nepal project (1996-97) focused on increasing the gender-responsiveness of district level planning. Although FAO was assisting the government in formulating district agricultural plans during the project's implementation period, it was not associated with that effort. The project was located in the Women Farmers Development Division (WFDD) of the Ministry of Agriculture. Project staff trained district officers from a wide variety of agencies (agriculture, livestock, extension, irrigation, cooperatives, and the agricultural development bank) in PRA and gender analysis. Trainees then conducted seven village-level PRAs in Nepal's three agroecological zones. District workshops had been planned to bring farmers together with district planners to discuss the community action plans resulting from the PRAs, but they were cancelled under the pressure of time. Top policy makers who attended a project-sponsored national workshop suggested that although there is a will to make planning gender and needs responsive, planners and policy makers do not yet know how to change agricultural planning procedures. The project only had time to show how information could be generated, not how planning might be changed in response.

Ethiopia's (1995-96) "Improving Client-Oriented Extension Training" project aimed at promoting gender-responsive extension planning. The country's decentralisation policy encouraged local level planning, creating a propitious environment for the project. The project was designed in a participatory manner by the national project coordinator, six national extension experts, and an international extension education adviser. It began by training trainers in PRA/GA methods using a local language training guide and video based on information gathered during staff conducted PRAs. The trainees then trained field staff in three regions (24 women and 58 men), who in turn conducted PRAs in 15 villages. This was followed by a second training of trainers (TOT) to improve the PRA/GA training materials. Concerned by the fact that previous reforms of the extension system had not succeeded in incorporating a gender focus, the project also decided to provide additional extension programme training. Extension officers and field agents were assisted in drawing out the implications of the information generated by the PRAs to plan specific extension programmes for the villages where the PRA had been conducted. The project made many efforts to involve policy makers, line department managers and local officials in project activities, including an inception workshop, regional and zonal awareness raising workshops, and invitations to attend PRA training sessions and community meetings.

The Sikkim-India (1995-97) "Development of Small Scale Livestock Activities" project also combined gender analysis with PRA, and added the rapid appraisal of tenure and participatory monitoring. When the project was initiated, Sikkim, one of India's most isolated Himalayan states, had a policy environment in which agricultural policies and programs paid no attention to gender roles and responsibilities. No information was available in the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services Department (AHVS) about gender or age-specific roles in farming or livestock rearing systems. The project trained a small group of mid-level field staff as trainers, using practical, field-based tools for looking at differences in access to livestock production resources by gender and by age. These trainers trained local field staff, and together they conducted PRAs aimed at understanding farmers' constraints, priorities and training needs for goat and chicken husbandry. Policy makers in the Forestry and the Rural Development Departments as well as the AHVS all became interested in the effectiveness of participatory methods for generating gender information relevant to line agency programming and regional planning.

The on-going Tunisian "Policy and Strategy in Favour of Rural Women" project (1996-97) was mandated by government to assist in integrating rural women's issues in the 9th Five Year Plan. In the early 1990s, the government had decentralised decision-making and management to the regional level and encouraged local experimentation with participatory rural development planning. Government's request for a TCP focused on rural women reflected its growing interest in gender-sensitive participatory approaches to agricultural planning. The project developed a participatory survey methodology, using PRA-like MARP tools to generate information on women's activities in three sub-sectors: agro-forestry (the subject of the case study), irrigated agriculture, and fisheries. The tools focused primarily on women rather than on gender differences. Participatory analysis of the data was conducted with men as well as women. In the future, the project plans to formulate credit, training, technological support and group organisation programmes in the sub-sectors where women are most active.

The Costa Rican government explicitly requested the "Support for Women in Rural Areas in a Gender-focused Framework" project (1996-97) to analyse gender issues in order to reduce the gender inequalities experienced by rural women. The agricultural sector was undergoing a series of reforms aimed increasing its competitiveness in the global economy. Policies were initiated to develop participatory extension methods, to encourage negotiating with farmers, and to strengthen rural credit, all aimed at increasing economic efficiency. Government was aiming at a high level of participation, calling for "the active participation of male and female producers and their organisations, in the definition of policies, and in the identification, implementation, monitoring and control of activities". The project, implemented in the Atlantic region, focused on three major areas of concern: i) training technical staff, planners and extentionist to create national capacity and ability to transform the government's concern with gender into effective policies; ii) strengthening both rural women's organizations and public institutions to increase the demand for gender sensitive policies as well as the capacity to develop them; and iii) working at the policy level to identify problems related to the differential impact of policies and programmes on men and women and to develop policies to overcome gender-based inequalities.

The Honduras case study covers a series of related "women's projects" (1983-1997) geared to increase recognition of rural women as agricultural producers and strengthen producer groups in the agrarian reform sector. The projects worked with the National Agrarian Institute (LNA), which is the land reform and land registration agency, and with the Secretariat of Natural Resources (SRN), the government's main vehicle for extension and other agricultural services. In the 1980s there was little or no institutional recognition of women's productive roles in the rural sector, especially in agriculture. The projects thus began with a focus on income generating activities, gradually expanding to include literacy and management training. By the 1990s the effort began gaining institutional recognition of women's need for land and other productive resources. Ironically this change coincided with the advent of structural adjustment which stripped the INA of its powers to re-allocate land and severely reduced the capacity of the SNR to provide technical services like extension. The project reacted by developing a methodology to train rural women volunteers as pare-technicians (promotoras campesinas) capable of helping women plan their own projects, including the organisation and management of savings and credit groups. This methodology was institutionalised over time. The long-term capacity building effort has been directly responsible for the increasing involvement of women in farmer's organisations, and women's NGOs in the policy making process.

In Afghanistan, the Animal Health and Livestock Production Program (1994-1997) began to confront gender issues when FAO amalgamated it (in 1995) with a new project entitled "Promotion of Farmers' Participation through the Implementation of Animal Health and Production Improvement Modules" or PIHAM. PIHAM introduced participatory methods that revealed women's extensive knowledge and role in livestock and poultry rearing and convinced the veterinary staff from the animal health project that without including both women's and men's knowledge about animals, project interventions were unlikely to be effective. PIHAM trained female veterinary staff in participatory methods for livestock extension. They in turn modified the training material to make it more practical for women. The context in which this work has been carried out, however, has been extremely unfavourable. The long period of civil war has wiped out nearly all vestiges of government services in rural areas. As the Taliban forces took over, women's rights to engage in almost any productive activities outside the home have been increasingly abrogated. The project has faced tremendous obstacles in training its female staff, but the women veterinarians have persevered in involving village women in participatory training and livestock monitoring.

