There is often a general belief that men can’t cook or do housework. We wanted to show than men can cook nutritious food - hence take care of the household when women go on training courses...
Together with the local Farmer’s Union, Youth Union and agriculture extension, we (ICRAF Vietnam) organized a cooking competition for men on the Vietnamese women’s day. We chose this day because normally the women are the ones who do performances for others. This time we thought they should enjoy themselves, watching their men competing for the MasterChef with other villages.
There were criteria for the competition can vary. We set a maximum cost, a meal to feed four, and only use local products. In this way we discovered the variety of what is grown in the village, that farmers normally forget to mention in household surveys. We published a bi-lingual cookbook with the favorite recipes from each village: http://www.worldagroforestry.org/region/sea/publications/detail?pubID=4150
We also organized nutrition awareness campaign for school children.
You can read more about the event in the blogs:
The cooking competition was part of CCAFS-funded projects on climate-smart agriculture and climate-smart villages.
More can certainly be done to improve it all, including the cookbook, however most important - get started! Overall the participants were happy and have been asking for another cooking competition. One point here was for women to have fun on Women’s Day – if we were to organize it all again, we would invite both women and men.
We look forward to see other examples of other gender-equal activities!
Elisabeth Simelton, PhD
Dr. Elisabeth Simelton