Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sharefair on rural women’s technologies

In a PAEPARD blogpost of October Sharefair 2014 on women's technologies was already reported .

Following a panel session about What does women's empowerment look like in real food systems and nutrition cases
during the GA of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development 3 organisors/participants witnessed about its success.

The three-day regional Sharefair on rural women’s technologies took place in Nairobi in celebration of the International Day of Rural Women and the World Food Day.

The Share Fair was co-funded by the European Commission. 

Although agricultural fairs are a common feature in extension services offered in the region, this was the first time that the focus was exclusively on technologies for rural smallholder women. This topic is particularly relevant in the International Year of Family Farming and the African Union’s year of agricultural productivity and food security.

Hereunder are 3 video interviews of organisers who attended the Share fair: 
  1. Carol Djeddah from FAO
  2. Asa Torkelsson from UN Women (Advisor Economic Empowerment)
  3. Clare Bishop-Sambrook from IFAD (PTA – Gender and Social Inclusion) 

The Sharefair - organized jointly by UN Women, IFAD, FAO, WFP and IIRR - was held at the UN Complex in Nairobi, Kenya from 15th to 17th October 2014. It was attended by over 400 delegates from 20 countries in the region that included exhibitors, African Union representatives, UN Staff, Government Officials, Civil Society and farmers. The event attracted high-level participation from the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Africa Union Commission; IGAD; some Members of Parliament from the region among others.

IFAD played an active role in all aspects of the Sharefair. 
  • Elizabeth Ssendiwala (ESA - Regional Gender Coordinator) was a member of the organizing committee and delivered the synthesis of findings on the final day. 
  • Clare Bishop-Sambrook (PTA – Gender and Social Inclusion) gave a Key Note address on ‘Rural women’s technologies: where are we now and what are the opportunities for agricultural growth’ 
  • Clare Bishop-Sambrook

  • Julianne Friedrich (PTA - Nutrition) participated in a high-level panel discussion on gender, food and
  •  nutrition security. 
  • Silvia Sperandini (PTA – Gender and Knowledge Management) ran a very well-attended training 
  • session on innovation and knowledge management.
Over 100 technologies and innovative activities led by women were exhibited at the Sharefair. They focused on: enhanced food security; labour and time saving; reduced post-harvest losses; value addition, climate change adaptation; increased productivity; and tools and machinery that enable farmers better manage production at a reasonable price.

Young Innovators’ Award
Four young innovators were recognized and awarded for their contribution to innovative technologies:
Portable electro-chemical Aflatoxin testing kit, Mushroom growing from affordable, readily available materials, Mobile application for livestock production, and Farmland ownership mapping software.

Key Messages from the Sharefair:
  1. Women are central in all aspects of agriculture and off-farm activities in rural communities
  2. Empowered women farmers can increase their income, develop stable rural livelihoods and contribute to ensuring food security
  3. The critical role that women play in agriculture, food security and rural economies is often hampered by their lack of access to productive resources, technologies, services and markets
  4. The cost of gender gaps in agriculture to economic development is immense
  5. Family farming depends heavily on women and youth, investing on them as agents of change is key to
    move out of poverty
Messages for IFAD
  1. Address the daily burden of rural living through mechanization, conservation agriculture, fuel efficiency, water-related solutions
  2. Solve women’s time burden
  3. Engage in a Transformative Agenda in order to break down the gender division of labour in farming and household tasks
  4. Upscale existing technologies so that they are accessible (and affordable) by rural women
  5. Engage men in the Gender Agenda
  6. Through partnerships, engage at policy level – starting by taking advantage of existing opportunities:
  7. 2015 – African Union’s Year of Women’s Empowerment and Beijing +20
  8. African Union’s Agenda 2063 – opportunities to propose gender responsive and youth friendly solutions
  9. Sustainable Development Goal 5 on “Attain gender equality, empower women and girls everywhere” includes a target to recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care and domestic work
  10. 2014 Malabo Declaration on Africa’s Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods (3AGTs).
More about Sharefair 2014, Nairobi:
Why smallholders should be involved in research (
Sharefair on Social media  and Storify
Sharefair Photo Album (

How to do toolkits
IFAD has developing practical hands-on “how to do” toolkits to:
  • build the capacity of project design and implementation teams in various thematic areas
  • support the scaling up agenda
  • support policy dialogue
These modular toolkits are composed of three different documents, a “Teaser”, a “How To Do Notes” and “Lessons Learned” serving different purposes and audiances.

Below is a list of our available toolkits (an additional number of toolkits are under preparation and will be released shortly):
IFAD value chain toolkit
The toolkit on sustainable inclusion of smallholders in agricultural value chains aims to support the design of IFAD-supported Value Chain (VC) projects.

The value chains toolkit contains:
Designing commodity value chain development projects:
Teaser | How to do note | Lessons learned

Inclusive rural financial services toolkits
Each toolkit related to inclusive rural financial services is composed of:
Teaser: Sets out the scope
How To Do Note: Conceptualizes key issues and provides guidance for design and implementation.
Lessons Learned: Analyses past experiences with recommendations for the future.

The land tenure toolkit offers valuable guidelines to help practitioners analyze and address land tenure issues during the devopment of country strategies and in the design and implementation of programmes and projects.

It is a.o. composed of the following note:
Teaser: Provides a overview of the issues and the challenges, benefits and opportunities in addressing land tenure issues.

The Supporting rural young people in IFAD projects: Lessons learned available in English, French andSpanish is based on a review of 19 IFAD-financed projects with strong pro-youth features and/or promising innovations in reaching young people in rural areas. The review identified a broad range of project approaches to pro-youth development over the past two decades. The present document summarizes the findings on what has been done, and where possible, on why and how.

See also: Lessons learned on youth and land tenure
Related: 12 November 2014 SciDev article: Forum calls for key roles for women in agricultural R and D Experts at the forum appealed for more investments in nutrition and for women to be placed at the heart of initiatives to promote agricultural research because of their significant role in farming and in the family. We should not only focus on increasing agricultural production but look at the systems, said Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, director for African Women in Agricultural Research and Development, adding that only one in four African women are scientists and that only one in seven agricultural leaders are women.

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