From its outset in 1986, the PREVINOBA project in Senegal opted for a strategy of 'popular involvement' to deal with deforestation and erosion in the Groundnut Basin. But the participatory dynamic of dialogue and exchange highlighted the fact that people's concerns went beyond the simple framework of rural forestry. As a result, the second phase of PREVINOBA had a broader mandate to draw up local land development and management plans which aim to reconcile people's interests with policy orientations in the sector, restoration and conservation of the environment, and improved production within a concept of sustainable development. The current phase (1995-1999) puts emphasis on consolidating the lessons learnt for expansion. It aims for eventual control by farmers' organisations, and NGOs, in addition to government structures. PREVINOBA did not set out to focus on women's participation - but the context forced gender issues to be taken into account. The absence of rural men for the greater part of the year meant that women became indispensable actors in the design and set-up of land management plans. The project also responded to the needs identified by women, including improved ovens, millet mills, oil presses, and access to credit and literacy classes.

In Pakistan the "Inter-Regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation" (1993-1997) had separate men's and women's programmes to comply with cultural norms. The women's programme encountered significant resistance from senior management in the Forest and Wildlife Department to the incorporation of gender analysis into its participatory methods. In the end it was obliged to restrict its use of PRA tools to the assessment of women's problems and priorities. Despite severe ecological problems, conservation was a low priority for women, so the project made the organisation of a women's associations the final step in each PRA exercise. It provided training in income generating activities and helped women organise village savings and credit organisations, The project's concern with natural resource management was developed through a series of slide shows to stimulate discussion. Although the women eventually developed the discussion topics and slide shows themselves, it is unlikely that they will have a significant impact on the area's serious environmental problems, primarily because the owners of lucrative orchards are engaging in heavy-duty pump irrigation, an activity that has already severely lowered the water table and threatens, if continued, to force the population to abandon the area altogether.

Summary: the Planning and Policy Environment

The policy and planning environments encountered by the projects varied considerably. It ranged from those that were highly favourable to the introduction of gender-sensitive methods for participatory planning (Namibia, Ethiopia, Costa Rica) to the extreme case of Afghanistan where women's involvement in productive activities has been drastically curtailed. In the early phases of the Senegal and Honduras projects (the mid-1980s), there was relatively little interest in gender roles per se and little concern with supporting women's production or organisation at the government level. This changed in the 1990s when the policy environment in most countries became more favourable to women's issues and to the concept of people's participation. Gender analysis, however, is still not acceptable in certain policy environments, e.g. Pakistan. In some countries, information about gender roles, constraints and priorities is still very scarce Furthermore, in many cases, planners and decision-makers do not necessarily think that participatory planning requires the participation of both men and women farmers, much less representatives from resource limited and minority population groups. This situation does not necessarily preclude an interest on the part of decision-makers and planners in PRA, gender analysis or the analysis of difference, but it does mean that projects advocating gender-sensitive participatory methods must demonstrate their relevance and applicability to planning

Entry points: Determining at what level to start and how to proceed

Planning takes place at many levels:

The projects being reviewed had to decide where and how to "enter" this planning system. This sub section reviews their experiences.

Gender sensitive planning model - Nepal

This diagram illustrates how the Nepal project attempted to facilitate a process of participatory, gender responsive planning at the district level. The project "entered" by training a wide range of district officers and field staff in PRA and gender analysis. PRAs were conducted with separate groups of men and women farmers, both to provide gender-specific information for district planning and to develop Community Action Plans as potential inputs for district planning. By using separate men's and women's focus groups, the project attempted to assure that women's needs and priorities would be represented equally with men's. However, when men and women farmers were brought together to produce a single Community Action Plan (CAP), in most cases women's priorities were overshadowed by men's. As noted in the diagram, the project had planned to organise district workshops where farmers would discuss their CAPs with district planners. This would have provided a direct link to district planning and, if implemented, would have been a "best practice". Nepal was one of the few projects that attempted to forge as direct a link with planning processes. (As mentioned earlier, however, the district workshops were cancelled.)

Ethiopia's client-oriented extension training project began with a participatory approach to the planning of its own activities. The project was jointly designed by the national project coordinator, six national extension experts, and an international extension education adviser. Project staff then prepared materials for a training of trainers (TOT) programme by conducting preliminary PRAs in three regions to provide local examples for an Amharic language training guide entitled "How to make your extension programme client-oriented". The primary entry points were field-level extension agents and farmers.

The entry point for the Tunisian TCP, "Policy and Strategy in favour of Rural Women" was the project's request to the Department of Planning to define its needs for data on women. The project then trained the field workers who made up the research team, conducted a statistical survey to provide data on rural women's productive activities, and engaged in participatory research using PRA methods to elicit information about women's and men's separate priorities for women's economic activities. The Tunisia project seems to be the only one that began by consulting the national planning agency on its needs. It will be interesting to discuss the project implementers' evaluation of the effect of this "entry point" on the planning and subsequent execution of the project.

The Costa Rica project, which was explicitly mandated to use gender analysis to understand and correct women farmers' under-representation in agricultural services, promoted an extensive and participatory process for the detailed review of agricultural policies, including orientations and methods, mechanisms, instruments and institutional regulations. The process was developed with the participation of policy makers, agricultural specialists, NGOs and representative of rural organizations. One of the main characteristics of this project was the modality of undertaking simultaneous action at three levels: community level, working with grassroots organizations and rural workers, at regional level in connection with descentralised agencies from the agricultural sector and local government and at national level with policy makers, national NGOs and representative from the major farmers' organisations, In analysing it's entry point, the case study stresses the fact these activities took place simultaneously since each was seen to have critical feedback for the others. This project is, however, one of the few that conducted a detailed study of policy making before it "entered" the planning system.

