A section of Makerere GREAT team trainers

Makerere University Gender-Responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) Project  has hosted the first Trainers of Trainers (ToT) course on the new tool dubbed, “Project specific Women Empowerment in Agriculture Index  (ProWEAI) that measures women empowerment and dis-empowerment in agricultural projects.

The three-day training (23rd-25th October 2019) held at Forest Cottages in Bukoto, a Kampala Suburb, attracted over 30 participants composed of the GREAT Fellows from Sub-Saharan Africa who have gone through the different cohorts, Makerere university Faculty and GREAT Trainers.

This empowerment measure based on the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) was  developed in  2012 in Washington DC by the International Food Policy  Institute   ( IFIPRI), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), and will be adapted for project use.

The International Food Policy Research Institute has received a second round of support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to adapt and validate a measure of women’s empowerment that agricultural development projects can use to diagnose key areas of women’s (and men’s) dis-empowerment, design appropriate strategies to address deficiencies, and monitor project outcomes related to women’s empowerment.

The training  under the second round of the “Gender, Agriculture and Assets Project (GAAP2)”, will run for five years (2015-2020) and will build on the experience of the (GAAP 1, 2010-2014), which worked with a set of agricultural development projects to incorporate gender into their M&E frameworks and evaluate their impacts on women’s assets. . This work is undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) led by IFPRI, and will be complementary to ongoing efforts to use and adapt the WEAI, supported by USAID.  

Dr. Narisi Mubangisi during the discussion session

Gender-Responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) is a Cornell University and Makerere University joint training course bringing a much-needed focus on gender-responsive agricultural research to sub-Saharan Africa. GREAT equips teams of agricultural researchers to identify the needs of both women and men and create opportunities for equitable participation and sharing of benefits from agricultural development.

GREAT supports GAAP2 in building awareness and strengthening capacity among African researchers through hosting a training course to help people become familiar with the various WEAI instruments, their uses, and how to collect the measures and interpret the results.

As part of this support, GREAT developed a “Level 1” training in 2018, which covered basic information on the various WEAI instruments including pro-WEAI, as well as what it takes to collect the indicators, how to interpret the results, and how to measure the impact of programs/policies.

Building on this, GREAT co-organized a training of trainers (ToT) in which “Level 2” training, was delivered by GAAP2, with GREAT selecting and funding the participation of SSA gender specialists and Makerere University faculty.

This Level 2 training provided an in-depth training of trainers on the application of WEAI tools, specifically pro-WEAI, and was targeted specifically at those who will be involved in training others on how to implement and use pro-WEAI tools. This Level 2 ToT will expand the capacity to teach others and reach agricultural research project teams that are currently not served under the GAAP 2 activities. 

Dr. Brenda Boonabaana speaking to the trainees

Speaking during the closing day of the training at Forest Cottages in Kampala Uganda, Dr. Brenda Boonabaana working with Makerere University and teammate in the development of the tool said the instructors included representatives from IFPRI Washing ton DC who pioneered the development of the index.

“This training is very important as it is the first training in the whole world IFPRI has done to roll out capacity building for use of this tool. It is a training of trainers where participants have been  taken through the process of calculating the index and  applying it in real life situation and this has happened for the first time at Makerere university”, Dr. Boonabaana said.

Dr. Boonabaana also co-trainer was admitted to the team as a fellow on GAAP2 project spearheading the development of the tool and its validation across the world. 

“The objective of this tool is to enable us understand how agricultural projects and interventions are empowering women across the different domains of empowerment including intrinsic  instrumental power and collective power where we have twelve indicators used across those domains”, Dr. Boonabaana explained.

She said the tool is important for the National Agricultural Institutes and other agricultural related projects to assess whether they are empowering women or not adding that:

“Previously there has not been any tool to help agricultural projects specifically to measure women empowerment. The tool is able to see the level of women dis-empowerment especially the level of dis-empowerment in different contexts”. Dr. Brenda Boonabaana added.

IFPRI Research analyst Ms. Audrey Pereira also trainer, said, the tool was developed and launched in 2012 following a gap in measuring women empowerment in Agriculture.

“So IFPRI alongside with the USAID and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), developed the tool to fill this gap and measure women empowerment and inclusion in agriculture. The tool has since evolved and now under Gender and Agriculture Asset Phase II (GAAP 2) Project, we are developing the project level women empowerment agricultural index (ProWEAI).

GAAP 2 is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Fundation USAID and CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH). The reason was to diagnose areas of women dis-empowerment in agriculture and track empowerment and change over time.

This is the first time we are doing Trainer of Trainers program along with Makerere university and GREAT project”, Audrey stated.

Ara Go during the training session

The program manager, ProWEAIIFIPRI Ms. Ara Go said the training is part of the capacity building effort.

“The training at Makerere University is part of the bigger capacity building efforts in GAAP2 and, GREAT is our partner conducting and doing this together  to build capacity of researchers in Africa. So we partnered together and developed this Trainer of Trainers course. We are happy to be here at Makerere with GREAT and the participants have been very great”, She said.

She said this first training provides basic skills to the participants and many more will be conducted to fill the capacity needs.After the training the participants become fellows in a community of practice and can consult one another.

Related articles about the tool and GAAP project can be accessed on the links below:




Article compiled by;
Jane Anyango,
Principal Communication Officer,
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences(CAES)
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