FARA and AWARD: Working Towards a Gender Responsive Agricultural Research for Inclusive, Agriculture Driven Prosperity for Africa.

In an opening remark at the Gender Responsive Agricultural Research and Development (GRARD) workshop organized by African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and its partners on 11th July, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya; Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, the Executive Director of FARA expressed the delight of FARA as the apex organization charged with the strategic role of coordinating agricultural research in Africa, to partner with AWARD to strengthen the commitment and capacity of African research institutions to conduct more gender responsive agricultural research.

Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director of FARA.

The S3A and Gender Responsiveness

On the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A) and Gender Responsiveness, Dr. Akinbamijo stated that the S3A is in its Roll-Out phase with preliminary activities now happening in 42 African countries. This is scaling at work and at such, must be a collective action happening at the same time with all aces on the desk at the same time.

He explained that at a time when the human resources for Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) is waning, it is therefore timely that AWARD is launching the GRARD.

“There could not have been a better synergistic moment. On our part, we are also mapping the capacity dynamics through e-Capacity initiative of FARA. These align very well with the mapping work of AWARD.  FARA believes that without the catalytic role of the science agenda in a gender-responsive manner, the African transformation dream will only be a mirage. This is because the role of science in enhancing agricultural productivity, competitiveness and market access in Africa is too important for it to be outsourced…” -‘Yemi Akinbamijo. 

Further, the Executive Director of FARA stated that AWARD is wired to respond to emerging opportunities and challenges facing the continent and its quest to become food and nutrition secure and improve the welfare of its people. It is also weaving together key networks and stakeholders on the continent and globally reinforcing the capacity of Africa to improve its agricultural science and innovation for food and nutrition security and reduce poverty in compliance with the relevant SDGs.

As a network of networks, supporting African agricultural research institutions is at the core of FARA’s work with scientific research playing a critical role in enhancing agricultural productivity, competitiveness, and market access.  FARA agrees with the foregoing AWARD core values and fully supports its notion that gender responsiveness has potential to enhance agricultural research for Africa’s sustained and inclusive economic growth.  This is because gender responsiveness offers a powerful tool through which agricultural researchers can be intentional in addressing the constraints of African farmers at the margins, especially women and youth.

As one of the four core programmatic thrusts of AWARD, GRARD is geared to respond to the needs and priorities of a diversity of women and men across Africa’s agricultural value chains. Dr. Akinbamijo is convinced that; “gender responsive research is more efficient; it results in more inclusive, better targeted, more relevant innovations with higher rates of adoption. This is a significant point of convergence with FARA values and mission that are heavily laced with gender responsiveness.

Like AWARD, FARA envisions a robust, resilient, and gender responsive agricultural innovation system working to drive prosperity and food and nutrition security for Africa.  Contributing towards this vision AWARD is investing in African scientists, research institutions and agribusinesses to deliver innovative, sustainable, gender-responsive agricultural research and innovation.

Dr. Akinbamijo is personally convinced that AWARD’s new initiative focused on Gender Responsive Agricultural research and Development (GRARD) will actively catalyse transformative change in African agricultural research by supporting African research institutions and scientists to conduct agricultural research that responds to the needs and priorities of a diversity of men and women across agricultural value chains.

He sees AWARD as the continent’s leading knowledge hub on gender and agricultural research; so partnership with AWARD offers FARA access to the leading innovation and thought leadership on the subject.

“As such, FARA is proud to partner with AWARD as we work together to ensure inclusive agriculture driven prosperity for the African continent…”. he said.

As a tailpiece, he encouraged the participants that the close of the workshop is the beginning of a new zest of life in Africa’s AR4D spectrum. He charged AWARD members and workshop participants to work assiduously to lace up African AR4D in a gender-responsive manner.

Go out there and Be Calm: spread the #genderword, Be Calm: be #gendersmart, and Be Calm: be #genderresponsive…” he concluded.

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