RTB develops partnerships with US universities for gender research


by Evgeniya Anisimova

We are happy to cross-post this blog story by the fellow CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB ) on the new partnerships promoting gender research. PIM is supporting the piloting of the tool to measure intra-household income allocation mentioned in the blog, under the leadership of Dr. Kayte Meola.

Lisa Anderberg from Clark University will be the first graduate student to conduct gender analysis directly with a biological scientist working in the RTB Research Program as part of a new partnership between RTB and various US universities. Anderberg will join an RTB project in Laos led by CIAT researcher Kris Wyckhuys, while working under the guidance of Professor Cynthia Caron also at Clark University. The initiative, born in late 2014, aims to strengthen the gender responsiveness of research in RTB crops while providing field opportunities for graduate students and collaboration with faculty. 

“I am glad to see these partnerships develop and to welcome our first students on board,” says Kayte Meola, RTB gender focal point at CIAT and AWARE Visiting Fellow at Cornell University, who is leading the initiative. “There is so much to gain on both sides. Through working with universities, RTB will increase its capacity to conduct gender research while graduate students will have the opportunity to gain field experience in collaboration with professional researchers throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America. Currently, we are working with six US universities and the University of Cordoba in Colombia but the door is wide open for universities from other countries to join us.”

Meola has already worked with two graduate students to develop a tool to measure intra-household income allocation, which could be useful for any RTB project that aims to increase household income in an equitable fashion. The idea was inspired by a CIAT project on using cassava residue to make pig feed in Vietnam, in which household income is a desired outcome. University of San Francisco student Philip Jakob has been working with Meola on the tool since September and is currently preparing to test it in Colombia in January. That pilot will be supported by Profesora Teonila Aguilar Jiménez and a team of students at the University of Cordoba, Colombia, who will assist in the field work. Djeinam Toure, a PhD candidate at Cornell University, will also join Jakob on that pilot in Colombia, and after refining the tool further; she will re-pilot it in Nigeria in the spring, in collaboration with Holger Kirscht, RTB focal point at IITA, and Hale Tufan, project manager of the Next Generation Cassava Project (NEXTGEN) at Cornell University.

Tufan and Meola organized a meeting of gender specialists at CIAT headquarters in Cali, Colombia on October 14-15 that brought together gender experts and biophysical scientists from the RTB centers, the University of San Francisco, Pennsylvania State University, Cornell University, Clark University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Florida.

The participants examined the prospects for providing research and professional experiences for graduate students in RTB’s many projects across Asia, Africa and Latin America. They also discussed ways that universities can strengthen RTB’s gender work, and how university faculty might interact with RTB in a strategic way.

Read the full story here

The Partnership is open to additional universities. Contact Kayte Meola at c.meola@cgiar.org for more information.

This initiative is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), In 2014, USAID provided RTB with funds under its “Feed the Future Program” for supporting collaborative research between scientists in the U.S. and CGIAR research programs, concentrating on senior researchers and university faculty and their students. 


Photo credit: RTB, the original post.