“Participation among women is low because of the demands on their time”, says an extension agent in one Africa RISING community in northern Ghana. “Mostly when I go, they are away at the stream, clinic, market”, he continues. In spite of this, key informants in a recent Africa RISING gender study described female farmers as eager to learn about agricultural innovations. As one Magagyia (female traditional leader) explains: “The pain is on the women. So when they hear of any help, they are serious to do it to alleviate their poverty. We can’t joke with things that concern food”.
This is only one result of a broader qualitative gender investigation Africa RISING commissioned in its target communities in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions. Key questions were gender differences in the evaluation of new agricultural practices and in access to information and learning. Furthermore, the researchers examined how men and women’s access and control over productive resources impacts the adoption of Africa RISING technologies.
The findings not only reveal inequalities that need to be taken into account in the project’s activities, but also avenues through which Africa RISING can make change happen: The latter are for instance the use of preferred and accessible information channels or an emphasis on crops that transgress gender allocations such as maize. Whereas other staple crops such as millet are regarded as “male”, maize has not yet received a gender allocation. Therefore, the adoption of high yielding, short maturing maize can be seen among more women, since it reduces their dependence on men.
Download the full report including recommendations for Africa RISING’s future activities in Ghana’s northern regions.