Namibia's "Improving Information on Women's Contribution to Agricultural Production for Gender Sensitive Planning" project was executed in tight collaboration with a second project focused on training extension workers in PRA and gender analysis. This provided the project with an obvious entry point, i.e. using the extension agents trained in PRA/GA to collect gender-specific information on the farming systems in the country's four major agroecological zones. The PRAs were expected to produce gender, socio-economic, and location specific information that could be used by national agricultural planners and policy makers who had recently been mandated to integrate women farmers into all policies and programmes

India's Sikkim livestock project began by training agricultural and community development officers as trainers, including training in analytical, problem-solving, and pedagogical skills as well as inter-disciplinary work, participatory methods and gender analysis. The newly trained trainers conducted PRA/GA training for field staff who in turn conducted PRAs in a series of villages with the aim of producing information relevant to the planning of livestock services. Training trainers as an entry point improved prospects that activities will be sustained after the project is terminated.

In Honduras, at project inception in 1983, there were no institutional mechanisms for working with rural women as productive agents. This prompted the project to begin by working directly with rural women, organising small groups to encourage income generating projects for crop and animal production and providing credit for their implementation.

Senegal's reafforestation project's entry point was to work directly with villagers. In most cases however, village authority was exercised by the male village and religious chiefs. Women were traditionally absent, though the eldest were consulted before final decisions were made. But with the backing of village authorities, PREVINOBA was able to build a partnership with village organisations, including women's advancement groups. Given men's absence for most of the year, women were organised into collectives for the majority of reafforestation and cultivation activities, including orchard management. For a few activities, such as the installation of windbreaks, both men and women were involved.

In Pakistan, the staff of the women's programme of the natural resource management project conducted PRA exercises with village women as its entry point for each area in which it worked. Since the PRAs demonstrated that women had little interest in environmental conservation activities, they culminated in the formation of women's associations which planned their own activities, largely income generating projects.

The entry point of Afghanistan's PIHAM project was the training of the veterinarians from the staff of the pre-existing Animal Health and Livestock Production Programme in gender-sensitive participatory rapid appraisal and project monitoring. The participatory work with farmers that followed this training had a major impact on changing veterinarians' attitudes toward farmers in a positive manner.

Summary on Entry Points

The entry points for five of the projects were highly similar - the training of field-level extensionagents to conduct PRA/GA to gather information useful for gender-sensitive planning. The "levels" of planning for which the gender-specific information gathered was intended varied from the national (Namibia, Tunisia), to the district or region (Nepal, Costa Rica), to sub-sectors (Ethiopia, India, Honduras), to the project itself (Afghanistan, Senegal, Pakistan). The Tunisian project was the only one that began with an explicit attempt to involve a planning agency in defining its needs. The Costa Rica project began with a detailed study of policy making processes The highly successful Ethiopia project began with a participatory process of planning the project itself

Tools and methods

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:

5 While PRA/GA methods for generating planning-relevant information is probably very cost-effective compared to standard statistical surveys, it may also need to be supplemented with surveys to verify the frequency of certain findings. These surveys, however, can be more focused and will not need to include issues already clarified by participatory methods. On the other hand, participatory methods require multiple interviews and interactions between government and/or NGO staff and farmers, which can raise the cost of information gathering and also shift it to different line agencies, a process that may create budgetary problems. it is an effective means of involving different groups of farmers in problem analysis and planning.

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.



Name of tool


Social and resource mapping

• indicate spatial distribution of roads, forests, water resources, institutions,


• identify households, their ethnic composition and other socio-economic characteristics/variables.


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.


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


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.


Resources analyses

• indicate access to and control over private, community and public resources by gender.


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.


Decision making matrix

• understand decision making on farming practices by gender.


Venn diagram

• identify key actors and establishing their relationships between the village and local people


Pairwise ranking

• identify and prioritise problems as experienced by men and women


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?

Village maps


What is getting worse?

Wealth ranking


In terms of the environmental, economic, social and political patterns that support or constrain development

Problem Trend diagrams


Institutional (Venn) Diagrams

2. Activities

Who does what?

Daily activity profiles


In terms of the division of labour for productive & reproductive activities.

Seasonal calendars


Mobility maps

3. Resources

Who has what?

Gender resource mapping


In terms of access to and control over resources and benefits.

Decision-making matrices


Income and expenditure matrices

4. Work plan

What should be done?

Identifying problems


In terms providing government services that will be sustainable, effective, and equitable, and in terms of community implemented projects.

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 revealed by choosing repeatedly between alternatives.

Seasonal Calendar Indicating Gender Disaggregated Workload - Nepal

(The vertical axis indicates hours worked per day)



Composite calendar - Participatory Diagnosis with the women of Tbaïnia

Pair-Wise Ranking for Determining Priorities - Tunisia

Women's ranking of productive activities they prefer for themselves




row by column

Vegetable production

Livestock and small livestock rearing

Fruit tree cultivation and fruit gathering

Food processing/distilling

Strawberry production





Vegetable production

Livestock and small livestock rearing







Strawberry production

Vegetable production

Livestock and small livestock rearing

Fruit tree cultivation and forest gathering

Food processing; distilling




Food processing/distilling

Vegetable production

Livestock and small livestock rearing

Fruit tree cultivation and forest gathering




Fruit tree cultivation and fruit gathering

Vegetable production

Livestock and small livestock rearing




Livestock and small livestock rearing

Livestock and small livestock rearing




Vegetable production


Men's ranking of productive activities they prefer for women




row x column

Cactus production

Fruit tree cultivation and fruit gathering

Vegetable production

Bee- keeping

Food processing/distilling

Goat and small livestock rearing



Goat and small livestock rearing

Goat and small livestock rearing

Goat and small livestock rearing

Vegetable production

Bee- keeping

Goat and small livestock rearing




Food processing/distilling

Cactus production

Fruit tree cultivation & fruit gathering

Vegetable production






Cactus production

Fruit tree cultivation & fruit gathering

Vegetable production




Vegetable production

Vegetable production

Vegetable production




Fruit tree cultivation & fruit gathering

Cactus production




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 circumstances: 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 9''' 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 "pare-technicians" capable of supporting women's micro-enterprise 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 interrelated 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 reformation needs to be more directly addressed.

Capacity building: Whose capacities were enhanced and what methods worked best?

In the great majority of cases, capacity building consisted primarily of training for government line agency officers and field workers in participatory methods and/or gender analysis. Projects using PRA/GA methods conducted short introductory training sessions and subsequently trained field officers "on-the-job" during actual PRA/GA village exercises lasting 5-10 days each. Project staff conducted the initial training. In the three cases where a training of trainers (TOT) approach was used (Namibia, India and Ethiopia), project staff trained the trainers who then trained other local area staff.

In Namibia formal training of trainers (TOT) was conducted in three separate sessions spread over the course of the project life. The first TOT focused on the analysis of difference and PRA training, after which trainees conducted PRAs. The implementation of PRA/GA exercises helped trainees gain a clearer understanding of concepts like gender roles, farming systems, and client-responsive extension approaches. During the second TOT the initial PRA findings were reviewed, case studies were prepared for the training of other extension agents, and the trainees were taught basic principles of adult education. The third, initially unforeseen, TOT training on preparing the trainees to conduct the regional-level workshops in which the PRA results were to be shared with policy makers. The use of multiple training sessions interspersed with practical application of the PRAs was key to the success of the project's capacity building efforts.

Ethiopia also used a training of trainers (TOT) approach. Before conducting the first TOT, project staff prepared materials based on local situations, wrote an Amharic language guidebook on "How to Make Your Extension Program Client-Oriented", and produced a video based on the pilot PRAs. The first two-week TOT covered extension, adult education, gender analysis, and PRA. The trained trainers then trained local subject matter specialists and field agents from each project zone. PRAs lasting 8-10 days each were conducted in 5 villages. A second three week TOT session reviewed the PRA implementation experience, improved the training materials, and discussed ways to use PRA generated information in planning extension programmes At this point, it was decided that the trainers should also train the district level extension agents in how to use PRA information to develop their individual work programmes. Although the direct training of field agents in practical extension planning had not been foreseen in the original project plan, the case study suggested that it was, in fact, an essential step in assisting planners and field agents actually use PRA information to make their own planning processes responsive to gender and other differences among farmers.

The Ethiopia case study pointed out that the fact that the project's own internal planning processes had been participatory was a major factor in the success of its capacity building programme. The training objectives, content, location, and length were all planned jointly by the zonal and regional coordinators, the international extension adviser, and the national project coordinator.

The India's Sikkim livestock project also focused heavily on training. It conducted training of trainers for agriculture and community development staff covering problem analysis (factors affecting livestock production), goat and poultry production, livestock marketing, PRA, GA, rapid appraisal of tenure and interviewing techniques. The trained trainers then trained other staff and farmers in PRA and livestock issues. The project also sent staff for training in other countries, i.e. to a course in natural resource management and participatory methods conducted by a Kenyan NGO and to a course in PRA in Ethiopia. At project termination, two key staff had become fully qualified trainers.

Nepal trained a wide variety of district development officers from agriculture, livestock, irrigation, and extension departments. It also trained women's development officers, agricultural development bank officers and a few of the staff from the MOA's Women Farmer Development Division. The 15-20 persons trained in each of three districts then carried out PRAs in 2-3 villages. Lack of time was a major constraint to the effectiveness of the training. Only four days were used to present all the PRA and GA concepts and tools used in the PRA exercises. Given the team's lack of previous experience with these tools, project staff had to take a stronger lead than they wished in facilitating the PRAs in order to assure the production of good quality data. The Nepal case supports the finding in the Namibia, India and Ethiopia projects that a comprehensive training strategy based on several training event is needed if line agencies are to be able to use participatory approaches in their normal work. In Nepal, lack of time to train trainers meant that except for the project trainer himself, there are no MOA staff who can teach PRA/GA methods for agricultural planning or provide follow-up training for the first group of trainees.

Projects focused in specific sub-sectors, such as livestock, extension or women's micro-enterprise, usually conducted technical training for farmers as well as training-in participatory methods. In some cases, projects also focused on training farmers in participatory monitoring (Afghanistan, India) and in methods for strengthening group organisations (Honduras, Costa Rica). Some case study analysts suggested that experience with PRA tools provided farmers with ways of gathering evidence that could help them negotiate with government agencies.

Training in gender analysis for all levels of planners, from policy makers to technicians to women's organisations was a major focus of the Costa Rica project. By giving people at all levels a common language for the analysis of gender issues, the project attempted to maximise joint learning and positive feed back both horizontally and vertically within the planning/policy-making hierarchy. The case study emphasises the importance of conducting training of trainers workshops in order to create national capacity and generate the basis for expansion and replication of the methodological process developed in other regions and institutions. At the end of the project, the WID units and the planning divisions in the various institutions of the agricultural sector started a similar process in order to expand the experience and contribute to the deepening of previous learning.

A key capacity building focus in the Honduras projects was the technical training of village women volunteers as intermediaries between women's groups and extension agents. For this a specific methodology was developed which, when the extension service was privatised, made it possible to train large numbers of rural women volunteers as pare-technicians, who could support women's groups to conduct social and financial feasibility analysis of income generating projects. These volunteers were also trained in the financial and managerial aspects of forming and administering rural savings and credit banks. The training method was made up of "modules" that permitted the trainees to apply what they had learned and then return for the next module when they could compare problems and experiences.

The Honduras project also trained government agency staff in gender analysis. This effort culminated in gender analysis workshops for national and regional agricultural agency directors and for all rural project directors in the country. This is one of the few projects at the workshops that actually conducted training workshops at the agency and project director level.

Given the absence of government institutions in Afghanistan, the PIHAM project training was concentrated on its own staff and that of the associated Animal Health and Livestock Production Programme as well as farmers. Experiences were also shared with NGOs and United Nations agencies. The following table from the Afghanistan case study summarises the effects of tile project's capacity building activities.

Capacities Built at Each Level After the Introduction of PIHAM- Afghanistan




Exchange of experience between women farmers; women realised responsibility of keeping livestock, e.g. mating time; increased ability to record/monitor changes (reporting forms); could record disease patterns and see vaccination time (seasonal calendars); learned importance of talking to experienced women, also that they had a bigger role in livestock management than they thought (labour analysis); were able to identify many causes of problems; solutions based on. resources at hand; easier, cheaper, more effective (input/output charts).


