Posted February 1999
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Good practices in gender mainstreaming and implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action
Project sheet: The Gambia
Project Title: "Improving Extension Services for Women's Livestock Production"
Project duration: 5 years
Executing agency/agencies: FAO
Implementing or co-operating Agency/agencies: Ministry of Agriculture of Gambia: Department of Livestock Services
Project cost: US $ 644,400 (UNDP);
D 099,364.00 (in kind, Government contribution)
The Gambia, with a population estimated at 860,000 and a per capita income of US $300, is one of the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. About two-thirds of the population live in rural areas, deriving their livelihood from subsistence farming, livestock and the cultivation of groundnuts primarily for export. Women play a prominent role in the farming system providing between 30% to 50% of the agricultural labour and own approximately 70% of small ruminant and poultry flocks.
In Gambia, small ruminant and poultry management is based on traditional village systems . Small ruminant and poultry management activities experience high mortality and low productivity combined with yearly epidemics of PPR (Peste des Petits Ruminants) and Newcastle Disease. For women farmers, these problems are further aggravated by socio-economic factors that prevent them from acquiring new inputs. Extension services for small ruminants and poultry owners is extremely poor and one of the contributing factors is the lack of mobility of livestock assistance and the absence of appropriate accommodation that is suitable to the needs of female livestock assistants.
The following project aims at assisting the Government of Gambia in realising its objective of diversifying agricultural production and productivity by improving the management practices of women farmers in small ruminants and poultry production. In the process, the high mortality of small ruminants and poultry will be significantly reduced. The project is envisaged to have significant impact on the economic and nutritional status of women farmers in Gambia.
Specific changes resulting from the project
- Improvement of the income status of women farmers.
- Amelioration of household nutritional intake and food security.
- Improvement of the capacity of the Department of Livestock services of Gambia in providing extension services for women.
- Increase of the productivity of small ruminants and poultry as a result of reducing mortality from PPR and Newcastle Diseases by 45% nation-wide in 5 years.
- Development and publication of a comprehensive extension manual on small ruminants and poultry.
- Establishment of an expanded programme of exchange of country experiences.
- Amelioration of the marketing of small ruminants and poultry products.
What was planned
To enhance the capacity of women farmers to better manage the production of small ruminants and poultry and promote the use of feed resources as a supplement through the use of improved extension services.
What was the strategy
- Training of one female Veterinarian, 180 livestock Assistants (50 of whom are women) of the Ministry of Agriculture of Gambia; and 60 (majority of whom are women) extension workers of NGOs in providing extension services for women farmers in poultry and small ruminant production by professionals from the Department of Livestock Services.
- Three female members of staff would be trained in animal Health and Laboratory Technology up to Diploma level (training to be financed by UNDP).
- Four divisional laboratories (Kerewan, Mansa Konko, Brikama and Yoro Beri Kunda) rehabilitated and equipped with diagnostic facilities to offer back up facilities for the extension staff at divisional level.
- Selection and construction of 30 demonstration sites (5 on DLS station and 25 in compounds of Women Farmers) in strategically located villages to ensure maximum coverage.
- Senior staff of the Department of Livestock Services and Consultants to prepare training materials and review of information gained from existing pilot programmes which provide the raw material for a comprehensive extension manual.
- Organization of study tours for small ruminant producers to Senegal and poultry producers in Burkina Faso, respectively, for 20 female extension staff and 20 female farmers beginning year one of project execution.
Who was involved
The Government of Gambia requested UNDP assistance in the strengthening of the extension services for women's livestock production. The Department of Livestock Services under the Ministry of Agriculture of Gambia was responsible for livestock development with FAO's assistance. The project also built on the experience of a UNDP funded project, and an EEC funded Poultry Programme, executed by the Department of Livestock Services.
Replication of the project in large areas of Africa and West and South Asia is under consideration by FAO.
What was learned, factors contributing to success
- Importance of village level participatory approaches.
- Importance of adequate timing for project activities and marketing planning.
- Importance of strategically located demonstration sites.
- Importance of involvement of women extension workers to surmount religious and social obstacles.
For more information, see also: AGAP Service FAO Rome-Italy.
For more information, contact:
Women in Development Service
Women and Population Division
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100, Rome, Italy
Tel: +39.06.5705.5102 Fax: +39.06.5705.2004