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From theory to discourse, discourse to practice and practice to impact

When the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC), a long-time CPWF partner, invited our program to present at its headquarters in September 2012 they made one particular request: they wanted to hear about CPWF’s ‘approach to gender’. SDC’s interest, one that CPWF is hearing echoed more widely, lies in the practical and context-specific gender strategies implemented in our program’s six river basins.

In keeping with CPWF practice we decided to focus on the ‘live stories’ from the basins, i.e. how we are moving from ticking a series of gender boxes to embracing the notion of gender and its central place in agricultural research for development. Put another way, the question posed to us was, in each basin, what have been the multiple strategies employed to fully integrate a gender approach and where do we think these are leading?

Only 12 months ago we were frustrated not to have clearly articulated stories to tell. Today, CPWF gender stories are beginning to blossom, whether this be the multi-pronged approach taken across the Volta; the specifics of local innovation platforms in Zimbabwe and the pivotal role of women goat owners; transformative personal experiences within the Ganges team; specific commissioned pieces of research in the Mekong, or; participatory approaches applied in the Nile linking to an overt gender perspective taken through its livelihood analysis.

Across the board, with a combination of a minimal financial investment through the Innovation Fund, some well-considered program-wide strategies, leadership buy-in and basin-led initiatives, CPWF has clearly moved from discourse to practice and from a stand-alone to a holistic approach. Impact is emerging, and 2013 will be key to demonstrating where CPWF has been able to effectively address the development challenges it identified, and where and how taking a gender perspective was one of the major ingredients in contributing to these results.

View CPWF’s presentation to SDC: