Look forward to the report Mar and to learn from the successful examples you mention. Recognising and addressing unpaid care work is clearly central to addressing the issue of malnutrition in South Asia, as despite new technologies as well as a host of nutrition interventions including take home rations, unless women have the time to cook and regularly feed the young child, the problem is unlikely to disappear. We often tend to look for technical solutions, rather than addressing the social issues including norms that tend to reproduce existing inequalities.
Contributions for 通过妇女赋权转变农业中的性别关系：改善营养成果的益处、挑战和权衡
Hello, re. the questions, especially Q2, I would like to bring two hopefully useful sources to your attention:
1. FAO just finished a 5-year research and advocacy initiative (the IMCF project, http://www.fao.org/nutrition/education/infant-and-young-child-feeding/en/), whose aim was to explore the relationship between agricultural diversification, food security and nutrition education and nutritional outcomes of young children. The project assessed at community level the impact on young children’s diets and nutritional status of linking agriculture and nutrition education. The research was carried out in Cambodia and Malawi, by following two FAO food security projects which added on a nutrition education component. The research component was led by Justus Liebig University, Germany, in collaboration with Mahidol University in Thailand for the Cambodia project and Lilongwe University in Malawi.
The lessons learned have been compiled into a document, which includes the experiences of other UN organizations, NGOs and academic institutions doing similar work. The resultant document is meant for programme planners and managers working to ensure that agricultural production and raised incomes have a greater chance of being translated into improved nutrition outcomes for families in low-income countries, with a specific focus on improving the nutrition of children aged 6–23 months. (http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/nutrition/docs/education/infant_feeding/Programme_Lessons.pdf)
I would like to highlight one point from the above programme lessons, which I don’t think I’ve seen mentioned yet on the forum. In order to see nutrition outcomes, projects will need to target families with young children. The FAO projects found that despite best efforts, the overlap between households that received the food security intervention and those receiving the nutrition education component was very low. Targeting in both Cambodia and Malawi projects focused on households that are traditionally eligible for agricultural support, i.e. male farmers, established female farmers or male and female members of farmers’ cooperatives. So families with young children were not automatically included. Despite being a FS project, availability and access to nutritious, affordable foods remained a major constraint for adequate complementary feeding practices, highlighting the urgent need for food systems diversification.
2. A paper we (FAO nutrition education group) wrote a few years ago: Wijesinha-Bettoni R., Kennedy G., Dirorimwe C. & Muehlhoff E. (2013) Considering Seasonal Variations in Food Availability and Caring Capacity when Planning Complementary Feeding Interventions in Developing Countries. International Journal of Child Health and Nutrition, 2, (4), 335–352. It looked at how seasonal pressure on women’s time negatively impacts cooking and caring practices and intra-family food distribution (in addition to looking at the impact on seasonal food availability). The paper was based on experiences from FAO food and nutrition security projects in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Laos and Zambia which began with formative research using Trials of Improved Practices. In the discussion, some practical ideas for incorporating coping strategies for dealing with seasonal effects when planning such food and nutrition security interventions are presented.
Malnutrition in women escorts to economic losses for families, communities, and countries because malnutrition reduces women’s ability to work and can create ripple effects that stretch through generations. Even if it’s not realized, women serve as back bone of farming sector in Pakistan. It is of great importance to ensure optimal health of women especially during pregnancy and lactation. Women at child bearing age need protein, iron, and other micronutrients to meet the body’s increased demands. But usually they suffer from iron deficiency anemia, protein energy malnutrition, iodine deficiency; they have low serum calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin A levels. As a result to that, not only their lives are endangered but malnutrition poses a variety of other threats to them. It weakens women’s ability to survive childbirth, makes them more susceptible to infections, and leaves them with fewer reserves to recover from illness. Increase the problems of maternal morbidity and mortality. More than that the infants born to them are at higher risk of malnutrition and their lives remain in danger as well. To eradicate factors causing malnutrition in women, first step should be to empower women at family and community level and to make their community family members realize the importance of their health and nutrition status.
The Centre for Gender Concerns Kerala Agricultural University and Centre for Development Studies have done pivotal studies on Women Self Help Groups. The web site of KAU and CDS carry research result on the women self help groups. The livelihood security along with high purchasing power have made members of self help group independence in exercising even their much valued franchise during elections. There are many members in local government who are also members of women self help groups. Many are important opinion makers. The women self help groups are provided by power tillers, threshers, weed cutters, bailers, coconut climbers and even computers for accounting etc. They are involved in programmes like backyard poultry, kitchen gardens, nutrition gardens and now in organic farming. They are also involved in food processing industry. Care of the aged, family nursing and now in many areas which were in men's domain. Each police station in Kerala is provided with a women legal counsellor to render legal help to needy women clients. Wearing of uniforms to make them distinct has added positive power for distinction and separate identity. All above facts have not transformed the traditional role as a dependant of men.
