Gender mainstreaming in rural extension services: a case study from the Honduras-PAAR Project
Cases related to management and training
The National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), launched in 1987 as an autonomous society under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, is responsible for organizing effective management of the state and central government’s agricultural extension and other agricultural management systems. Offering consultancy, management training, management education, management research and information and document services, it strives to provide support and services to farmers and fisherman using sustainable practices. As such, MANAGE has been the pioneer in starting a one-year post-graduate program in Agricultural Extension Management, and a two-year post-graduate program in Agri-business Management.
Under the Government of India's policy to promote self-sufficiency by institutions, MANAGE hopes to generate internal resources sufficient to cover all operational costs, which until now have been funded by the government. The MANAGE mandate is centered in the following:
- Developing linkages between prominent state, regional, national and international institutions concerned with agricultural extension management;
- Gaining insight into agricultural extension management systems and policies;
- Forging collaborative linkages with national and international institutions for sharing faculty resource;
- Developing and promoting application of modern management tools for improving the effectiveness of agricultural extension organizations;
- Organizing need-based training for senior and middle level agricultural extension functionaries;
- Conducting problem oriented studies on agricultural extension management: and
- Serving as an international documentation center for collecting, storing, processing and disseminating information on subjects related to agricultural management.
- Assisted six states in implementing the World Bank-funded National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP);
- Helped to make the policies and programs of the Central Ministry of Agriculture operational through workshops and interactions, so that the capacity of the states can be enhanced to meet the new challenges;
- Implemented a one-year diploma course in agricultural extension services for input dealers (DAESI) to enhance the capacity of these dealers, so that they may act as para-extension workers.
Other than MANAGE, the Government of India has four Extension Education Institutes which are regional training organizations. Also the Government is establishing State Agriculture Management and Extension Training Institutes (SAMETIs) at state level.
The National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (2007). Click here to download it.
The Agricultural Management Training in Africa (AMTA) was started in the 1980s by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank's Economic Development Institute (EDI), with the Organization of African Unity/Scientific, Technical and Research Commission (OAU/STRC) as the regional sponsor and clearing house. The objectives of AMTA include providing training materials and methods for training agricultural sector managers, improved short term performance of agricultural development projects, increasing awareness of policy issues among senior government officials, and organizing administrative procedures affecting the implementation of agricultural development projects.
- AMTA has succeeded in realizing its broad aim to introduce a management training methodology appropriate for African conditions. Basic curriculum and materials developed by AMTA are adaptable to the training needs of widely differing African countries. Refinements of the curriculum to fit national needs have been made based on a more rigorous Needs Assessment Survey (NAS), and more selective use of training materials.
- AMTA has introduced a method that combines individual and team training for selected management techniques. This has been executed effectively through residential courses, seminars, non-residential workshops and on-the-job applications.
- About 85% of participants feel that AMTA achieved most of their objectives, particularly those concerned with extending leadership skills, greater job satisfaction, team work and career development opportunities.
- AMTA has trained about 411 project managers, senior staff and procurement specialists, reaching its original goal of 408.
- Number of trainees has been lower than originally planned (25 instead of 48).
- AMTA has solely emphasized its attention to managers and senior staff, coming short of sufficiently involving senior officials who are responsible for the policy and administrative apparatus of agricultural sector and project management.
- Too little attention has been paid to AMTA's achievements and potential by the Project Operations' staff of the three sponsoring institutions (AfDB, World Bank/Economic Development Institute, and IFAD). Having been excluded from the operational mainstream of project design and implementation, AMTA has therefore had limited effect on projects.
- There is no firm commitment by regional and national training institutions, despite their role in adopting the AMTA curriculum and methods, and there are not enough participants to keep AMTA going unless it continues to be internationally financed.
IFAD. 2007. Agricultural management training in Africa. Click here to order it.
In a Trinidad and Tobago case study, several suggestions are put forward to overcome gender-based inequities in society, namely:
- that women’s groups make greater efforts to be aware and informed at all stages of the planning of regional programmes, projects and activities with gender applications (Gumbs, 1990);
- that women become more involved in external marketing (Saul, 1990); and
- that curricula be adjusted in tertiary educational institutions to reflect the needs of women employed in the agricultural sector (Fletcher-Paul et al., 1990).
This study also draws attention to the relationship among:
- unpaid invisible work by women in agriculture;
- underestimation of the contribution of the informal sector to agricultural development; and
- inappropriate planning and development approaches (Paul 1998).
Paul notes the importance of establishing mechanisms that emphasize integration and coherence of policy formulation, planning and decision-making at macro and micro levels and, at the same time, incorporate gender analysis methodology as a vital and necessary component of the planning process. In short, extension agents must be aware of the need for gender-sensitive research agendas and education and training curricula, as well as for careful analysis of women and gender issues in extension programmes at policy, planning and operational levels. Agent training, discussed in this module, is also imperative with regards to gender issues.
In India, self-help groups work to create women’s farm cooperatives. These women’s co-ops are especially interesting, Swanson notes, because of women co-op’s tendencies to “organize vertically across socio-economic lines” (Swanson, 2006). In this way, educated women deal directly with agencies and the whole organization benefits, including illiterate members from lower social classes
Gender mainstreaming in rural extension services: a case study from the Honduras-PAAR Project
In Honduras, a gender methodology has been adopted at the Fund for Upland Producers (Fondo de Productores de Ladera – FPL), part of the Rural Land Management Project (Proyecto de Administración de Areas Rurales – PAAR), which is responsible for providing rural communities with agricultural and rural development technical assistance and extension services. PAAR contracts NGOs and private consulting firms to provide technical assistance, which covers diverse productive and domestic arenas such as agriculture, animal husbandry, credit cooperatives, community organization, environmental education for children, home improvements and traditional home economic activities.
Training modules, presented in the form of workshops, have been implemented by PAAR to systematically train agricultural extension providers on gender issues. The training sessions are directed by gender specialists or coordinators who have a clear terms of reference and extensive experience applying gender analysis to agricultural extension work. Financial support of gender-related activities by gender specialists has been possible because of alliances built with other coordinators in the PAAR.
The success of implementing agricultural and rural extension training methodology, and its degree of openness to new ideas, particularly with respect to gender, is partly given to the design of the discussions, which focuses around the concept of family. Few oppose the central role of families in the community and in agricultural development, and, consequently, most extension agents have assimilated the idea of providing technical assistance to whole families, rather than only men.
The PAAR gender methodology consists of 5 steps:
- identification of the gender division of labor;
- identification of the supply of extension services;
- identification of the demand for extension services;
- micro-planning for the delivery of extension services; and
- monitoring and evaluation.
The first allows local men and women to become aware of the present division of their daily tasks by gender. The second and third steps are centered upon identifying which extension services require the most attention and are within the means of the extension agents to offer, and which services are needed more for women or men. The fourth step deals with the details and logistics of extension service delivery. The implementation of gender issues in extension services are then documented in the final step by service providers.
Ruiz Abril M.E. & Strochlic, R. Honduras. 1997. Land Administration Project, Staff Appraisal Report, 02/28/97. Click here to order it.