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Malawi

Smallholder Farmers and Climate Smart Agriculture: Technology and Labor-Productivity Constraints amongst Women Smallholders in Malawi

Citation:

Murray, Una, Zewdy Gebremedhin, Galina Brychkova, and Charles Spillane. 2016. "Smallholder Farmers and Climate Smart Agriculture: Technology and Labor-Productivity Constraints amongst Women Smallholders in Malawi." Gender, Technology and Development 20 (2): 117-48. 

Authors: Una Murray, Zewdy Gebremedhin, Galina Brychkova, Charles Spillane

Abstract:

Climate change and variability present a major challenge to agricultural production and rural livelihoods, including livelihoods of women small- holder farmers. There are significant efforts underway to develop, deploy, and scale up Climate-Smart Agricultural (CSA) practices and technologies to facilitate climate change adaptation for farmers. However, there is a need for gender analysis of CSA practices across different farming and cultural systems to facilitate adoption by, and livelihood improvements for, women smallholder farmers. Climate change poses challenges for maintaining and improving agricultural and labor productivity of women smallholder farmers. The labor productivity of many women smallholders is constrained by lack of access to labor-saving technologies and the most basic of farm tools. Poorer smallholders face a poverty trap, due to low agricultural and labor productivity, from which they cannot easily escape without access to key resources such as rural energy and labor- saving technologies. In Malawi, the agricultural system is predominantly rainfed and largely composed of smallholders who remain vulnerable to climate change and variability shocks. Despite the aspirations of women smallholders to engage in CSA, our research highlights that many women smallholders have either limited or no access to basic agricultural tools, transport, and rural energy. This raises the question of whether the future livelihood scenarios for such farmers will consist of barely surviving or “hanging in”; or whether such farmers can “step up” to adapt better to future climate constraints; or whether more of these farmers will “step out” of agriculture. We argue that for women smallholder farmers to become more climate change resilient, more serious attention to gender analysis is needed to address their constraints in accessing basic agricultural technologies, combined with participatory approaches to develop and adapt CSA tools and technologies to their needs in future climates and agro-ecologies.

Keywords: climate change, women smallholders, labor productivity, participatory technology design, agriculture, economic growth

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2016

'Gender Hates Men': Untangling Gender and Development Discourses in Food Security Fieldwork in Urban Malawi

Citation:

Riley, Liam, and Belinda Dodson. 2016. “‘Gender Hates Men’: Untangling Gender and Development Discourses in Food Security Fieldwork in Urban Malawi.” Gender, Place & Culture 23 (7): 1047-60.

Authors: Liam Riley, Belinda Dodson

Abstract:

This article examines the social construction and contestation of gender and gender roles in the city of Blantyre in Malawi. In fieldwork on gendered household roles related to food security, interviews with men and women revealed a distinct set of connotations with the word gender, which reflected Malawians’ historical and contemporary engagement with concepts of development, modernity, and human rights. We denote the Malawian concept of gender as gender in order to distinguish the word participants used in interviews from the more widely accepted conventional definition. We then use this distinction to highlight the ways in which ideas of gender equality have been introduced and received in the Malawian context. The urban setting of the research is key to drawing out the association of gender with Westernization, bringing into focus the power dynamics inherent in the project of translating global discourses of gender rights and gender equality into meaningful social change in developing countries. Gender in Malawi denotes a top-down (and outside-in) process of framing Malawi’s goals for gender equality. This creates political constraints both in the form of resistance to gender, because it resonates with a long history of social change imposed by outside forces, and in the form of superficial adherence to gender to appear more urban and modern, especially to a Western researcher. Local understandings of gender as gender undermine efforts to promote gender equality as a means to address Malawi’s intense urban poverty and household food insecurity.

Keywords: gender, development, postcolonial feminism, urban, qualitative research, Malawi

Topics: Development, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2016

Cook, Eat, Man, Woman: Understanding the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, Nutritionism and Its Alternatives from Malawi

Citation:

Patel, Raj, Rachel Bezner Kerr, Lizzie Shumba, and Laifolo Dakishoni. 2015. “Cook, Eat, Man, Woman: Understanding the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, Nutritionism and Its Alternatives from Malawi.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 42 (1): 21-44.

