Gender


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A gender-inclusive approach to community livestock vaccination can help address the different barriers faced by men and women farmers and may increase the uptake of livestock vaccines

Scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) recently published a study on the uptake of the Rift Valley fever vaccine in Kenya and Uganda, incorporating gender in their analysis to better understand the different barriers that men and women farmers face in adopting and using livestock vaccines.

The barriers include the cost of vaccines, long distances to vaccination points, lack of information on vaccination campaigns and decision-making processes at the household level. Understanding these barriers can help veterinary workers design more effective community livestock vaccination programs of benefit to both men and women farmers.

‘Conducting gender analysis on livestock vaccine interventions can enable implementers to identify generic and gender-specific needs of their target beneficiaries’, says Edna Mutua, the lead author of the study and gender consultant at ILRI.

‘This will allow the use of the findings to inform the design and delivery of vaccination interventions to increase efficiency and uptake’, she adds.

Rift Valley fever is a viral, mosquito-borne zoonotic disease that affects cattle, sheep, goats and camels. It causes abortions in livestock and flu-like illness in humans. People can get infected through contact with secretions or tissue of infected animals.

Rift Valley fever is endemic in East Africa and its impacts are significant. An outbreak of the disease in Kenya in 2006–07 caused 150 human deaths and led to losses of USD 32 million from livestock deaths, reduced animal productivity and trade bans on livestock and livestock products.

Vaccination of livestock is currently the most effective measure to control the disease. Previous research on Rift Valley fever vaccines have tended to focus on the production, safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Very few studies have been carried out on the uptake and adoption of livestock vaccines and most of these did not include gender in the study design and analysis but treated male and female livestock farmers as a homogeneous group.

This new ILRI-led study, published in the journal Vaccines (August 2019), provides useful insights into how prevailing gender dynamics in communities such as the division of roles and responsibilities in farmers’ households can influence the uptake and adoption of livestock vaccines.

Uptake was defined as the process the farmers take from when they receive livestock vaccination information to consenting to have their animals vaccinated and presenting the animals for vaccination. Adoption was defined as the continuous use of the vaccine when needed, even without the intervention of veterinary departments.

The study was carried out in Kwale and Murang’a counties in Kenya and Arua and Ibanda districts in Uganda. Data were collected through 58 focus group discussions (30 in Kenya and 28 in Uganda), with 8–12 discussants per group, selected based on whether or not livestock were vaccinated during recent outbreaks of Rift Valley fever.

To incorporate gender into the study design, in each country, half of the focus groups comprised men only and the other half women only. This gender disaggregation enabled the research team to collect data from the different gender groups across all four study locations.

The researchers found that men and women farmers faced different barriers in accessing and using livestock vaccines and that these constraints were influenced by socio-cultural and economic contexts and location.

For all focus groups across the four locations, the farmers ranked the top three barriers to the uptake of livestock vaccines as the cost of vaccines, limited access to information on vaccination and the side effects of the vaccines. However, including the gender and locational differences in the analysis brought forth a clearer picture of which group was most affected by which constraint.

Women in one region, for example, cited the cost of vaccines as the key challenge while women in another cited the limited information available on vaccination campaigns. In one region, the cultural dynamics around livestock ownership were paramount; in another, the long distances the women had to walk their animals to access the vaccination points was key.

The general lesson, however, was the same: ‘Provision of livestock vaccines by veterinary departments does not always guarantee uptake by men and women farmers’, lead author Edna Mutua notes.

Mutua is optimistic that veterinary authorities in Kenya and Uganda will use the research findings to design more effective community vaccination campaigns to prevent and control Rift Valley fever.

‘My hope is that this study serves as an eye-opener to veterinary departments in Kenya and Uganda on the need to integrate gender analysis into their livestock vaccine programs’, she says. ‘Optimizing vaccine uptake requires us to have a better understanding of the local contexts and constraints within which male and female farmers operate’.

This article by Tezira Lore was first published in the ILRI 2019 Annual Report.

A4NH 2019 annual report cover

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) has just released its 2019 annual report, highlighting activities and accomplishments from its five research flagships, cross-cutting work on gender and equity, and partnerships that have led to research outcomes in over 20 countries.

These include:

  • empowering stakeholders at national level to build food systems that support healthier diets;
  • generating research evidence on the nutritional and health benefits of biofortification;
  • supporting international developments in food safety with quality research and engagement;
  • engaging in global conversations on food systems, nutrition and diets; and
  • linking research and policy to achieve results on critical zoonotic diseases.

Access the A4NH 2019 annual report or read the interactive online summary.

The design of strategies for uptake of livestock vaccines by communities in East Africa should take into account that male and female farmers face different barriers in the uptake of the vaccines, a new research study says.

These barriers include the cost of the vaccines, distances to vaccination points, access to information on vaccination campaigns and decision-making processes at household level. Some constraints affect both men and women while others affect one gender group only, based on prevailing gender norms and division of labour.

The study, published in the journal Vaccines (8 Aug 2019), was undertaken by a team of scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute, Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and the United States Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.

The work was carried out in purposively selected sites, namely, Kwale and Murang’a counties in Kenya and Arua and Ibanda districts in Uganda. The sites in Kenya were selected because livestock there had recently been vaccinated against Rift Valley fever while the sites in Uganda were chosen because they had experienced recent outbreaks of the disease but no vaccination was carried out. Data were collected through 58 focus group discussions (30 in Kenya and 28 in Uganda), with 8–12 discussants per group.

The researchers found that women in Kwale experienced more difficulties than their male counterparts in accessing information on vaccination campaigns while women in Ibanda had limited decision-making capacity over the management and control of livestock diseases because of culturally defined livestock ownership patterns. 

The cost of vaccines was a greater barrier for men than for women because the role of managing and controlling livestock diseases in these communities was culturally ascribed to men.

To be effective, therefore, livestock vaccination campaigns need to consider the socio-cultural gender dynamics that exist at household and community level. It is not enough to merely provide vaccines to the community during mass campaigns.

“Availability of vaccines does not guarantee uptake at community level due to social, spatial, economic and vaccine safety and efficacy barriers faced by men and women farmers,” the researchers note.

They add, “Vaccine uptake is a complex process which requires buy-in from men and women farmers, veterinary departments, county/district governments, national governments and vaccine producers”.

Citation

Mutua, E., Haan, N. de, Tumusiime, D., Jost, C. and Bett, B. 2019. A qualitative study on gendered barriers to livestock vaccine uptake in Kenya and Uganda and their implications on Rift Valley fever control. Vaccines 7(3): 86.

A4NH annual report 2016 cover

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) is pleased to announce the publication of its 2016 annual report, detailing the accomplishments and developments of the fifth and final year of the program’s first phase. The report highlights research and results from 2016, including

  • the successful expansion of aflasafe, a biocontrol product helping to fight aflatoxin contamination across Africa;
  • the Stories of Change in Nutrition case study series, which shares experiences to help countries understand how an enabling environment can combine with policies and programs to drive nutritional improvement;
  • the first Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy Week, held in Addis Ababa, which brought together more than 300 participants from around the world to present research and learn from one another;
  • a randomized trial of an integrated nutrition-sensitive agriculture program in Burkina Faso; and
  • an update on the ongoing impacts of biofortification, with more than 140 varieties of 10 crops released in over 30 countries.

While the activities and accomplishments of each research flagship are laid out, readers will also find a spotlight on A4NH projects and programs in Africa, as well as an update on work related to gender.

Download the report

Locally made beef stew sold in Bagnon market at Yopougon, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Locally made beef stew sold in Bagnon market at Yopougon, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (photo credit: ILRI/Valentin Bognan Koné).

What are the key food safety issues related to livestock production and animal-source foods and what are their potential impacts on human health and nutrition?

Join an upcoming joint Agrilinks and Microlinks webinar on 25 January 2017 at 0900–1100 hours EDT where experts will share effective approaches to improving food safety and quality related to livestock production.

Attendees will learn about improving food safety and quality throughout the livestock value chain including production methods, processing and storage technologies, risk assessments, policy impacts, opportunities for the private sector and consumer education.

  • Hung Nguyen-Viet from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) will pay particular attention to the relationship between animal-source foods and the impact of foodborne disease, while also considering how traditional and gender roles in livestock and fish value chains can impact exposure and risk.
  • Dennis Karamuzi will outline the steps taken by the Government of Rwanda and the Rwanda Dairy Competitiveness Project II to increase the supply of clean milk for rural and urban consumers.
  • Silvia Alonso from ILRI will discuss the role of informal markets in meeting the nutrition needs of the most vulnerable communities and the tension between food safety, livelihoods and access to food that characterize such markets. She will present new research aimed to investigate how ‘light-touch’ interventions in informal dairy markets could give win-win outcomes on health and livelihoods.

Presenters will discuss new actions taking place in development that help provide clean, safe and affordable animal-source foods to poor urban and rural households. In addition, the webinar will touch on the role of animal-source foods in the global burden of foodborne disease and why the safety of animal-source foods plays an important role in food security.

Register for the webinar

Aflatoxin-contaminated groundnut kernels

Aflatoxin-contaminated groundnut kernels from Mozambique (photo credit: IITA).

A special issue of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND) published in July 2016 and sponsored by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) features 12 peer-reviewed scientific articles on aflatoxins in eastern Africa.

The three broad objectives of the special issue are to understand the health consequences of aflatoxins, characterize the extent of the problem and identify key elements to underpin the way forward to mitigation.

The papers, listed below, are all open access and the PDFs are freely available for download at the AJFAND website.

Editorial
Aflatoxins in East Africa: The importance of getting the full picture (http://hdl.handle.net/10568/76526)

Understanding the health impacts

Extent and location of the problem

  • Aflatoxin B1 occurrence in millet, sorghum and maize from four agro-ecological zones in Kenya (http://hdl.handle.net/10568/76499)
  • Prevalence of aflatoxin in feeds and cow milk from five counties in Kenya (http://hdl.handle.net/10568/76501)
  • Survey of informal milk retailers in Nairobi, Kenya and prevalence of aflatoxin M1 in marketed milk (http://hdl.handle.net/10568/76502)
  • Assessment of pre-harvest aflatoxin and fumonisin contamination of maize in Babati District, Tanzania
  • Aflatoxin and fumonisin contamination of marketed maize and maize bran and maize used as animal feed in northern Tanzania
  • Mapping aflatoxin risk from milk consumption using biophysical and socio-economic data: A case study of Kenya (http://hdl.handle.net/10568/76503)
  • Examining environmental drivers of spatial variability in aflatoxin accumulation in Kenyan maize: Potential utility in risk prediction models

Finding the way forward to mitigation

  • Farmer perception of moulds and mycotoxins within the Kenya dairy value chain: A gendered analysis (http://hdl.handle.net/10568/76495)
  • A review of agricultural aflatoxin management strategies and emerging innovations in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Potential of lactic acid fermentation in reducing aflatoxin B1 in Tanzania maize-based gruel

ILRI policies, instititions and livelihoods program

A cow is milked in Tanga, Tanzania. A woman milking a cow in Tanga, Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu)

Written by Alessandra Galie
One of the main goals of gender research in the CGIAR research program on Livestock and Fish is improved nutrition. This is also one of the 4 pillars of the program’s gender strategy and one of the 3 system level outcomes of the CGIAR. Good nutrition in the first 1000 days of a child’s life and for lactating mothers is particularly important for the child’s cerebral and physical development. Good nutrition is therefore considered the basis to improve livelihoods and general well-being. Because higher levels of gender inequality are associated with higher levels of both acute and chronic under nutrition (FAO 2012), gender research in research program focuses on enhancing the empowerment of women livestock keepers and consumers.

Animal source foods (ASF) have been shown to offer enormous potential for nutrition in developing countries…

View original post 256 more words

The following is an excerpted version of a blog post originally published on the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) website.


Some of the foods that would most enhance nutrition in diets in the developing world are also the riskiest in terms of food safety. Numerous health risks exist along the value chain for livestock and fish products, from production to consumption. In this post, Sophie Theis (Research Analyst, Poverty, Health, Nutrition Division, International Food Policy Research Institute) and Delia Grace (Program Manager, International Livestock Research Institute) relate findings from a recent A4NH/International Livestock Research Institute analysis of 20 livestock and fish value chains in Africa and Asia that reveal how gender differences in value chain participation influence risk exposure.

The results from the participatory risk assessment of these value chains are published in Grace et al. (2010) and a paper analyzing the gendered dimensions of risk is underway by Delia Grace, Sophie Theis, Kristina Roesel, Erastus Kang’ethe and Bassirou Bonfoh.

Selling milk

Selling milk in Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI).

In rural Mali, a Fulani herder finishes milking a cow and hoists the calabash to his head, the milk sloshing gently in the vessel as he carefully carries the milk to Mariam, the woman he works for. By custom, Mariam has never milked a cow, but once the milk is in her domain, she is in charge of its business and use. Today she decides to keep this calabash for the family, since she has been able to sell milk at a favorable price often in the past week. She sets most aside to naturally sour, which will preserve it in the absence of refrigeration; the fermentation gives a sharp taste that consumers find thirst quenching in the hot season.

In the outskirts of Nairobi, Faith works the udders of her dairy cow. A male relative she has hired to help with the milking approaches with another pail of milk. She accepts it absentmindedly; she is already estimating the prices she will get selling the milk to neighbors and the local milk bar and considering whether she should invest the revenues in hiring another person.

In rural Mali, periurban Kenya, and many other parts of Africa, women play important and varied roles in livestock and fish value chains. The milk that Mariam and Faith helped to produce goes both to their families and to the market; it is also valued as gifts and in Mali as a sacrifice that brings blessing and protection against evil.

The decisions that Mariam and Faith make have bearings on many people’s nutrition: the quantity of milk that they keep for their household, how they apportion milk amongst household members, the use of the income from milk that they sell, and – less often acknowledged, but critical – the extent to which they effectively manage food safety risk, preventing contamination of the milk.

Many of the most nutritious foods, including animal source foods, are amongst the riskiest in terms of pathogen transmission. Meat, milk, fish and eggs provide plenty of nutrients for pathogenic organisms and can also carry infections from animals that harbor them to people. Food-borne disease persists as a major public health problem in Africa and Asia, where the majority of these foods are produced by smallholders, marketed through the informal sector, and sold in wet markets.

Food safety in these products is a major concern, as informal markets are important sources of food for the poor and tend to provide food that is more accessible, affordable, and compatible with local preferences for certain varieties of food and quantities than supermarkets.

Women like Mariam and Faith manage risk as they interact with informal markets by selling and buying food for their households. Informal value chains are complex, shaped by a number of actors. While risk management training interventions tend to focus on the owners of livestock or on actors only in one node of the value chain (e.g. butchers), risk management relies on all the actors along the value chain, from production, aggregation, processing, retail, and consumption. Many of these actors are women, and attention to local norms in the division of labor is critical for targeting food safety assessments and interventions.

Read the complete blog post on the A4NH website

A woman milks one of her goats in Ségou District, Mali

A woman milks one of her goats in Ségou District, Mali (photo credit: ILRI/Valentin Bognan Koné).

Almost two-thirds of the world’s 925 million poor livestock keepers are rural women, and women often predominate in urban agriculture. In Africa, most livestock products are sold in traditional or informal markets which offer livelihood opportunities as well as affordable, convenient and nutritious food to millions of people.

Women and men often play different roles in animal production and in the processing, sale and preparation of animal food products. Women are more often involved in keeping poultry and small ruminants while men tend to have greater involvement in rearing of cattle. Almost everywhere in rural Africa, women are responsible for preparing and cooking food for home consumption.

Animal slaughter is also often differentiated by gender, with women being responsible for killing poultry, typically inside the homestead, but most slaughter of larger animals outside the home being done by men.

Small-scale processing of animal food products is often carried out by women while more modern, industrialized operations, such as dairy cooperatives, are often dominated by men, at least in managerial and ownership roles.

Traditional markets are particularly important for women. For example, in most African countries, the majority of street food processors and vendors are women, while the majority of customers are men. As well as being one of the few livelihood strategies open to poor women, the street food sector is of great importance to the economy.

The different roles of women and men in the production and processing of animal foods predispose them to different benefits as well as risks.

For example, in West Africa where men dominate milk production, they are more at risk from zoonotic diseases associated with direct contact with cows during milking. On the other hand, in smallholder farms in Kenya where women are often in charge of milking, the situation is reversed.

In Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where artisanal coastal fishing is a key livelihood activity, men are in charge of fishing but women handle the on-shore smoking and selling of the fish.

Because of these variations in the roles of men and women in the production, processing and sale of animal food products, it is necessary to adopt a gender perspective in food safety research aimed at reducing health risks and improving the safety of animal products sold in the informal sector.

A study by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partners on the microbial quality and safety of meat in Bodija market in Ibadan, Nigeria revealed that gender and group membership had an influence on meat quality.

Women were found to have significantly better food safety practice than men, though there was no significant difference in their knowledge of and attitude towards food safety. The study also identified butchers’ associations as promising entry points for interventions to improve food safety.

Another study investigated the social and gender determinants of the risk of exposure to Cryptosporidium from urban dairying in Dagoretti, Nairobi, Kenya. Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrhoeal disease cryptosporidiosis.

Women were found to have greater contact with raw milk and this increased their risk of exposure to cryptosporidiosis infection. However, there was no significant difference between men and women as regards knowledge on symptoms of cryptosporidiosis or other zoonotic diseases associated with dairy farming.

These two examples show how a gender perspective in food safety research can ensure:

  • men’s and women’s differential exposure to agriculture-related risks are better understood, particularly as it relates to health outcomes
  • women have increased capacity to manage risks and are more involved in the surveillance of risks
  • women directly benefit from interventions designed to reduce agriculture-associated diseases, taking into account roles and responsibilities that may put them at increased risk of exposure

Read more in this ILRI research brief: Poverty and gender aspects of food safety in informal markets in sub-Saharan Africa.