Gender and development People

Posted February 1999

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FAO Project sheet: Nepal

Project Title: "Improving information on women's contribution to agricultural production for gender-sensitive planning"
Project duration: 18 months (January 1996 - June 1997)
Executing agency/agencies: FAO
Implementing agency/agencies: Ministry of Agriculture (Women Farmer Development Division)
Project cost: US$ 124,000 (Government of Norway)


Although much work has been done to integrate a gender perspective in recent Agricultural and Development Plans, agricultural sector planners and extension personnel rarely take rural women's needs into consideration. This means that agricultural training and services do not reach women with serious repercussions on food security and agricultural development. In many cases, planners lack information about the important role that women play in agricultural production and household food security. But more often than not, they don't know how to learn from women farmers about their activities nor how to respond to their needs. To address this problem, FAO designed the project "Improving Information on Women's Contribution to Agricultural Production for Gender Sensitive Planning" and launched it in three pilot countries: Namibia, Tanzania and Nepal. The aim of the project was two-fold: (i) to improve information on the situation of rural women and men; (ii) and to involve them in local planning processes in the agricultural sector.

Participation was a key component of the project both in terms of (i) involving rural people in information collection and planning processes: (ii) and in training the people who are responsible for the planning and delivery of agricultural services on how to work in a participatory manner with women and men farmers. The specific task of the project in Nepal was to test and refine a participatory methodology to incorporate gender concerns into agricultural planning from the grass-roots to the district level. Its main objective was to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture to promote, support and monitor gender sensitive planning at the district level in order to improve current knowledge of the type of training and support services that are required by rural women.

Specific changes resulting from the project

What was planned

What was the strategy

The main thrust of the project was to involve men and women farmers in selected communities in each of Nepal's three distinct agro-ecological zones, as well as district level planners and agricultural outreach staff, in a gender-sensitive planning exercise. District level staff was trained in gender analysis and participatory rural appraisal tools to learn how to identify both women and men farmers' needs. The trainees then had the practical experience of carrying out gender sensitive PRAs in designated villages, with the purpose of working together with the villagers to develop community action plans. Following the PRAs, district level planning workshops provided an opportunity for the participants to present their findings and discuss their community action plans with district level planners. Based on the experience of these planning exercises in the three pilot districts, the Women Farmer Development Division - FAO's main counterpart on the project - developed guidelines for gender sensitive planning at the district level. The project ended with a National level workshop with high level policy makers and Ministry staff to discuss these guidelines and to encourage their adoption into the overall planning processes of the Ministry.

Who was involved

Several stakeholders among which, the Women Farmers Development Division and other Ministry of Agriculture staff at the district and national level, plus the villagers in the nine villages where the PRAs took place. Planners and agricultural field staff at both the district and national level.

Replication/spin effects

The project was an experiment. Its purpose was to see how participatory and gender sensitive planning processes could work in Nepal. It is hoped that the lessons learned from this experiment will be used by the Ministry of Agriculture and by FAO in other needs-based planning programmes and exercises.

What was learned, factors contributing to success

About PRA tools and methods:

About capacity building:

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

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