New cereal grain breeding course to focus on gender-responsiveness

Linda McCandless
Thursday, April 20, 2017

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Sign up your wheat research team by June 9 to participate in the new Gender-responsive Cereal Grain Breeding course offered by GREAT, in Kampala, Uganda, August 7-16, 2017. There will be a fieldwork component August to December 2017, and follow-up training February 15-19, 2018.

Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation, or GREAT, courses equip researchers to create more inclusive and effective agricultural systems by addressing the priorities of both women and men in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Courses are intensive, cohort-based trainings for small, interdisciplinary teams of researchers from leading agricultural research institutes across SSA.

“Rhetoric around gender responsive research is not new but action and evidence is lacking,” said Hale Tufan, a 2010 WIT awardee, who co-directs the GREAT project with Margaret Mangheni, of Makerere University in Uganda. “We hope wheat teams will join us as agents of change to implement a new vision of agricultural research to intelligently design research projects that maximize impact for all.”

The GREAT Gender-responsive Cereal Grain Breeding course is targeted at agricultural scientists seeking to address gender issues in their research on wheat, rice, maize, teff, sorghum or millet; social scientists working with agricultural scientists to address gender in cereal grains research projects; and grain researchers who want to enable more equitable outcomes for men, women, girls and boys.

The course offers training for cereal grain researchers who want to develop skills in gender-responsiveness along the design, implementation, evaluation, and communication stages of agricultural research projects in wheat, rice, maize, teff, sorghum or millet.

Is gender missing in your cereal grain breeding research project?

“Ignoring gender differences in cereal grain breeding means we miss half of the potential client base for improved varieties, technologies, markets and innovations,” said Tufan. “More importantly, we miss the opportunity to positively impact smallholder farmers who are women, thereby reducing chances for better nutrition and education outcomes for the whole community.”

Donors are increasingly insisting on gender-responsive research proposals, making the knowledge, tools and experience to conduct gender-responsive research increasingly essential across agricultural research disciplines.

What will you do at the GREAT Gender-responsive Cereal Grain Breeding Course?

The course is offered to interdisciplinary research teams of two to three biophysical and social scientists working together. Participants must apply in teams (some exceptions exist).

Week 1: 07-16 August 2017: 9 days of face-to-face training on theory and applied instruction

Fieldwork: August-December 2017: Field test research tools developed in Week 1, collecting qualitative and quantitative sex-disaggregated data from participants’ current projects, with e-learning and mentor support

Week 2: 15-19 January 2018: 5 days of face-to-face training on data analysis, interpretation and communications

What will you walk away with?

  • Enhanced ability to design, implement, analyze, interpret and communicate gender-responsive research in your projects, leading to greater impact for beneficiaries.
  • Improved ability to work across disciplines, and manage complex research projects.
  • Increased likelihood of successful grant proposals; improved visibility with donors.
  • Enhanced career prospects, highly marketable skills, and greater proficiency with research tools and methods.
  • Enhanced professional networking and publication opportunities through the GREAT Community of Practice.
  • Improved ability to champion gender-responsiveness within your institution.

The top five teams from each cohort will receive seed grants to continue their research for publication after the course, said Tufan.

How to Apply

Details and application information and instructions are at: GREAT Courses are designed for teams of two to three researchers, working on an existing research-for-development project. The deadline for team applications is June 9, 2017.

If you are not sure if the GREAT course is right for your needs or have any questions, email Devon at .

GREAT completed the first course — Gender-responsive Root, Tuber and Banana Breeding — for 29 researchers representing 11 interdisciplinary teams from eight countries and 11 research institutions/organization, working with 20 trainers, in February 2017.

For more about GREAT, see