Gender strategy realization: Documenting climate change, gender roles and adaptation strategies in Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, there are similarities and differences of men and women farmers’ roles and access to different resources that affect their climate change adaptation strategies. Photo: L. Sebastian (CCAFS)

Integrating gender dimension in research to ensure that the development impacts of climate-smart agriculture interventions equally benefit men and women. 

Integrating gender dimension in research, planning, and implementation of its interventions is crucial in achieving improved climate resiliency, food security, and nutrition in Southeast Asia. With this realisation, an agreement on incorporating gender dimension in research by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) was forged during the CCAFS Southeast Asia annual meeting last December 2016.

In line with this CCAFS gender strategy, a book on climate change, gender roles and adaptation strategies featuring case studies in Southeast Asia is now being drafted under the guidance of Dr. Thelma Paris, CCAFS SEA gender advisor and retired Socioeconomist-Gender Specialist of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines.

According to Dr. Paris:

the purpose of our work here is to be able to find the links between socio-economic and gender issues in the context of climate change because there are many studies on gender analysis but not in the context of climate change and agriculture.”

To hasten the book’s publication, Dr. Paris initiated a writing workshop or “writeshop” for the researchers serving as the book’s contributing writers. Participants from the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), International Potato Center (CIP), and University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) gathered at International Potato Center (CIP-ESEAP), Philippines on 3-5 October for the writeshop.

Gender writeshop participants presentation and critiquing of research. Photo: Camille Anne Mendizabal (ICRAF/CCAFS)

Improving gender dimension integration

The three-day writeshop kicked-off with the participants’ presentation of their working drafts in which they served as each other’s critique. This activity provided an avenue for cross-learning among participants on research methodologies and presentation styles which they can integrate to their own case studies.

According to Dr. Paris, having a writeshop is essential because "we can have more personal interaction and learn from one another. Although you have gathered a lot of information, you have to show the links between gender and climate change as well as the use and implications of your findings.”

During the writeshop, Dr. Paris also delivered a lecture on the general framework that will serve as guide for the contributing writers. The last two days of the writeshop were spent for revising the case study drafts. By the end of the gender writeshop, participating researchers were able to come up with better case study drafts which will later on be synthesized and finalised with Dr. Paris’ help.

The common denominator

All these case studies are driven by a common goal—that is to contribute to the development and implementation of gender-sensitive, sustainable climate-smart agriculture (CSA) interventions that will help improve climate resiliency, food security, and nutrition of vulnerable communities in Southeast Asia (SEA).

The case studies to be featured in the book will answer the following questions: 

  • What are the CSA practices and technologies, climate information services, which are being adopted (or not) or being developed across a range of CCAFS Climate Smart Village (CSV) in SEA?
  • How can men and women from different social groups contribute to and benefit from CCAFS projects in SEA?
  • What are the social impacts of these products, approaches, policies and institutional arrangements?

Three of the case studies to be featured in the book were conducted in CSV sites: Sri Dasgupta’s study in Tra Hat Village in Vietnam; Auni Haapala’s study in Phailom Village in Laos; and Magnolia Rosimo’s study in Guinayangan, Quezon province in the Philippines. Other case studies were conducted by Julie Basconsilio in Bulacan in the Philippines; Minh Duong Tuan in Dien Bien and Ha Tinh Province in Vietnam; and Arma Bertuso in eastern Visayas in the Philippines.

One-on-one consultation of participants with Dr. Thelma Paris on improving their working drafts. Photo: Camille Anne Mendizabal (ICRAF/CCAFS)

First step to gender strategy fulfilment

Writing this book presented an opportunity for researchers to document the different unique adaptation strategies practiced by men and women farmers in several countries in Southeast Asia, and to look for similarities and differences among these practices.

Moreover, according to Dr. Paris, the book will “provide all the necessary information to do a sufficient gender analysis in the context of climate change in agriculture” in an under-researched area of Southeast Asia. This will also provide answers to questions on “how the similarities and differences of men and women farmers’ roles and access to different resources affect their climate change adaptation strategies.”

All these are essential in guiding CCAFS’ technicians and scientists in developing and implementing effective CSA interventions that are effective, problem-based, and culturally acceptable. Findings from these studies will also help in the outscaling of effective CSA interventions in other areas with similar conditions.

This book on gender and climate change adaptation practices is expected to be published by 2018. Before then, researchers writing case studies on climate change adaptation and gender roles in the Southeast Asia region may still contribute to the book being developed.

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Camille Anne Mendizabal is the junior communications specialist for the World Agroforestry Centre Philippines. She is also a communication consultant with the CCAFS SEA program.