The migrant labourers are highly welcome to Kerala especially in agriculture. MATHRUBHOOMI a Malayalam News Paper has written in its editorial pages the contributions to Kerala Economy. Migrant labourers do not drink liquor as compared to local Keralites. Bans work during Sundays in cities where migrant labourers make sizeable number. There is study on migrant labourers in Kerala. One bad event here and there are only aberrations in social life. Please see the article in MATHRUBHOOMI on line.
I just completed research on unpaid care work dynamics and market systems programmes. While it didn’t target nutrition directly, the implications of the research are clearly linked to it. We have identified the key factors that often undermine women when unpaid care work is heavy, excessive or invisible, within value chain programmes, and the consequences for both the agriculture value chain and for women of not addressing these. Unpaid care can intersect often with agriculture or nutrition related programmes or policies through impacts on time, mobility and agency:
· Time: the more that women increase or decrease time in one sphere directly affects the time available in others.
· Mobility: some women’s responsibilities can limit their mobility and ability to, for example, find stable employment.
· Agency: if unpaid work is not seen as contributing, it can lead to women’s limited control over resources or undermine their self-esteem.
Our research highlighted the need to address the problematic aspects of care provision if we are to generate sustainable changes that support women’s economic empowerment. We also explored tools to understand this, and more importantly, strategies to address it, highlighting the potential of using systems thinking to facilitate change following participatory processes.
The report is not published yet, but it will offer a range of pathways for programmes to facilitate changes to address problematic aspects of unpaid care work, including how to influence norms, through a combination of short- and longer-term changes that contribute to the long-term vision. A key recommendation is to combine interventions to directly address unpaid care, with others that support changes in the agricultural value chain to adapt to existing care responsibilities can be an effective approach. There are successful programme examples that show how, by combining short-term changes or 'quick wins' (e.g. increased recognition of care or adapting market activities to care) with longer-term changes, the underlying constraints can be addressed, even those that seem challenging, such as influencing social norms.
You can find more information about our work here: https://beamexchange.org/practice/research/womens-economic-empowerment/unpaid-care-work/ or contact me, as we will publish the report very soon
It is important to realize how far the women themselves value their involvement in agriculture to achieve better nutrition. In Bangladesh it is mostly found that women are although engaged in producing local vegetables, fruits or poultry rearing in their homestead, they hardly count it as an important pathway to contribute to their income or nutrition. Even men who act as the key decision maker in such a context less often acknowledge or realize the importance of women’s contribution in this process. It is important to understand those of the social factors through undertaking rigorous research to help in generating guidelines for context relevant policies.
You may find the ECHO Tropical Video Series (Part 2 of 6) - Grafting Tropical Fruit Trees and Avocados to be useful. It can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BbSjTVEDCc, click on the > in the far right hand column of the uploads area to get to the video. You can also do a search using keywords Colombia, youtube, papaya, Cordoba
For a success story see article "Colombia launches new project to boost papaya exports", Campesinos de Cordoba exportan papayas a Canada"
Adding on to the point made by Nitya on gender sensitization of agriculture graduates, engendering the curriculum of agriculture universities will be a good starting point and has to be actively pushed for. The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation and Kerala Agricultural University had collaborated on preparing course material on these lines more than a decade ago: However, uptake is proving to be a slow process.
Another area is policy for women in agriculture, taking into account the multiple roles they play on the farm and on the home front. Government officials responsible for delivery of entitlements related to agriculture at the village level have to be gender sensitive.
The title to land is in most cases in the man's name. A woman farmer in spite of shouldering a lot of the work on the land, cannot get access to agriculture schemes in her name. In the process, widows of farmers who commit suicide are oftentimes left at a loose end.
A Women Farmers' Entitlement Act is very much needed.
Digital technologies provide a powerful tool for sharing and accessing information, including on health and nutrition. There seems to be a lot of diversity even between villages in one area, Joanna, from your experience, is this right? Are there divisions of caste or class that mediate access to mobile phones and indeed to information? Are there particular groups where women are not allowed to go to the markets, for instance? In Puducherry, I found women freely using mobile phones to contact wholesaler suppliers of pulses and tamarind at a time when prices were high to see if they could benefit from some form of collective/wholesale purchase. We definitely need more research and understanding of the role digital technologies can play, but also specific constraints that restrict women's access and use. Please do share any papers you may have done on this theme.
There is much activity around digital agriculture, with one of the key technologies being the use of mobile devices to bring better information to rural communities.
But rarely do I see the gender angle being mentioned with the digital revolution and the huge gender bias in digital technologies.
Internet users in India were 71% male and 29% female, as of Oct 2015. Mobile penetration rates for women are 28% while they are 40% for men.
A week ago I visited 2 villages. As usual a large group gathered and were very polite an engaging. In the first village I asked who had mobile phones. All the men put up their hands clasping their phones. Not one women had a mobile phone. When I asked about this they said they could not afford to own more phones – so obviously the men had first rights to the access to information and communications.
However I was inspired in the second village where I met extremely active Self Help Groups and the vast majority of the women had mobile phones and some even smart phones.
My point is to bring the dimension of the digital technologies and the digital divide into solutions as the new technologies can give access to important knowledge in health and nutrition and connecting this to agriculture.