Tag Archives: uganda

Measuring women’s empowerment in agriculture – a new tool

Photo: IRIN

A new tool for measuring women’s empowerment in agriculture should have good applications in the aquaculture sector also. The index was developed through a partnership between the US Agency for International Development (USAID), IFPRI and Oxford University’s Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI). Using 5 criteria, it measures the empowerment of women in agriculture and in their own households.  The criteria cover:

– how engaged women were in decision-making about agricultural production

– their access to resources and how involved they were in resource-related decision-making

– the extent to which they controlled how income was used

– whether they were able to have a leadership role in the community; and

– how they used their time.
The new measuring tool was tested by cases in Uganda, Bangladesh and Gualemala.

The case studies (2 for each of the countries) can all be downloaded at:


Oxford University, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative

According to the IFPRI press release:

“The pilot results show some surprising new findings:

  • In the sample from the Western Highlands of Guatemala, wealth is a poor indicator of empowerment—three-quarters of women in the wealthiest two-thirds of the population are not yet empowered.
  • In the southern Bangladesh sample, more than half of women are less empowered than the men with whom they share their house, yet they are usually confident speaking in public.
  • In the sample from rural parts of Uganda, lack of control over resources and time burdens contribute most to the disempowerment of women.”

Uganda fishing communities: study on HIV/AIDS rates in women and men

HIV and syphilis prevalence and associated risk factors among fishing communities of Lake Victoria, Uganda

By Gershim Asiki, Juliet Mpendo, Andrew Abaasa, Collins Agaba, Annet Nanvubya, Leslie Nielsen, Janet Seeley, Pontiano Kaleebu, Heiner Grosskurth, Anatoli Kamali

Link (access required for full paper) http://sti.bmj.com/content/early/2011/08/10/sti.2010.046805.abstract

Correspondence to Dr Gershim Asiki, Medical Research Council Research Unit on AIDS, Uganda Virus Research Institute, PO Box 49 Entebbe, Uganda; gershim.asiki@mrcuganda.org

This large study is one of the first to study HIV/AIDS, syphilis prevalence and risk factors in women as well as men in fishing communities, many previous studies having only focused on fishermen. An extract from the abstract follows:

Objectives Recent publications suggest that fishing populations may be highly affected by the HIV epidemic. However, accurate data are scarce. The authors determined HIV and syphilis prevalence and associated risk factors in a fishing population of Lake Victoria in Uganda.

Conclusion This fishing population characterised by a very high HIV prevalence, high syphilis prevalence and frequently reported sexual risk behaviours, urgently needs improved STI services and targeted behavioural interventions.

For one of the first papers to highlight the high rates of HIV/AIDS in some fishing communities, see Mary Huang’s paper in the proceedings of the AFS 1st Global Symposium on Gender and Fisheries (p 49-53 in http://www.worldfishcenter.org/resource_centre/WF_328.pdf) and Williams (2008) (http://www.palgrave-journals.com/development/journal/v51/n2/pdf/dev20082a.pdf – access required: author contact MerylJWilliams@gmail.com)

Influencing change, gender mainstreaming

Recommended reading!

Guinea pig farmer, DR Congo. Photo: CIAT

Influencing Change: Mainstreaming Gender Perspectives in Agricultural Research and Development in Eastern and Central Africa.”

Edited by: Barun Gurung, Elizabeth Ssendiwala, Michael Waithaka

Link to download publication

Part of the CGIAR Particiaptory Research and Gender Analysis Program, the project from which this very useful report came sought to influence the policies of agricultural research and development systems, while improving implementation and delivery of services directly benefitting vulnerable groups, such as poor women, through improved targeting. It wanted to develop mechanisms in national agricultural R&D institutions for making gender an explicit criterion for programming and effectiveness, and to enable the organizations to think more deeply about gender relations, away from the earlier “add women and stir approach”.

The researchers identified four challenges:

1. the limitations of the R&D institutions to effect real changes in social relations of their constituency groups, the small scale farmers

2. the tendency within the R&D institutions to define gender mainstreaming only in instrumental terms (investment in women has high pay-offs) and subsequently focus narrowly on emphasizing women’s visibility and their capacities and needs. This instrumental approach to mainstreaming emphasizes reliance on ‘tool kits’ and ‘checklists.’

3. the ‘logic of bureaucracies’ or how bureaucracies react to new challenges. When a new challenge is posed, the bureaucracy’s response will be determined by the level of threat or opportunity. When it comes to gender equality or women’s rights, both the opportunity and threat are low.

4. the culture of organizations is influenced by the larger society in which they are situated.

The project developed and trialed approaches to gender mainstreaming for meeting these challenges in agricultural R&D institutes of the following East African countries: DR Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

For fisheries and aquaculture specialists, the Introduction and Project Evaluation chapters will be of most interest, unless you work in one of the project countries, in which case you will find your country chapter also of interest.