ICRAF prepares Gates Foundation proposal to empower women farmers

ICRAF’s Rural Advisory Services (RAS) Unit, which sits within the Partnerships & Impact Directorate, has been working hard to prepare a final proposal for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under the theme of “Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development.”

RAS’s proposal focuses on using farmer-to-farmer trainings to improve the gender balance of extension services. Research has shown that women that become volunteer farmer trainers (VFTs) – and those that receive training from female VFTs – increase their levels of empowerment in terms of agricultural decision-making, social capital, asset ownership, and control over income. 

RAS’s initial proposal to the Gates Foundation was one of only 45 proposals that made it past the very competitive first stage of the application process, which attracted 1,700 applications. 

To facilitate the next stage of the proposal-writing process, RAS hosted a workshop at ICRAF headquarters on 6 & 7 May. The workshop brought together a dozen participants from ICRAF as well as partner organizations, including the East Africa Dairy Development project, the Africa Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services and  the Uganda Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services

“The workshop was very successful because we were able to engage with our partners,” said Dr. Evelyne Kiptot, Social Scientist with RAS. 

Drawing on the outcomes of the workshop, Dr. Steven Franzel, Dr. Kiptot, and Dr. Patti Kristjanson will develop the next stage of the proposal. The deadline for submission is 1 June; the Gates Foundation will announce the winners of the grants in August.