IITA-BIP sets record for maize production per hectare in Nigeria
Initiative Result:

Tool for raising women’s voice gains traction in Nigeria

A new measurement tool identifying entry points for raising women’s voice within agrifood policy processes gains traction with key ministries in Nigeria

Gender Equality researchers developed the Women’s Empowerment in Agrifood Governance (WEAGov) Assessment Framework to identify entry points for increasing women’s voice in policymaking, an innovation in the Initiative’s portfolio. Piloted in Nigeria, WEAGov is already influencing efforts by key ministries to better meet gender targets set in agrifood policies. Ministries of Budget and Economic Planning and Agriculture expressed strong interest in continuing to work together to incorporate WEAGov into planning processes and data systems, achieving an innovation use result for Gender Equality in 2023.

In Nigeria, as in many countries, women are often excluded from governance institutions. To identify entry points for increasing women’s policy  influence, researchers at the CGIAR Research Initiative on Gender Equality developed WEAGov, a rigorous and participatory assessment framework. WEAGov looks at actors across the private sector, public sector, and civil society and at both the state and federal levels to capture important roles that women may be playing in different sectors and at various levels of governance. The WEAGov methodology begins with a policy landscape analysis
of the key national policies, actors, and organizations in a country’s agrifood sector; content analysis of national agrifood policies; surveys of the key organizations in the agrifood sector; and surveys with local agrifood policy experts spanning civil society, local universities, and the private and public sectors, all at the state and federal levels. In Nigeria, the Gender Equality Initiative researchers interviewed more than 240 experts from at least 140 organizations to gain a comprehensive view of women’s voice across the agrifood policy cycle.

In May 2023, a workshop convened local experts to discuss and validate findings, a key part of the participatory research process. Building on the strong and long-standing reputation of the IFPRI Nigeria Country Office, especially through the work done under the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets helping to launch the country’s first gender policy in agriculture, this workshop brought together representatives from key agrifood ministries, as well as representatives from local universities, farmers’ collectives, and civil society organizations. Participants learned about the policy process, including how gender consideration and women’s inclusion and leadership within the implementation and evaluation phases support the fulfilment of gender targets envisioned at the policy design phase. Gender Equality Initiative researchers, meanwhile, gained valuable feedback on aspects of women’s voice in policymaking that should be incorporated into the WEAGov framework, such as difficulties local actors face in recruiting and promoting women into civil service positions. The workshop supported knowledge exchange between the ministries of Budget and Economic Planning and Agriculture on how to ensure that gender targets set in national agricultural policies—for example, the aim of Nigeria’s National Gender Policy in Agriculture to provide trainings in financial literacy for women farmers’ cooperatives—can secure a budget line in national budget planning processes.

Hearing the call for better funding of gender targets, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning opened WEAGov’s second participatory workshop in Nigeria in 2023 to disseminate findings and to discuss and prioritize policy recommendations. The Ministry produced a supportive video,  emphasizing WEAGov’s usefulness as a planning tool and offering guidance to agrifood ministries on accessing budget support for meeting gender targets. Findings from this workshop highlighted the need to further break down ministry silos on budgeting and tracking gender targets, to establish processes for all citizens to provide input into policymaking and ongoing feedback on policy implementation, and to make those processes widely known and accessible across the country. The findings also emphasized the need to partner with civil society, where women’s leadership is significantly stronger than in the public sector.

Going forward, the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning has committed to using planning tools, including WEAGov, to mainstream gender considerations into its budgeting and planning decisions. Members of the gender team within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have noted the study’s usefulness as a trigger for drawing attention to their funding and capacity development needs and their continued plans to use the WEAGov findings as an advocacy tool to build resources and support for their work. It is expected that ongoing engagement between Gender Equality
researchers, the IFPRI Country Office in Nigeria, other CGIAR researchers based in country, and local partners will collectively lead to sustained efforts to improve policy coordination and increase women’s empowerment in the Nigerian agrifood policy process, building on the strong body of research that CGIAR conducts around gender and agriculture in Nigeria. In 2024, Gender Equality researchers from IFPRI and ICARDA are partnering with KREA University in Chennai, India, to launch a second wave of WEAGov research.

WEAGov is important to my ministry in the area of … measurement tools, which we use to refine our planning framework.

Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Nigeria

We need triggers … to get policies funded and implemented … Trigger[s] … serve to activate … attention among policymakers. WEAGov is serving as a trigger.

Mrs. Ifeoma Anyanwu, Deputy Director, Gender Mainstreaming, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security

Header photo: IITA-BIP sets record for maize production per hectare in Nigeria. IITA

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Agricultural Policy Research Network (APRNet)