Monday, 6 June 2011

Filling our tools box; 3 tools to support gender sensitive value chain development

On May 25, 2011, APF Kenya organized a half day workshop on looking at agricultural value chains from a gender perspective.

The 30 participants represented NGOs, the business sector and higher educational institutes. Mike Muchilwa from SNV was the facilitator and I the resource person on gender and value chains.

Six groups practiced with three tools:
  1. Selection of value chains. This tool allowed for scoring several value chains on 2 sets of criteria related to (1) market growth potential and (2) potential to contribute to empowerment of women and gender equality. An excel sheet assisted the users to make a final choice.
  2.  Gender Mapping of a value chain: This tool assisted in drawing a value chain map using colored cards and markers including numbers of men and women in different nodes (also the invisible ones) and remarks on special constraints faced by women.
  3. The last tools aimed at revealing the distribution of costs and benefits of the process of upgrading a value chain. E.g: more work for women in weeding (costs) and more income (benefit) for men

Afterwards participants talked about the inherent subjective nature of the analysis and the need to do this type of analysis with a variety of actors. It also became clear that this type of participatory analysis is to be supported with desk studies and research. Several groups mentioned that the tools had revealed problems, but not their causes let alone what to do about it.

APF is currently developing a toolbox, to answer a variety of questions which arise in the different stages of a programme aiming at support to value chain development. The toolbox aims at making already existing tools better accessible. The tools will be made available in adjustable formats (Word, Excel etc.).

We stressed it several times, but I can not be stressed enough, ‘tools’ do not intent to provide the ultimate answer, or the one and only approach. Remember a tool is as good as the professional using it. It was a pleasure to facilitate this workshop, especially the fact that using the tools raised again questions to be answered. Great! Because learning does not start with the knowledge, but with asking the right questions!

Angelica Senders (Fair and Sustainable Advisory Services/ ICCO)