Agricultural Extension

Gender and Governance in Rural Services

Providing rural services equitably to men and women has remained a major challenge, even though, as indicated by the Millennium Development Goals, there is a high-level commitment to address this problem. For example, women typically have less access to agricultural advisory services than men, even though they play an important role in agricultural production. Gender-sensitive governance reform strategies aim at achieving more gender-equity in rural service provision, for example, by reserving seats in local councils for women, and by establishing gender focal points in the public administration. The project aims at providing policy-relevant knowledge on the effectiveness of such reform strategies. Applying a comparative perspective, the project is implemented jointly together with local partner organizations in Ethiopia, Ghana and India. To understand how decentralized service provision works in practice, surveys are conducted among all actors involved in rural service provision: households, community-based organizations, elected local government representatives, staff members of local governments, and frontline service providers, such as agricultural extension agents. To address the gender dimension of rural service provision, data are collected separately from male and female household members and from male and female elected representatives and service providers. In addition to the surveys, qualitative case studies are conducted using different research methods, including participant observation, focus group interviews, and Influence-Network-Mapping.