As part of ongoing work to promote gender integration in the implementation of its Strategic Partnership Grants, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub conducted two gender integration training courses in Malawi: one for NASFAM staff from May 21-22 and the other for groundnut farmers working with NASFAM from May 19-20, 2015.
The objective of the training was to reinforce the importance of gender in farming as a business and to establish the link between gender analysis and aflatoxin management in the groundnut value chain. Training for NASFAM staff introduced them to a set of structured skills they can use to integrate gender considerations into implementation of the Trade Hub grant.
The groundnut farmer training was highly participatory and took farmers through a series of exercises to better understand gender dynamics in their communities and in groundnut production. Exercises included the Gender Action Learning System and the gender-balanced tree, which use drawings and symbols to express various aspects of groundnut production with lanes focusing on individual, household, and community levels. The Chief Executive Officer of NASFAM, Dyborn Chibonga, also attended and participated in the training activities for farmers on the first day.
Both groups of training participants conducted gender activity profiles of the groundnut value chain. Analysis of the gender division of labor in the value chain revealed that activities undertaken by women alone (i.e.: lifting, drying and shelling of groundnuts) carry the highest risk of aflatoxin contamination. Despite the farmers’ extensive technical knowledge of aflatoxin, they had not made the connection that contamination also stems from gender dynamics and the inequitable distribution of labor.
Photo: Cards written in the local language of Chichewa show the intersection between women’s roles in the value chain and levels of aflatoxin contamination