By Angelica Senders
Setting: the region of Musanze in the North of Rwanda, a region famous for its potatoes. We are the guests of the Rwandese NGO Imbaraga partner of IFDC in the CATALIST program. This morning we meet with male and female farmers, all active in the potatoes value chain. ‘We’ are professionals involved in the CATALIST 2 program and two gender in value chain trainers from Agri-Profocus. We want to find out how men and particularly women contribute to the quality of potatoes, and what constraints they face. For this purpose we use tools and methodologies from the Agri-ProFocus gender in value chains toolkit the CATALIST staff has just learned during a two-day classroom training. This field work challenges the participants of the training to apply these tools immediately in practice.
After an introduction to the farmers, men and women join separate sessions, facilitated by CATALIST staff. By means of participatory methods using Meta plan cards they analyze their role in the potatoes chain. In a plenary session the results from the discussions in the two groups are compared.
During the afternoon, focus group discussions take place with other value chain actors, like agro-dealers, traders, processors and the government. For the results of the field work see cadre Conclusions.
Gender inequalities in access to and control over resources and decision-making have an impact on the performance of a value chain. It is essential to identify and understand the causes of these inequalities to develop appropriate strategies for the reduction of these inequalities.
CATALIST 2 program aims to ensure that all players in a Mega Cluster (a group of value chains in the same sector) are involved in and benefit from the opportunities and benefits deriving from the development of the Mega Cluster, whether men or women, disregards age group or social category. This central objective can only be achieved if CATALIST teams have the skills and are equipped to apply a gender and socially sensitive approach for the development of value chains.
In this context, CATALIST established links with Agri-ProFocus a network of organizations based in the Netherlands operating in 11 countries in Africa and whose mission is to ensure the promotion of farmer entrepreneurship. APF proposed to facilitate 4 guided analyses of Mega Cluster s in the three countries of intervention CATALIST, namely Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In this Guided Mega Cluster Analysis, theoretical training of CATALIST teams is combined with field work. The objective is twofold: 1) the development of knowledge and skills of the CATALIST teams necessary for gender and socially sensitive value chain development 2) application of the new skills to collect data on social and gender inequalities in selected Mega Clusters and the formulation of appropriate strategies and action plans by the CATALIST teams.
In Rwanda, the Mega Cluster potato in the region around Musanze has been selected as pilot. The methodology will be replicated in the other mega Clusters in which CATALIST works in Rwanda: soy/corn and cassava. The same methodology will be rolled out in other Mega Clusters in Rwanda, Burundi and DRC.