Crosscutting Gender, Partnerships, and Capacity Building

Woman with water container at well. Sri Lanka. Photo © Dominic Sansoni / World Bank

PIM's Gender Work

The World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development argues that gender equality is a core development objective in its own right and also significantly contributes to economic development. This is especially the case in the agricultural sectors of many developing countries. Men and women alike contribute to agricultural growth, to decisions on management of investments on the farm and in the household, and to use of the natural resources that affect sustainability. Constraints based on gender that limit how rural men and women interact with each other and with their environment impede attainment of CGIAR’s strategic goals. Accordingly, gender work is a core part of PIM’s portfolio.

PIM’s gender strategy was approved by the CGIAR Consortium Office on March 1, 2013. PIM conducts strategic gender research on selected topics, and also develops and applies new tools and methods to enhance work on gender in all flagship projects. PIM’s work addresses questions related to gender imbalances in access to assets, technology, markets, and support services, as well as gender differentials in agricultural productivity and incomes and the distributional impacts of technological and institutional innovations.

Key examples of this work include:

At USAID, we use the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index to support implementation of the US Government's global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. We especially appreciate the emphasis that PIM gives to gender work and applaud the design team’s openness to learn and adjust to field conditions. The Index and the emphasis on analyzing sex-disaggregated data more broadly create new evidence on how best to break through gender-based barriers to growth. Rob Bertram, Chief Scientist, Bureau for Food Security, USAID

GAAP created an opportunity to dream big. This project represents a shift away from a focus on just income towards research on how agricultural development interventions are likely to affect the gendered distributions of assetsAgnes Quisumbing, GAAP leader, senior research fellow, IFPRI

  • Best practices in collecting sex-disaggregated dataBy developing guidelines to improve the collection and analysis of sex-disaggregated data on issues of importance to CGIAR, PIM is working to narrow the gender knowledge gap. In 2014, the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network approved a set of guidelines drafted under the leadership of PIM to inform collection of sex-disaggregated data. The work on collection of sex-disaggregated data includes experiments on how to best to frame questions and whom to interview. To support this work and enable an idea exchange in the interested community, we launched EnGendering Data, a blog on collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data.


PIM researchers collaborate with many partners to achieve their objectives. Most partners fall into one or more of four categories: research, outreach, implementation, and finance. Research partners join a shared effort, often on a contractual basis, and bring complementary skills such as field presence, knowledge of the local environment and players, or experience with innovative research techniques. Outreach partners take the research results and disseminate them widely to relevant audiences and constituencies. Implementation partners apply results to improve the programs they are funding or executing. Financial partners provide resources to support the program and its activities. Some of PIM’s partnerships operate on the global level, others on the national or local level.

In the most effective partnerships, all four types of partners work together to pursue common goals. For example, in the work of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), with the support of PIM, the Centre is exploring innovative ways to help farmers acquire some of the specialized skills required for successful agroforestry, such as raising seedlings in a nursery or pruning trees. They have evaluated a number of outreach approaches: farmer-to-farmer activities, use of volunteer farmer trainers, support for model farmers and demonstration farms, and establishment of rural resource centers. To understand what approaches work well under what circumstances, a collaborative research group has planned and implemented a randomized controlled trial to examine the impact of volunteer farmer trainers on the uptake of improved dairy practices in Uganda. Colleagues from Makerere University (Uganda), Heifer International, ICRAF, and the Paris School of Economics each brought complementary skills to the task. The studies’ findings were incorporated in a program design used widely in East Africa.

In another example of partnership for impact, PIM’s researchers on social protection have worked closely with the Ethiopian counterparts and development partners through several rounds of evaluation of the large, nationwide Productive Safety Nets Program that was put in place following the serious drought of 2002.The research has led to both adjustments in implementation of the program and innovations in design, as a successful example of partnership between researchers, national operational staff, and donors.

PIM is a large program with many partners, and an exhaustive listing of partnerships would be long. In order to assist research teams in selecting partners and to maintain records on ongoing partnerships, the PIM management unit has developed a partnership template as part of the annual reporting cycle. The partnership database assists in ex post evaluation of the relevance of the work and provides feedback to key partners by polling on a selective basis.

Capacity Building

PIM builds capacity in several ways: by establishing research teams that include both senior and junior staff from a range of institutions; by developing tools and methods, and training people to use them; and through outreach activities including conferences, workshops, and symposia as well as publications and interviews. Many of the research projects involve graduate students from the developing world. For example, the research on value chains for high-value products in Asia includes a number of Indonesian graduate students on the team, and many have presented and shared results in work­shops and seminars. Many publications developed under PIM are used in training programs in universities in the developing world. Notably, PIM sponsored a session of contributed papers on “Research for Impact” at the annual meeting of the African Association of Agricultural Economists held in Tunisia in September, 2013.

The African Growth and Development Policy Modeling Consortium (AGRODEP) project, facilitated by IFPRI with support of PIM, provides technical and financial support to a growing number of African researchers. As of September, 2013, AGRODEP had 118 members; the project’s collection of datasets and models con­tinues to expand. Members receive training on topics covering data methods and estimation and simulation models, and have received research grants for innovative research. The Consortium launched a working paper series and a technical note series in 2012. Participants in AGRODEP are well integrated into the teaching and research establishments of their home countries, and are thus able to use their modeling skills for analysis of policy issues under debate.

Much of PIM’s outreach work to media and policymakers serves to enhance the capacity of the public’s under­standing of important agricultural issues. For example, the researchers working on the Program for Biosafety Systems (within the flagship project on science policy) work with their Asian and African national counterparts to interact with media and policymakers to explain the technical issues associated with regulatory management of biotechnology.