How ASARECA plans to link the GREAT gender project to National Agricultural Research Systems

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Participants during one of the GREAT activities. (Photo from Great website)

Following the formalization of a partnership agreement for the implementation of the Gender-Responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) project in January 2017, ASARECA is on course to foster an enabling environment for GREAT fellows to undertake gender-responsive research. This activity effectively starts in March 2017. ASARECA will work with GREAT fellows to plan meetings and identify ongoing events where fellows can present their findings as case studies. It is also expected that the GREAT fellows will present their results during the annual and semi-annual research seminars at institutional level.


ASARECA started providing unwavering support to GREAT in 2016 by facilitating training of participants, especially in the area of Communities of Practice and institutional transformation towards gender responsive research.  ASARECA has also provided mentoring support in the pilot phase of the project and additional technical backstopping curriculum development.

What is GREAT

GREAT is a five-year project aimed at equipping agricultural researchers with the skills, tools and theory to address gender issues in their research projects.  This is focused on a vision to equip researchers to create more inclusive and effective agricultural systems by addressing the priorities of both women and men in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Fellows drawn from institutions

The GREAT approach is centered on training courses that are tailored to specific disciplines and value chains, offering gender training linked to practice in agricultural research, drawn from beneficiaries’ own ongoing projects. Through these courses, GREAT equips research teams with tools and skills to act and move beyond “gender sensitization. Researchers attend GREAT courses in project teams from research institutions across Sub-Saharan Africa. GREAT also aims to foster supportive institutional environments and policy, creating an enabling environment for gender responsive research in SSA.

To ensure these efforts live for generations, a Centre of Excellence is being created at Makerere University, Kampala in Uganda to make sustainable gender responsive research and training a sustainable undertaking.

The objectives of GREAT are:

  • Objective 1: Makerere University becomes a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for gender-responsive research and training in SSA 
  • Objective 2: GREAT Fellows demonstrate gender-responsive practices in their research
  • Objective 3: The GREAT community of practice actively fosters information exchange, dialogue and collaboration on gender-responsive research
  • Objective 4: Selected national and international agricultural research institutions support gender-responsive research.

ASARECA is directly responsible for objective 4, which is about fostering an enabling environment for GREAT fellows to undertake gender-responsive research.

Creating impact

As part of GREAT training, fellows will use their own institutional contexts as subjects of study and will generate plans for change in their own institutions. The gender integration framework (CAW, 1999) has been adapted to guide institutional strengthening. This framework looks at four main pillars – technical capacity, political will, organizational culture and accountability.

Discussions were held with the gender leaders at ISABU-Burundi and NARO-Uganda in 2016 with a view of establishing priority needs in institutional capacity for undertaking gender-responsive research.

Providing leadership

The project plans to report on the incentive structure for selected institutional leadership support of GRR in Burundi, Ethiopia and Uganda. The project plans to undertake an analysis of the funding streams for Burundi and Uganda to inform discussions with leadership of the institutions. ASARECA will provide leadership in conducting key informant interviews with Directors of Research for the NARIS.

Engage GREAT with people who matter

Given its leverage on the NARIS, ASARECA will syndicate the participants with the top research leadership in Burundi, Ethiopia and Uganda, Nigeria and Tanzania through the ASARECA Board meetings, besides paying on-site visits by PIs. The PIs could be offered access to relevant sessions of ASARECA Board meeting to discuss opportunities under GREAT and One-on-one engagement with director Generals of Burundi and Uganda.

GREAT will undertake gap analysis of the institutional environment for gender responsive research and finalise action plans for Burundi and Uganda; and initiate Ethiopia and Nigeria. This will involve developing a standard survey instrument, uploading it on survey monkey and providing support to GREAT fellows to follow up administration of the tool; and linking partners AWARD and Makerere University to the national Agricultural Research Systems to understand and access information on the current institutional environment for gender responsive research.

Develop policy options

Review or better still, formulate at least one policy instrument relevant to gender responsive research in Burundi and Uganda. To achieve this, ASARECA will arrange meetings to agree on priority policy actions related gender responsive research; identify a task-force to work with GREAT fellows; and identify in-country gender specialist to backstop team.

Package structured strategic messages through policy briefs, notices, presentations, fliers and share them at institutional level to trigger/support and institutional change process. This will be achieved by sharing templates for policy briefs and other communication products.

Information sharing

ASARECA will lead a process to produce a synthesis report on the status of gender responsiveness in ISABU and NARO. This will be shared in ASARECA and partner newsletters and websites. This will also contribute to packages that could be used for fund raising.

In the end, a synthesis report on the status of gender responsiveness in ISABU and NARO will be produced. The report will be based on the institutional assessment results. This too will be shared through ASARECA and partner newsletters, websites and during Board meetings.


Date Published: 
Wednesday, 22 March 2017