Learned how much women are involved in livestock (labour analysis, seasonal calendars, etc.) and the importance of discussing with them the problems, finding. diagnosis, etc. (discuss with wife); relationship between villagers/staff improved; (see also above under village women for similar capacities gained).


Attitude, behaviours changed towards farmer ("no longer proud"); learned how to talk with people and listen; learned how to give others a chance to talk; worked now from the bottom-up rather than top-down; learned that farmers have important knowledge (all through adult learning methods and PRA methods listening exercises, role plays, etc.)

Veterinary Field Units

Overall improved capacity to understand importance of participatory approaches; learned from initiators (through staff discussions, sharing).


Participatory training skills for key project management (participation in initial training modules); use participatory methods for monitoring and project design (transfer of skills from PIHAM training, e.g. Women's Programme revisions); learned from mistakes and can work with trainers to correct; planning capacity improved overall (through improved understanding of community needs through direct contact and continuous monitoring of PIHAM Pilot and Replication phases); recognise that without the involvement of women, key livestock information is incomplete (through participating in early PIHAM training and. analysis).


Through exchange related to PIHAM processes, became more aware of the farming systems in their area as well as elsewhere; could provide modifications to training (manuals).


Through sharing of PIHAM experiences with other UN agencies, awareness raised of importance of community participation in planning; future potential for sharing of methods with other projects/programmes.

6 Includes both men and women initiators trained to date.

7 Includes to varying extent - Chief Technical Adviser; National Assistant Manager, Livestock Production; National Manager of Animal Health Service.

Summary on Capacity Building

Capacity building in most projects was focused on government and project staff In the e PRA/GA focused projects, the most successful capacity building efforts involved the training of trainers (TOT) who in turn trained field staff and conducted PRAs with their trainees. Successful PRAs were conducted by field staff who had received only 3-5 days of preliminary training in PRA and GA tools, because becoming competent in the use of participatory approaches is more dependent on practice than on detailed theoretical training. On the other hand, further training after conducting a PRA is important to consolidate and further develop participatory planning skills.

Opportunities for trainees to analyse tile results of the PRAs and to adapt its tools and methods to better reflect local realities were important components of training in Namibia, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan. Several projects emphasised the importance of spreading formal training sessions and workshops over time so that intervening experiences could be analysed and integrated into planning processes. The Ethiopia project found that training in specific extension planning procedures was needed to enable field staff to apply what they learned from conducting PRAs to their own work.

The Honduras, Costa Rica, Pakistan and Senegal projects directly trained women farmers in group organisation as well as technical skills. Pakistan also taught PRA, Senegal taught MARP, and Honduras and Costa Rica taught gender analysis at this level (as did the other projects using these methods). Some projects (Namibia; Ethiopia, and Costa Rica) provided informal and formal training at the policy-making and line agency management level.

Gender information: Major findings with relevance for agricultural planning

Many of the projects were implemented in areas in which government staff had little information on gender roles in different agricultural activities, gender-specific constraints on labour time, and gender differences in access to and control over resources. Generally there was no knowledge of gender differences in farmer priorities for government support or training. This section briefly highlights information that the case analysts felt was most relevant for planning.

In Nepal the PRAs revealed that women play crucial roles in household decision-making over the use of land. This information was critical to planning for extension, natural resource management, crops, livestock and forestry departments. The men's and women's mobility maps developed during the PRAs (reproduced on the next page) showed that women did not travel to the Agricultural Sub-Service Centre located outside the village (where agricultural training normally took place), and did not attend the Village Development Committee meetings, go to school or even travel to the health clinic. Discussions of these maps revealed the reasons that women had rarely, if ever, had the opportunity to participate in extension training courses. Women's priority rankings, however, showed that extension and other forms of skills training was their highest priority. This, of course, was vital information for extension programme planners. It convinced them that extension training for women must be carried out in the village itself.

Women's Mobility Mapping - Nepal

Men's Mobility Map- Nepal

In Namibia the PRAs reconfirmed well-known aspects of the gender division of responsibilities - women for crop production, men for livestock. They also revealed that as men emigrate in search of urban work, women are increasingly involved in large livestock management and in other tasks in the "male domain" such as ploughing. Senior managers and policy-makers had not been aware of these changes in the gender division of labour. The new knowledge made it clear that women as well as men need better access to veterinary services, training in range management and improved livestock and crop production, and assistance for ploughing, cattle marketing, and fodder subsidies.

Ethiopia's client-oriented extension training project found that women work double the hours of men in agricultural peak seasons and nearly three times men's hours in the off season. This information convinced extension staff that they must bring extension training to the villages 1 women are to participate. Daily activity schedules also helped extension agents identify the periods of the day when women normally work in groups, thereby revealing when male extension agents can be culturally sanctioned to work with them. Gender analysis of resource control revealed why women have little incentive to help their husbands with field crop production, while priority ranking helped extension agents identify areas in which women would be receptive to extension advice.

In India the PRAs revealed strong socio-economic differences among villages. The sexual division of labour also differed. These inter-village differences underlined the importance of engaging in participatory, locally based extension planning for both livestock and cropping activities. The PRAs showed that even though all household members are involved in goat rearing, young girls are the ones pulled out of school when herd sizes increase. This fact convinced project planners that poultry, which is under female control and requires less work than goats, should be prioritised.

Participatory monitoring showed the advantage of this choice. Women's small earnings from the sale of eggs and chickens allowed them to improve nutrition levels in the household and even to amass enough savings to face most financial emergencies without borrowing from money-lenders.

In Afghanistan the PIHAM project highlighted gender-differentiated roles and responsibilities in livestock management, showing the magnitude of women's involvement and knowledge in livestock rearing. Project staff came to realise that without including both women's and men's knowledge about animals, effective responses to livestock production constraints could not be developed.

The Tunisian PRAs reaffirmed women's important roles in agriculture and natural resource management. The seasonal calendars showed that women tend to diversify the sources of their income just as men do. Men's and women's priorities for women's income generating activities differed somewhat, with men favouring activities that would keep women closer to home, while women gave their highest priority to livestock rearing (including large livestock), which currently takes up much of their time and for which they have mastered the skills. It would be interesting to know how the planners reacted to the differences in men's and women's priorities for women's economic activities.

