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GENDER ISSUES IN FARMING SYSTEMS
RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
PREPARED FOR: GENDER ISSUES IN FARMING SYSTEMS
RESEARCH AND EXTENSION CONFERENCE
26 FEBRUARY 1 MARCH, 1986
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
An outline for roundtable discussion of some sender related Extension
techniques in FSRE by Ron Dedert, Research Liaison Extension Officer in
Zambia October '82 November '85.
Experiences drawn upon for this roundtable discussion came from the
Central province of Zambia where 12% of the participants in Extension
training programs for the '84 '85 year were female.
Techniques for discussion are separated into Research, Extension,
Successful Programs, and concludes with some particular issues.
Women were drawn into initial survey discussions, when possible,
to help determine problems in agricultural production that on-farm research
--The culture was male predominant, so finesse was of utmost impor-
--Most planting, weeding, fertilizing, and harvesting was done by
women, so those related questions were directed to women when
possible. (Younger generation seems to be shifting workloads).
Female headed households were selected as cooperators for on-farm
research when it was relatively sure there would be minimal disruption
in the Village Headmans area.
--Currently trying to equate number of cooperators with percentage
--In most cases, women excelled in explaining to visitors the trials
and treatment differences, also problems encountered; they also
seem to pay more attention to detail.
Research staff and counterparts worked side-by-side and counterparts
were given opportunities to prove themselves to co-workers, farmers, and
--Extension training programs
Page 2 .
All aspects of on-farm research trials must be thoroughly explained
to all participants; small children excepted.
--women were generally more available at trial sites than men.
--Caps and Polaroid "snap and give" increased availability.
Field meetings at on-farm research trial sites, research stations,
and extension test demonstration sites proved valuable as in-service
training for extension staff, and as a facilitator for communication
between farmers, extension, and research.
--Women were deliberately drawn into discussion when and where
A bi-monthly newsletter provided direct contact between extension
staff," credited staff for outstanding performances, kept them apprised
of research work and current extension affairs.
--Also new appointments and reassignments.
--Contributions from subject matter specialists.
Extension training programs developed skills and expertise for staff.
--A special workshop helped develop communication and teaching
--Subject matter workshops helped to further develop their expertise.
--Programs were designed to actively involve participants.
--Field staff learned that subject matter specialists did know some-
thing and could teach.
Active participation in training programs helped staff gain self-
confidence and self-esteem.
SOME SUCCESSFUL PROGRAMS
The Newsletter "For Your Information"
--Unified Extension staff and made them feel to be an integral
part of a country effort; reduced the feeling of isolation.
--Gave senior staff/subject matter specialists an opportunity
to provide useful information to field staff and gain their
--Gave research staff an opportunity to communicate directly
with field staff.
--Provided a necessary contact and link between field staff and
subject matter specialists.
The Field Meetings
--Put extension and research staff together in the fields of
peasant farmers to establish a direct relationship at the
--Helped extension staff.learn how recommendations and informa-
tion for farmers is developed.
The Training Programs
--A communication and teaching skills workshop by Interpaks,
University of Illinois, developed a new perspective for
Provincial Extension Staff.
--A highlight was for each participant to organize and
make a public presentation.
--The workshop has resulted in Central Province
participants developing and conducting similar workshops
within the Province to reach all extension workers.
--Most successful to date was a workshop for District
Officers and Provincial Officers who had not attended
the original workshop.
--Natural Resources Development College special student program,
a three year diploma program.
--115 third year students learned about ARPT work in the
--They visited an agriculture camp and with the camp
--They heard a female head of household cooperator
explain 'her' on-farm research trials.
--Recent female graduates of agricultural training.who:
--Thought it was not necessary to attend a field day
activity because "they had already learned all about
--Refused an assignment because their likelihood of
finding a man to marry was very low!
--Inadequate housing and transportation.
--Physical acceptance and safety in rural areas.
--Assignments individuals are not trained for, i.e.: a Crop
Husbandry Major assigned to a Home Economics position.
'--Performing a function inadequately.
--Traditional and cultural attitudes about women performing
traditional male roles.