Authors: Raj Patel, Rachel Bezner Kerr, Lizzie Shumba, Laifolo Dakishoni

Abstract:

The Group of Eight Countries (G8) launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition to improve nutritional outcomes through private sector involvement in agricultural development. The accession of Malawi to the Alliance reveals the assumptions behind the intervention. We show that while the New Alliance may seem to have little to do with nutrition, its emergence as a frame for the privatization of food and agriculture has been decades in the making, and is best understood as an outcome of a project of nutritionism. To highlight the failings of the approach, we present findings from the Soils, Food and Healthy Communities Initiative in northern Malawi, which has demonstrated success in combatting malnutrition through a combination of agroecological farming practices, community mobilization, women’s empowerment and changes in intrahousehold gender dynamics. Contrasting a political economic analysis of the New Alliance alongside that of the Soils, Food and Healthy Communities Initiative shows the difference between a concern with the gendered social context of malnutrition, and nutritionism. We conclude with an analysis of the ways that nutrition can play a part in interventions that are inimical, or conducive, to freedom. 

Keywords: New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, agroecology, nutritionism, gender, Malawi, africa, food security, food sovereignty

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Gender, Political Economies, Privatization, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2015

The Role of Gender Norms in Access to Agricultural Training in Chikwawa and Phalombe, Malawi

Citation:

Mudege, Netsayi N., Norita Mdege, Putri E. Abidin, and Sandra Bhatasara. 2017. “The Role of Gender Norms in Access to Agricultural Training in Chikwawa and Phalombe, Malawi.” Gender, Place & Culture 24 (12): 1689-710.

Authors: Netsayi N. Mudege, Norita Mdege, Putri E. Abidin, Sandra Bhatasara

Abstract:

Based on qualitative research conducted in Chikwawa and Phalombe in Malawi, this article discusses how gender relations shape men and women’s access to and participation in agricultural training. It also examines how men and women justify or challenge gender inequalities in relation to access to agricultural information and knowledge. Data on gender and recruitment to and participation in training, barriers to training and access to information as well as farmer to farmer extension models were collected and analysed. A gender relations approach, focusing on power and inequality, was used to analyse the data. The data shows that the perception of men as household heads and women as carers or helpers who are also illiterate and ignorant often has implications on women’s ability to access training and information. Negative stereotypical perceptions about women by their husbands and extension workers militate against women’s access to training and information. Institutional biases within extension systems reproduce gender inequality by reinforcing stereotypical gender norms. Extension officers should be targeted with training on gender responsive adult learning methodologies and gender awareness to help them be more inclusive and sensitive to women’s needs.

Keywords: agriculture, extension, gender, gender relations, Malawi

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2017

Seed Struggles and Food Sovereignty in Northern Malawi

Citation:

Kerr, Rachel Bezner. 2013. “Seed Struggles and Food Sovereignty in Northern Malawi.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 40 (5): 867-97.

Author: Rachel Bezner Kerr

Abstract:

In this paper I use seeds in Malawi as both an analytical lens and an empirical focus of study to examine how food sovereignty is threatened or enhanced in a particular location and time. I argue that while food sovereignty was eroded for smallholders through neoliberal reforms to the agricultural system, community and kin practices help to maintain food sovereignty. The intersection of gender and class dynamics, combined with state policies, however, works to undermine food sovereignty for particular groups in northern Malawi. Historical processes of exclusion, dispossession and exploitation changed the division of labour and reduced time and land for diverse farming systems. State policies reduced knowledge and availability of preferred local varieties. While peasants, particularly women, have considerable knowledge of seed varieties, and seeds continue to be exchanged in agrarian communities, young women, tenant farmers, food insecure younger couples and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-affected families are particularly vulnerable to reduced food sovereignty, in part due to gender inequalities, unequal land distribution and social stigma. New efforts to strengthen food sovereignty need to build on community and kin relations, while addressing social inequalities. Understanding the struggles and relations linked to seeds helps us to understand ways in which food sovereignty is undermined or strengthened.

Keywords: Malawi, food sovereignty, maize, seeds, agrobiodiversity, gender

Topics: Agriculture, Class, Gender, Health, HIV/AIDS, Households, Livelihoods, Rights, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2013

Gender Vulnerability to Climate Variability and Household Food Insecurity

Citation:

Kakota, Tasokwa, Dickson Nyariki, David Mkwambisi, and Wambui Kogi-Makau. 2011. “Gender Vulnerability to Climate Variability and Household Food Insecurity.” Climate and Development 3 (4): 298-309.