In Honduras a joint project-INA study provided information about women's land rights and land tenure situation. This prompted the land reform and registration agency to modify definitions of a "producer" and a "farm" in order to incorporate the name of the woman when couples register land, and to give female headed households the right to register land in their own names.

The Costa Rica project revealed the previous under-estimation of women's roles in agricultural production on small farms, commercial farms, and non-farm enterprises in the informal sector.

Summary on Gender Information

PRA/GA exercises generated both well known information on the sexual division of labour and some surprising information on women's roles and responsibilities in what have been regarded as "men's spheres". In many cases, the implications of changing gender responsibilities for involving women in extension programmes previously focused on 'men were obvious. More difficult challenges for planning and policy making resulted from information regarding women's limited land rights and their difficulties in replacing absent husbands due to their lack of socio-cultural authorisation to engage in "male tasks". Nepal's PRAs also produced information that was highly relevant to planning, including the importance of women's decision-making for land use, their nearly total exclusion from extension training, and their emphatic insistence on training for themselves as their number one priority.

In sub-sector focused projects, participatory methods informed by gender analysis provided two types of information: 1) on women's priorities and support needs that can inform line agency programming, and 2) on issues that need to be tackled at higher policy levels, such as women's lack of secure land rights, excessive labour burdens, and limited mobility. Several projects noted that this type of "information from the field" was the most powerful means they had for convincing policy makers and senior managers that participatory methods and gender analysis should be supported as effective and efficient means of providing the information needed for gender responsive agricultural planning

Linkages: How did projects connect with the various levels of agricultural planning?

Namibia provides a series of lessons regarding linkages, some of which demonstrate the positive effect of placing the project within the planning apparatus rather than in a "women's unit". The project was especially well placed to develop links throughout Namibia's centralised planning system because the National Project Coordinator (NPC) was the Deputy Director of the Division of Rural Development Planning. The NPC had played a pivotal role in integrating gender issues into the National Agricultural Policy (NAP) and was clearly supportive. On the other hand, a lack of support from middle management, especially the supervisors of the extension field staff participating in the PRA/GA training and exercises, during the early phase of the project created problems for effective implementation of the PRA training. The project gradually overcame these problems by organising workshops to introduce middle management to the project's objectives and methods and to emphasise their link with the gender policies in the NAP. The information produced by the PRAs and the University case studies was fed into a Gender Action Plan, which itself was later integrated into the National Agricultural Strategy. In its last phase, the project conducted a two-day workshop for senior MOA staff led by the two FAO training consultants who had designed the project's training of trainers. The objective was to produce a clear endorsement of gender analysis and participatory approaches to gender-sensitive agricultural planning, and in this it was strikingly successful. Key to this success was the project's ability to use facts from the field to demonstrate how PRA/GA produces information relevant to the gender-responsive agricultural planning the Ministry was being mandated to conduct. The "Flow Chart of Linkages" from the Namibia case study, reproduced on the following page, illustrates the projects links to national policy making processes.



1. Project staff participate in consultative processes for formulation of the NAP and NAS

2. Publication of the NAP creates an enabling environment for implementation of the projects

3. The Gender Action Plan is discussed with Directorates

4. Project outputs improve the capacity of MARWD to implement the NAP and NAS

The Nepal project created institutional linkages in the form of steering committees composed of the heads of agricultural departments and other agencies at both national and district levels. These committees were not effective for reasons that provide important lessons for other projects. The project's Central Steering Committee, which included the National Planning Commission and the Agricultural Development Bank of Nepal as well as the directors of the MOA's planning division and major departments (an impressive set of policy making and planning agencies), was not used as a forum in which to discuss project strategies or to make major project decisions. As a result, it did not generate serious interest in the project on the part of top management. The District Steering Committees, in contrast, were poorly designed. They should not have been separate entities because the decentralisation process in Nepal already included District Coordination Committees as mechanisms for district level planning. When the project introduced a separate committee, district staff perceived the project as something outside their regular programme of work rather than as a supportive mechanisms for integrating gender-sensitive planning techniques into their normal planning processes.

The Ethiopia client-oriented extension training project created linkages with planners and stakeholders at a variety of levels. Communication between rural clients and the district (woreda) extension staff was promoted through awareness raising workshops. Regional and national workshops established vertical links between extension planners and policy makers at national, regional, and local levels, and with other organisations like Rural Women's Affairs. Links with aid agencies were especially strong: those working in project areas sometimes assisted with the project's PRA training. It should also be noted, however, that donors and NGOs could not be counted on to assist villagers with their Community Action Plans. Each agency had its own program, and none was flexible enough to respond to villagers' "bottom-up" assistance requests. (This echoes the classic difficulty of regional or district planning in reconciling plans from the top with new demands from the base with "bottom-up" planning.) The project also had links with research stations, but was not successful in promoting a strong link between research and farmers - another classic problem for programs trying to promote farmer participatory research.

The project used an innovative approach to dealing with these stubborn obstacles to bottom-up development. It forged links with politicians such as district and local council members. These links were very important, because when district council members were aware of the need to address village level constraints, they could put pressure on government line agencies and local NGOs to assist. Finally, it is interesting to note that project staff felt that the project benefited from not being located in the rural women's affairs department where it might have been taken less seriously by the extension department and other agencies.

The India project was located in the Animal Health and Veterinary Services Department but it also drew the Forest Department and the Rural Development Department field staff into its PRA/GA activities. Using largely informal methods and workshops to constantly raise the issue of the implications of the PRA results for departmental programming and inter-departmental cooperation, the project fostered, apparently for the first time, collaboration at the senior, middle management, and field extension levels across all three departments.

The women focused projects in Honduras participated in three important national bodies: i) the Committee for the Integration of the Rural Woman in the Agrarian Reform, ii) the Commission of Coordination and Development for the Rural Woman, that linked Peasant Organisations, NGOs and government institutions, and iii) the Inter-Institutional Technical Committee that worked to assure a more equal place for rural women in the commercial agricultural sector. The projects' close relationship with the land reform agency, INA, helped ensure that the reform of land tenancy regulations would favour women. Links with government line agencies and rural financial institutions were aimed at ensuring that women would be incorporated in new programmes.

