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Using photos to illustrate gender-sensitive research in Colombia

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Gender-sensitive research in the watershed of Cauca, Colombia. Photo: Mariola Acosta
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Nov 7, 2013

Snapshots from a gender-sensitive project in Colombia bring the research down to earth.

Understanding the local context is of particular importance when it comes to research projects encompassing social topics such as gender and climate change. As here we work very closely with men and women farmers on a daily basis.This is especially valuable for those who are not directly involved in the process but still interested in the topic.

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has only recently started working in Latin America. Cauca in Colombia will be the site for one of the first gender-sensitive research projects being carried out. Here we will look at gendered divisions of household tasks, gender differences in decision-making power and the currently used climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, which might differ between men and women.

As a result, Mariola Acosta, Taryn Devereux, and Seth Marsala-Bell, all Gender and Climate Change Visiting Researchers with CCAFS and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) have spent the past several months conducting research in collaboration with local farmers. They are working in the area around the city of Popayan in Colombia, to collect data for their Master Theses', while simultaneously contributing to a larger CCAFS gender research-project.

The visiting researchers' aim is to map household farming systems in the area, focusing on gender-related concerns and factors within livelihood-activities, decision-making and resource use. The team is working closely together with the local organizations La Fundación Rio Las Piedras and Fundación Ecohabitats  in order to fully comprehend the context they are working in and the various concerns men and women farmers face.

Now that the first phase of this project is finished, follow-up will be key to ensure long-term engagement. One way to make sure farmers in the area are kept in touch with the project is to share visual materials captured during the workshops, interviews, and site visits. These materials will also be used to create public awareness about the project, and accompany the reports and theses’ to illustrate the project activities while making farmers’ reality come to life to the people interested in this topic.

The research activities oriented towards capturing gender-issues will continue in Cauca, but will now also include a project on participatory videos and the creation of a gender-sensitive participatory research methodology.


Related reading: Breaking through gender barriers one survey at a time, by Mariola Acosta.