Authors: Tasokwa Kakota, Dickson Nyariki, David Mkwambisi, Wambui Kogi-Makau

Abstract:

Climate variability presents different challenges for men and for women in their efforts to ensure household food security. However, despite their central role, gender issues have received only cursory attention in adaptation studies. This article looks at causes of gender vulnerability to climate variability and household food insecurity in one sub-Saharan African country: Malawi. Data were collected through a household questionnaire survey, focus group discussions and key informants’ interviews in Chikhwawa and Ntcheu districts, located in the southern and central areas of Malawi. Results revealed that exposure and sensitivity to climate risks vary between men and women; therefore, each gender responds differently to climate risks, with men having more opportunities than women. The results highlight the need for policies and interventions to empower women in the access to resources that can strengthen households’ resilience to climate variability. 

Keywords: adaptation, climate variability, food insecurity, gender, Malawi, vulnerability, africa

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Households, Livelihoods, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2011

Structural Adjustment and African Women Farmers

Citation:

Gladwin, Christina H, ed. 1991. Structural Adjustment and African Women Farmers. Gainesville: University of Florida Press: Center for African Studies, University of Florida.

Author: Christina H. Gladwin

Annotation:

Summary: 
Focuses on the debates surrounding structural lending programmes and the effect they have on women in Africa. It questions the conventional dependency model and provides some counter-evidence that the economic position of women in societies with freer market policies has improved (Summary from WorldCat).
 
Table of Contents:
1. Structural adjustment and structural transformation in sub-Saharan Africa
Stephen O'Brien
 
2. Women, structural adjustment, and transformation: some lessons and questions from the African experience
Uma Lele
 
3. Getting priorities right: structural transformation and strategic notions
Bruce F. Johnston
 
4. Policies to overcome the negative effects of structural adjustment programs on African female-headed households
Jean M. Due
 
5. Impact of structural adjustment programs on Women and their households in Bendel and Ogun States, Nigeria
Patience Elabor-Idemudia
 
6. Women and structural adjustment in Zaire
Brooke Schoef et al.
 
7. Impact of structural adjustment programs on rural women in Tanzania
Ruth Meena
 
8. Fertilizer subsidy removal programs and their potential impacts on women farmers in Malawi and Cameroon
Christina H. Gladwin
 
9. Women traders in Ghana and the structural adjustment program
Gracia Clark and Takyiwaa Manuh
 
10. Ideology and political economy of gender: women and land in Nso, Cameroon
Miriam Goheen
 
11. Women's agricultural work in a multimodal rural economy: Ibarapa District, Oyo State, Nigeria
Jane I. Guyer with Olukemi Idowu
 
12. Structural transformation and its consequences for Orma women pastoralists
Jean Ensminger
 
13. New women's organizations in Nigeria: one response to structural adjustment
Lillian Trager and Clara Osinulu
 
14. Role of home economics agents in rural development programs in northern Nigeria: impacts of structural adjustment
Comfort B. Olayiwole
 
15. Curriculum planning for women and agricultural households: the case of Cameroon
Suzanna Smith, Barbara Taylor
 
16. Women farmers, structural adjustment, and FAO's plan of action for integration of women in development
Anita Spring and Vicki Wilde.
 

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Poverty, Households, International Financial Institutions, Political Economies, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania

Year: 1991

An Analysis of Water Collection Labor among Women and Children in 24 Sub-Saharan African Countries

Citation:

Graham, Jay P., Mitsuaki Hirai, and Seung-Sup Kim. 2016. “An Analysis of Water Collection Labor among Women and Children in 24 Sub-Saharan African Countries.” PLOS ONE 11 (6): e0155981. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155981.

Authors: Jay P. Graham, Mitsuaki Hirai, Seung-Sup Kim

Abstract:

Background

It is estimated that more than two-thirds of the population in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) must leave their home to collect water, putting them at risk for a variety of negative health outcomes. There is little research, however, quantifying who is most affected by long water collection times.

Objectives

This study aims to a) describe gender differences in water collection labor among both adults and children (< 15 years of age) in the households (HHs) that report spending more than 30 minutes collecting water, disaggregated by urban and rural residence; and b) estimate the absolute number of adults and children affected by water collection times greater than 30 minutes in 24 SSA countries.

Methods

We analyzed data from the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) (2005–2012) to describe water collection labor in 24 SSA countries.

Results

Among households spending more than 30 minutes collecting water, adult females were the primary collectors of water across all 24 countries, ranging from 46% in Liberia (17,412 HHs) to 90% in Cote d’Ivoire (224,808 HHs). Across all countries, female children were more likely to be responsible for water collection than male children (62% vs. 38%, respectively). Six countries had more than 100,000 households (HHs) where children were reported to be responsible for water collection (greater than 30 minutes): Burundi (181,702 HHs), Cameroon (154,453 HHs), Ethiopia (1,321,424 HHs), Mozambique (129,544 HHs), Niger (171,305 HHs), and Nigeria (1,045,647 HHs).

Conclusion

In the 24 SSA countries studied, an estimated 3.36 million children and 13.54 million adult females were responsible for water collection in households with collection times greater than 30 minutes. We suggest that accessibility to water, water collection by children, and gender ratios for water collection, especially when collection times are great, should be considered as key indicators for measuring progress in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Girls, Boys, Health, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte D'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe

Year: 2016

Youth Transport, Mobility, and Security in Sub-Saharan Africa - The Gendered Journey to School

Citation:

Porter, Gina, Kate Hampshire, Albert Abane, Alister Munthali, Elsbeth Robson, Mac Mashiri, and Augustine Tanle. 2009. “Youth Transport, Mobility, and Security in Sub-Saharan Africa - The Gendered Journey to School.” In Women’s Issues in Transportation - Summary of the 4th International Conference. Vol. 2. Irvine, California: Transportation Research Board.

Authors: Gina Porter, Kate Hampshire, Albert Abane, Alister Munthali, Elsbeth Robson, Mac Mashiri, Augustine Tanle

Abstract:

This paper draws on empirical data from a three-country (Ghana, Malawi, and South Africa) study of young people’s mobility to explore the gendered nature of children’s journeys to school in sub-Saharan Africa. Gender differences in school enrollment and attendance in Africa are well established: education statistics in many countries indicate that girls’ participation in formal education is often substantially lower than boys’, especially at the secondary school level. Transport and mobility issues commonly form an important component of this story, though the precise patterning of the transportation and mobility constraints experienced by girls and the ways in which transport factors interact with other constraints vary from region to region. In some contexts, the journey to school represents a particularly hazardous enterprise for girls because they face a serious threat of rape. In other cases, girls’ journeys to school and school attendance are hampered by Africa’s transport gap and by cultural conventions that require females to be responsible for pedestrian head loading (transporting loads such as food crops or fuel on the head) and other work before leaving for, or instead of attending, school. evidence comes from a diverse range of sources, but the data used here are principally drawn from a survey questionnaire conducted with approximately 1,000 children ages 7 to 18 years across eight sites in each country. The aim of this study is to draw attention to the diversity of gendered travel experiences across geographical locations (paying attention to associated patterns of transport provision); to explore the implications of these findings for access to education; and to suggest areas in which policy intervention could be beneficial.

Topics: Education, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender Roles, Infrastructure, Transportation Regions: Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana, Malawi, South Africa

Year: 2009

‘I Think a Woman Who Travels a Lot Is Befriending Other Men and That’s Why She Travels’: Mobility Constraints and Their Implications for Rural Women and Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa

Citation:

Porter, Gina. 2011. “‘I Think a Woman Who Travels a Lot Is Befriending Other Men and That’s Why She Travels’: Mobility Constraints and Their Implications for Rural Women and Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Gender, Place & Culture 18 (1): 65–81. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2011.535304.

Author: GIna Porter

Abstract:

This article is concerned with the implications of practices, politics and meanings of mobility for women and girl children in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. Women and girls commonly face severe mobility constraints which affect their livelihoods and their life chances. The article reflects on their experiences in rural areas where patriarchal institutions (including the gender division of labour, which places great emphasis on female labour contributions to household production and reproduction), and a patriarchal discourse concerning linkages between women's mobility, vulnerability and sexual appetite, shape everyday social practices and material inequalities. This compounds the physical constraints imposed by poor accessibility (to services and markets) associated with poor roads and inadequate transport in both direct and more complex ways. The article draws on field research conducted in diverse socio-cultural and agro-ecological contexts in western and southern Africa (principally southern Ghana, southern Malawi and northern and central Nigeria) to explore the impacts of relative immobility and poor service access on women and girls. Three (interconnected) issues are examined in some detail: access to markets, access to education and access to health services. Possible interventions to initiate positive change are considered. (Abstract from original source)

Keywords: gender, mobility, markets, education, health, promiscuity, transport

Topics: Civil Society, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Health, Infrastructure, Transportation, Sexuality Regions: Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria

Year: 2011

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