Gender Norms and Access to Extension Services and Training among Potato Farmers in Dedza and Ntcheu in Malawi uri icon

abstract

  • Design/Methodology/Approach: In total, 35 sex-disaggregated focus group discussions with farmers, and 4 interviews with extension officers were conducted in Dedza and Ntcheu districts. Data on the type of training offered, training participants recruitment methods, as well as data on barriers to and opportunities for training were collected. A social relations approach, focusing on gender relations, was used to analyse the data.
  • Findings: Underlying gender norms and cultural norms mediate access to information. For instance, some men regard themselves as representatives of their households during training and, to some extent, extension officers reinforce these views by using biased training recruitment methods. Gender norms related to household decision-making impact on the ability of women to access training opportunities.
  • Originality/Value: The social relations approach used, focusing on gender relations, is aimed at trying to come up with the conditions necessary for agricultural training to be empowering for women. This paper is therefore of interest to extension agents and other development practitioners interested in women's empowerment and the transformation of gender relations.
  • Practical implications: Agricultural extension should not be a purely technical programme focusing only on good agricultural practices. It should also embed modules aimed at addressing social practices that disadvantage some people, particularly women, as well as adopt gender sensitive recruitment methods that do not rely on male-biased recruitment channels.
  • Purpose: This paper explores the interaction between extension services and gender relations in order to suggest ways and strategies that can be useful in ensuring that extension services are gender-equitable and empowering for women.
  • This paper explores the interaction between extension services and gender relations in order to suggest ways and strategies that can be useful in ensuring that extension services are gender-equitable and empowering for women

publication date

  • 2016
  • 2016
  • 2016