The Costa Rica project promoted an extensive participatory process with the different institutions and organizations involved in rural development: official institutions, NGOs, farmer's and rural women's organizations. Support for rural women project created links with national and sub-sector policy makers by involving them in seminars, consultations, courses, and group work as well as in the formulation of the project's own methods for identifying problems, objectives, and actions. As part of this process, complementary institutional mechanisms for dealing with gender issues were identified by policy makers and senior managers. The project also worked to establish inter-institutional links with the University, NGOs, farmer organisations, and rural labour unions. It assisted women's organisations to form regional federations.

The Tunisia project, created to define a strategy and plan of action for integrating rural women in the 9th Five Year Plan, brought the results of its participatory planning methods to the attention of decision-makers and planners by seeking their opinions about the technical, economic, and institutional feasibility of men's and women's proposals for supporting women's economic activities. Results of the PRAs were also presented to the top leadership of the Department of Forestry and the NGO, ATLAS, in a day long workshop in which both men and women farmers participated.

In Senegal the elaboration of an Area Development and Management Plan (Plan d'Amenagement et de Gestion de Terroir) currently being sponsored by the PREVINOBA reafforestation project expects to involve local development agents from various agencies in a joint planning exercise in the near future. In Afghanistan, the disintegration of former government agencies during the civil war as well as the current climate of political uncertainty has limited linkages outside the two FAO projects to NGOs and United Nations agencies with whom project results were shared. In Pakistan the lack of functioning government agencies in the project area and women's highly constrained mobility inhibited the establishment of links between rural women and government agencies, NGOs and even women in neighbouring communities.

Summary on Linkages

Forging links with policy-making and planning processes at national and regional levels has been a great challenge for most projects. Only the Namibia, Honduras and Costa Rican projects seem to have had a significant impact at the highest levels-of policy making. This is also the aspiration of the on-going Tunisia project. Nepal had-planned strong linkages with district planners, but the severe reduction of the project's life span due to delays in recruiting staff and the cancellation of the planned district workshops meant that these links were only initiated, not consolidated. Projects with short implementation periods had far more difficulty forging significant national linkages than longer projects. Most of the sub-sector projects (i.e. those in livestock, extension, and agroforestry) promoted linkages with policy-makers and managers by organising sensitisation and/or results workshops for senior management at regional and national levels. Many projects also developed horizontal linkages with other line agencies at the district level by involving their field agents in PRA/GA training and implementation and by inviting their senior staff to regional or national workshops. Ethiopia went furthest in developing linkages with non-governmental agencies, especially with aid agencies and local NGOs. These links, while useful for mobilising support for PRA training, did not succeed in convincing donor agencies or NGOs to assist communities with their local plans.

Institutionalisation: Creating an enabling environment for gender-responsive participatory approaches to agricultural planning

The Namibia project experienced the power of official policy to create a more enabling environment for gender-responsive participatory approaches when the National Agricultural Policy (NAP) was published during project implementation. The NAP's emphasis on gender and participation prompted middle level and senior managers to take the project much more seriously. A workshop for policy makers and senior managers on the analysis of difference and other project methods convinced them of the usefulness of these methods to policy making and planning. The project's successful training of trainers in gender-sensitive participatory methods for agricultural planning encouraged the extension service to incorporate PRA and gender analysis training in the annual retraining programmes for extension workers, an important step toward institutionalisation of participatory methods.

The Namibia project's planned final output was to have been an Action Plan for Gender-Sensitive Agricultural Policies and Programmes. The Plan, however, was weak because the actions proposed were too broad to guide actual planning processes; some even lacked gender specificity. This stemmed in part from the fact that inputs for the Action Plan were requested from top management before they fully understood the issues the project was attempting to deal with. More importantly, there was not enough time during the regional workshops to adequately discuss the issues to be included in the Action Plan and to develop practical strategies for dealing with them. Finally, there were no funds to implement the Gender Action Plan (GAP). In response to this situation, the project's governing committee decided to incorporate the best components of the GAP directly into the National Agricultural Strategy (NAS). Since all agricultural planners must follow the guidelines of the NAS, this is a better strategy than publishing a separate Gender Action Plan.

Nepal's final output was also to have been a guide, this time for integrating gender issues in district level planning. Production of the guide, however, was apparently neither fully integrated with the learning taking place in the PRAs, nor based on a thorough understanding of the practices and constraints of district planning. Production of this guide was a top priority for the project's national coordinator (head of the Women Farmers Development Department) because Nepal's top policy makers look to district planning as the conduit to feed information about farmers' needs into the national policy and planning system. The national project coordinator's over-arching objective to influence national level decision-makers prompted her to cancel the planned district workshops to give more time to prepare the national seminar to present the guidelines to top policy makers. This decision eliminated the project's chance to test the reaction of district planners to the results of the PRAs, greatly frustrating project staff as well as the men and women farmers who had planned to present their action plans to district planners. It also eliminated an important means of generating relevant inputs for the guidelines for district planning.

It is possible that even if the district workshops had been held, the Nepal project may not have been able to produce a guide for district planning that was adequately grounded in the realities of district planning to be effective. There are two major reasons: first, with only a year for its implementation, the project had too little time to adequately train district officers and WFDD staff in gender-responsive participatory methods for district planning. Second, there were too few effective links between the project and district planning processes, and no effective link with the FAO supported district planning project. The project's placement in the WFDD rather than in the technical divisions of the MOA responsible for planning kept it too far from the planners it was trying to reach.

In Ethiopia, the case study points out that the project's location in the Extension Division of the MOA rather than in the Women's Affairs Department was important to the good prospects for the institutionalisation of its approach because it ensured that senior extension officers and field staff were the central players in the project. As in Namibia, the policy environment and institutional structure became increasingly supportive of client-oriented, gender-sensitive participatory approaches to extension during the period of the project's implementation. The National Policy on Ethiopian Women was published; women's affairs units were established in all line departments; district and local councils were established to facilitate "bottom up" planning; and a participatory demonstration and training extension system was developed. The project's emphasis on the training of trainers fit well into this new institutional context by giving the extension department the means to train its personnel in participatory client-oriented extension methods.

