International Women's Day and Scientific Research in Development

I'm not posting about women blogging today, because I received an email newsletter that had good stuff that women are doing around the world and it was just too good to not pass it on. This is from the Gender and Diversity program of the Consultative Research Group in International Agricultural Research, a network of NGO agricultural research centers. What follows is all a direct quote, but it is too much to end up in one of the little pushpin boxes that quotes create here on Blogher!

In this special issue of G&D News we are proud to feature a few of the many exemplary
CGIAR Women Working for Women

Patricia Shanley, Winner of the 2005 CGIAR Science Award for Outstanding Communications
Dr. Shanley, who works at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) based in Indonesia, is featured in the documentary film Daughters of the Canopy (Mulheres da Mata) focusing on the struggles and successes of women activists fighting to preserve their lands, forests and way of life in the Brazilian Amazon. These women combine scientific study, political advocacy and grassroots activism to slow the advance of loggers and ranchers. Through their successes, they are gaining confidence and respect in what has been a traditional, male-dominated society for the past 500 years. (Non-profits can request a copy of the film on CD through CIFOR's Belém office by contacting Trilby MacDonald at ( ). Private organizations can order directly from the distributor: Filmakers Library, 124 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016, phone: 212-808-4980, fax: 212-808-4983.)

Thelma Romero-Paris is a Socio-Economist-Gender Specialist at the International Rice Research Center (IRRI) based in the Philippines. She facilitates skills enhancement training programs for poor women farmers in production and post harvest technologies including seed management and income generating activities such as mushroom production. Thelma also serves as mentor to other women professionals, establishing the first Leadership Course for Asian Women in Agriculture Research and Development, which is now given by IRRI's Training Center every year. Read more at:

Blanca Arce leads a team of researchers working with different women livestock producers in the poor eastern shantytown areas of Lima, Peru. She is an animal production systems specialist and the regional coordinator for Urban Harvest in Latin America for the International Potato Center (CIP). She works closely with policy makers, especially women legislators and technical staff to stimulate policy and institutional change to ensure sustainability for women livestock raisers. Visit to read a paper prepared by Dr. Blanca and other colleagues on gender mainstreaming in urban food production and food security.

Ruth Meinzen-Dick, leads the CGIAR System-wide program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi ) and is winner the 2002 CGIAR award for Outstanding Scientific Partnership. She is a Senior Research Fellow and a sociologist at International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and has done much of her research on water management and water rights, including ways of strengthening women's participation. Ruth is also the head of IFPRI's Gender Task Force (, which works to ensure that appropriate attention is paid to gender issues in IFPRI's research. To reach out beyond scholarly audiences, Ruth has co-edited (with Agnes Quisumbing) a set of briefs on empowering women to achieve food security, available at:

Mary Njenga is an Urban Harvest researcher based at International Potato Center (CIP)-Nairobi. Mary works mainly with women urban farming groups ensuring that their concerns are brought into CIP's research agenda and she is a devoted member of CIP's Gender & Diversity Task Force. Through her commitment to the farmers, women and men, she has made sure they benefit from training and are linked to ongoing efforts to reform the municipal by-laws affecting urban farming. Find below a paper by Mary and colleagues on analysis of gender roles in resource recovery for urban and peri-urban agriculture in Nairobi:

Cynthia Bantilan is the Global Theme Leader of Markets, Policy and Impacts research theme for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), hosted in India. She specializes in agricultural research evaluation, impact studies, gender and social analysis of poverty and econometrics for decision support. Cynthia led the development of the ICRISAT Policy Document for Mainstreaming HIV/Aids issues in agricultural research for development. Her work on HIV/Aids continues to benefit many women across Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. For more information about Dr. Bantilan's work visit:

Ritu Verma is an anthropologist working for the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute of Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (TSBF-CIAT), hosted in Kenya, researching the dynamics of gender and land tenure in Western Kenya and Madagascar, with a special focus on their effects for soil fertility and the livelihoods of farmers - especially those whose rights to land are contested. Ritu explores gender issues related to climate change, adoption, dis-adoption and rejection of soil fertility technologies and she is putting together an ethnography of gendered scientific practice. Read more at and and ).

Sonii David spearheads the Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP) hosted by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). She has initiated a pilot project on video viewing clubs (VVCs) as a method for training women cocoa farmers on integrated crop and pest management, focusing on areas of particular interest to women such as soil and site selection, nursery management, disease and pest management and post-harvest activities. For more information on the Video Viewing Club for women cocoa farmers, contact Sonii David at To learn more about the STCP program visit:

Susan MacMillan, Margaret MacDonald-Levy, Janice Njoroge and Grace Ndungu are the public awareness gurus of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), based in Kenya and Ethiopia. To commemorate this year's International Women's Day they are highlighting the central role African women livestock-keepers are playing in Africa's renewal and have prepared a series of briefs on the contributions of millions of women livestock farmers who remain the majority of African farmers, the backbone of African agriculture, the food-security managers of African households, and the key to Africa's future. Be sure to see this special feature on ILRI's website: