ANNE GICHANGI: The GREAT gender course really transformed the way I do my work, the way I address issues, the way I look at farmers when I work with them, the way I handle the farmer groups, the different gender within the farming systems. And from this trainings, I started noting the shortfalls that we had when doing our research.
--farmers work together--
They came to realize that there was a missing link between whatever research that we do and how we disseminate our findings, or our technologies, or how we train even these farmers, how we introduce the technologies. Because initially, it's like we were working for the man farmers, leaving aside the women farmers.
SPEAKER: To grow [INAUDIBLE] crop or manage a crop is--
ANNE GICHANGI: We went to the farmers. And we started sensitizing them about gender, how they should do their farming in a gender-responsive manner, and why they should incorporate everybody in the community in a gender-responsive manner.
And so we have already started reaching some farmers. And the farmers, the farm households that we have reached have really changed. Because it's very interesting that women were not getting about what men were doing, and they even didn't mind when these men were losing. Why? Because they were not benefiting. They thought they were not benefiting from whatever these men were getting from their hard work. And so these men also didn't realize that incorporating these women in whatever they were doing, they are going to benefit.
And actually, after sensitizing them and training them on gender-responsive, good farming practices, they have started reporting that so many positive things are happening. Men have started appreciating that they have to involve women in whatever they do. Women have started appreciating that they have to be knowledgeable. They have to be knowledgeable in whatever is happening in their country, in the farming system, and everything that surrounds them.
And for sure, the areas that we have tried to finish it, things have changed. And now, women are empowered. Women are starting to realize that there was a missing link in their households and that many quarrels that came about, it was because of that disconnect. You see? That men were doing things without involving their wives. And even within the communities, things were happening within the communities, and women were not informed.
That GREAT is a very important program for researchers in this center. And after going through the course, it will transform the way research will be done and even the way farmers do whatever they do.
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Anne Gighangi of the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) discusses how her team is leading workshops to empower women in farming communities near Njoro, Kenya. Gender courses led by Cornell’s Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) program and attended by Cornell’s Delivering Genetic Gain in Wheat (DGGW) teams are changing attitudes for a growing number of smallholder farmers in East Africa and empowering women to take on a greater role in household farming activities.