While these are encouraging developments, the case study emphasises that other changes are needed if institutionalisation is to be fully achieved. First, training in PRA/GA methods and client-oriented extension planning should be part of pre-service training for new extension agents. Second, more trainers need to be trained to extend the client-oriented approach to other regions. Third, better links with agricultural research are required to assist extension in responding to client identified technical problems. Fourth, budgetary and programme changes are needed to permit all line departments to better respond to "bottom-up" demands. Fifth, staff at regional, district, and zonal levels need training in various types of local planning, including extension programming, to help them adjust to the new level of autonomy and decision-making power they are expected to wield under the new decentralization policy.

In contrast to the cases just discussed, the policy environment India's small-scale livestock project was not "enabling" in the sense that there was no formal policy mandate for gender-sensitive or participatory approaches in agriculture. On the other hand, there was also no strong opposition on the part of top or middle management at the Animal Health and Veterinary Service Department to the project's proposal to work with gender analysis and participatory tools. As a result, lessons from the field could be "filtered upward" toward policy makers, bringing gender issues to the attention of senior policy makers in AHVS, Agriculture, Forestry, Rural Development and Planning Departments. The recent appointment of a new generation of directors in AHVS and Planning have created new opportunities to institutionalize gender-sensitive programmes and policies, but the absence of funding is still a serious constraint, especially for the training of trainers who are needed to incorporate project methods in pre-service and in-service extension training.

The progress and problems of efforts to institutionalise gender-sensitive policies in Honduras is a cautionary tale, warning us of the perils, in the era of structural adjustment, of putting all institutionalisation efforts into government agencies (as most projects have done). The story begins with successes. The project's close relationship with the agrarian reform agency had helped effect institutional changes in land distribution and registration that benefited women. Project supported revisions of agricultural sub-sector policies had also begun to assure the incorporation of women in new agricultural programs and had opened up women's access to rural banks. Attitudes in government agencies, which in the mid-1980s had seen development as a masculine affair, had changed significantly, especially among technicians and field agents who had become acutely aware of gender inequalities in access to state services. All this progress was dealt a heavy blow in January 1994 when structural adjustment brought drastic institutional changes. The agrarian reform agency lost its ability to redistribute land, limiting the possibilities for women farmers to obtain new land. The major agricultural service agency was severely reduced in size. Agricultural research and extension for the commercial sector was privatised, leaving very weakened public research and extension services for the small farm sector. "Modernisation" and export stimulation policies privileged the large commercial estates with little consideration for their social and economic consequences for small farmers. In sum, the public sector institutional "space" for the promotion of gender-responsive participatory agricultural planning has been seriously reduced.

The project reacted to these changes by reorienting its activities toward the private sector, focusing on strengthening the capacity for self-management in women's associations and local farmer organisations. In place of its former training of rural women volunteers as "extension linkage agents", it began to train them as "pare-technicians" equipped with organisational development and technical skills to support women's micro-enterprise and rural savings and loan association development. The project also increased its focus on women wage workers in commercial agricultural enterprises by participating in the Inter-Institutional Technical Commission that promotes gender equality among agricultural workers.

In Costa Rica the project worked to develop capacities for gender analysis and gender-responsive planning in a wide range of institutions in the Atlantic region and at national level. The task was facilitated by Costa Rica's recent decentralisation process and by the development of national policies to support gender equality. The project worked to promote the institutionalisation of gender-responsive policy making and planning by: i) training a core group of gender analysis trainers to use a similar approach and to adapt it to different institutional environments; ii) testing the ASEG available material and developing a wide variety of courses and materials for teaching gender analysis to different audiences such as extensionist, planners, educators, rural organisations. etc.; iii) providing agricultural technicians with multi-disciplinary experiences that incorporated gender analysis; and iv) involving high level decision-makers from the Agricultural Sector Planning Secretariat in a variety of project activities.

The Tunisia TCP "Policy and Strategy in Favour of Rural Women" is an on-going project that has not reached the stage of trying to institutionalise its methods, but the author of the case study has made suggestions for increasing the gender-responsiveness of agricultural planning. The Ministry of Agriculture should create gender and development (GAD) units at the central and regional levels. The central GAD unit, with representatives from the planning, finance, extension and training departments, would evaluate the impact of programmes and projects on rural women and develop training programmes in gender analysis. At the regional level, multi-disciplinary teams of district field officers should be developed to plan regional projects using an integrated, gender-responsive participatory approach. The multi-disciplinary regional GAD units would: i) elaborate gender-sensitive terms of reference for project design and implementation missions; ii) define monitoring and evaluation indicators that take account of gender differences; iii) provide information to various departments on women's roles in the agricultural sector; and iv) provide methodological support for the women's extension units.

Summary on Institutionalisation

Namibia and Honduras affected national planning and policy making, Namibia because the success of its methods were well communicated to national policy makers, and Honduras because the project became involved in many national committees and commissions formed to integrate women's needs and priorities into national policies and regulations. After structural adjustment drastically reduced the Honduran government's ability to serve the small farm sector, tire project refocused its efforts to support women's organisations. by training women volunteers to be independent para-technicians capable of training women's groups in organisational management and technical skills. Costa Rica's widespread gender analysis training and its creation of a core of trainers and a set of training materials for diverse audiences will facilitate tire institutionalisation of gender analysis in a wide variety of public and private sector agencies. The existence of a policy environment that encouraged planners and line agency staff to take an interest in gender-sensitive participatory approaches facilitated the institutionalisation of project methods.

The Nepal project's efforts to influence district planning was frustrated by lack of adequate time and resources, but other projects that worked with local extension services, Namibia and Ethiopia, for example, expect to have their gender and difference-responsive, participatory methods incorporated in extension training. India's success in the field improved senior staff perceptions of participatory, Gender-responsive approaches in the livestock, forestry, and community development departments, improving the prospects that the project's methods will be integrated into agency operating procedures in the future.

Both Namibia and Nepal attempted to produce guidelines for gender-responsive planning but neither Namibia's "gender action plan" for gender-responsive agricultural planning for Nepal* guidelines for gender-responsive district planning were particularly successful, in large part because they remain insufficiently grounded in current planning processes. The Tunisia case analyst has provided a number of suggestions for better integrating gender issues into planning that involve restructuring planning agencies. Some projects did not have adequate time to study actual planning processes or to pursue institutionalisation by adapting their methods to planners' practical needs

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