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Community Contribution

Ex ante evaluation of improved cassava varieties on gender relations in Migori district, Kenya


Describe The Approaches Utilized To Measure / Assess This KM Initiative: 

The approaches involved the testing of a gender-sensitive ex-ante evaluation tool as a result of a gender training workshop held at the Regional Research Centre. The testing of cassava varieties on-farm was already on-going, but an ex-ante evaluation had not been included at the initial project phase. The research team considered it still appropriate to obtain farmers' perception in an early stage of the trial. The tool proposed was a modified Gender Analysis Matrix (GAM). Researchers had not yet gained practical experience with the use of this tool. The GAM developed by Parker has four levels of analysis (men, women, household and community) and four categories of analysis, i.e. the potential changes in labour, time, resources and socio-cultural factors. Together with the community (both men and women, or if necessary in separate groups) the matrix is filled in. For each level (women, men, etc.) the impact of the intervention on each category is assessed. For the modified Gender Analysis Matrix, two levels were identified (men and women, but specifying adult and young) and the following categories of analysis were considered: labour, time, tools, land, cash, funds, food and social standing. Changes as a result of the introduction of the technology were to be reported in an increase or decrease in the access and control of the resource, using arrows. The assumption behind the ex-ante evaluation was that improved varieties may have other demands on resources than those presently used by farmers and that improved varieties will result in increased cassava production, which needs decisions to be taken on use of inputs and produce. This may involve and affect men and women differently. A farmers' workshop was organized in 1997 by a multi-disciplinary team consisting of an entomologist, extension agent and a socio-economist. Researchers developed a checklist for data collection. A total number of fifteen farmers, all involved in the on-farm trials, attended the workshop and farmers were asked to give their views on what would happen to the resources mentioned if new cassava varieties were adopted. Responses were summarized in terms of arrows and put by researchers into the matrix.

What Do You Think Are The Main Unanswered Questions Or Challenges Related To This Field Of Work?: 

One of the challenges is the inexperience of researchers with the use of the tool, which resulted in a not optimal facilitation, which may have affected the degree of farmers' understanding of the exercise. There is a need for more detailed information to be collected to help explain farmers' perceptions. The participants evaluated the varieties, using parameters (proposed by researchers and added upon by farmers). It is not clear whether the resources in question were answered adequately using the matrix and this could be an area to explore and discuss further with other professionals in other parts of the world.

What Was The Purpose Or Motivation For Assessing This KM Initiative? : 

To document the development and testing of a gender-sensitive tool for impact evaluation of agricultural technology appropriate to conditions in Kenya. This tool, a modified Gender Analysis Matrix (GAM), was tested by researchers from Kisii Regional research Center during an ex-ante evaluation of introduced pest-resistant cassava varieties in one site.

What Were The Most Important Lessons Learned About The Assessment Process?: 

The GAM may be a very useful tool in various phases of the technology development cycle or the Farming Systems Approach. In the planning phase it may help in comparing the existing situation with a possible new situation, if the right criteria are used. The collecting dimension should involve linking people with information, capturing and disseminating of explicit knowledge with connecting dimensions linking people with people - specifically people who need to know with those who do know, and so enhancing tacit knowledge flow through better human interaction and communication processes, so that knowledge is widely disseminated. The project must have included sufficient resources in planning activity to cater for all the phases of collecting information and training for other risk management processes. A strong position must be taken by project management to enforce participation of all stakeholders in the process. Validation of the tools and input data required to be done early in the life cycle of the project. It is crucial to make sure the sponsor is involved in the project, and that the team understands the difference between the project sponsor and the project manager. Possible effects on men and women identified during the planning phase should be monitored. The approach and the related data were perceived difficult to understand, and not addressing ‘the right issues’ and therefore there are different assessment situations where different approaches are needed. It is important to learn the technology components early and feedback lessons learned as the most important stage of evaluations.

What Would You Do Differently Next Time?: 

The criteria to be included in a GAM could be left open for discussion by farmers and researchers and use the option of leaving the spaces to be filled more open and classify changes after initial brainstorming. The original GAM can be used to gain more relevant information and use more time for the exercise. The financial resources spent in the exercise were limited and if given the opportunity, this can be done accurately and within enough time and obtain more points of view of men and women on expected changes separately by including the right criteria knowledgeable to them.

Describe The KM Initiative: 

For research and development managers to be accountable, there is need to show impact of past investments, in order to maximize social and economic impacts. Impact assessment has become a major step in the planning and implementation of R&D programs, and monitoring of on-going projects has become an important internal management tool. Ex-ante evaluations address the question of the economic and socio-cultural feasibility of a proposed technology. They help to identify the most promising technology options to be tried out during the experimentation phase. When used in a gender-sensitive way, ex-ante evaluations assist in determining possible impact of technologies on gender and highlight reasons for adoption and non-adoption. This case study documents the development and testing of a gender-sensitive tool for impact evaluation of agricultural technology appropriate to conditions in Kenya. This tool, a modified Gender Analysis Matrix (GAM), was tested by KARI researchers from Kisii Regional Research Center and during an ex-ante evaluation of introduced pest-resistant cassava varieties in Migori district. Eight aspects of cassava production--labour, time, tools, land, cash, funds, food and social standing were included in the matrix. These and other results obtained directly from farmers and analyzed using the GAM during the exercise gave researchers a clear understanding of differential impacts of this new technology on men and women farmers and shows that involving gender with different knowledge and learning processes can help to understand the technology better and discusses the utility of this gender-sensitive approach in ex ante impact of this and other technology.

What Advice Would You Give To Others Based On Your Experience?: 

The advice I would give to others is to make any evaluation as simple as possible keeping in mind the target groups we are working with and this should be done right from the initial phase of an intervention and not somewhere in the middle of a project cycle. This may result in collecting information that is not relevant or incomplete. This cycle should be accompanied by monitoring and evaluation in order to effectively capture both men and women’s knowledge and learning processes to effectively tap information for technology uptake. The recommendations should be put into action by adjusting the technology.

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