Comments re the implementation of behavior change approaches based on recent primary research in rural Malawi.
The effectiveness of tools to bring about behavior change and overcome the root causes of gender inequality strongly depends on how they are implemented. Even the most proven and well-designed tool can have a limited impact on people’s lives if it is not matched with local capacity in terms of skills and resources to implement and monitor it. Across several of the poorest districts in Malawi, the Household Approach is being implemented through the public agricultural extension service. An important lesson learnt, in a context with limited local capacity, includes the need to monitor the trade-off between quality (of implementation and impact) and quantity (number of households reached).
Comments re male outmigration based on recent secondary research into gender roles in rice farming systems in the Philippines. (Key sources in research: Paris et al, 2010, Interrelationships between labour outmigration, livelihoods, rice productivity and gender roles; Asian Development Bank, 2013, Gender equality in the labor market in the Philippines)
In the Philippines, more women have migrated away from rainfed rice farming systems than men and roughly equal proportions of men and women have migrated away from irrigated rice farming systems. Where the outmigration of men has led to de facto female headed households, women’s workloads have not necessarily increased thanks to income from remittances used to hire farm labour. Women are more likely to face problems accessing key inputs and extension services. Meanwhile, it is reported that when women migrate, the men left behind often find it difficult to take on responsibility for domestic chores and care work.
Jeanette Cooke, Consultant, Italy