A total of 19 participants drawn from federal and regional PCUs, Ministry of Agriculture, bureaus of Agriculture, Ethiopia Feed the Future (FtF) – Value Chain Activity (VCA), Global Affairs Canada (GAC)/Canada Embassy, and CDSF national and regional specialists participated in the workshop. Meskerem Mulatu, CDSF National Gender and Leadership Specialist facilitated the workshop.
The purpose of the workshop was to review and endorse the Common Interest Group (CIG) Business Guidebook (BGB) and AGP2 Gender Toolkit (GTK) that CDSF has developed in collaboration with federal and regional PCUs and relevant Implementing Agencies (IAs) to support AGP2 implementation. The two reference materials were produced to support Development Agents (DAs) who are responsible for providing agricultural extension support for smallholder farmers, women and youth CIGs.
CDSF developed both reference materials in response to demand from federal and regional AGP PCUs and IAs. The reference materials were originally developed in English then, reviewed, and translated into three local languages; namely Amharic, Afan Oromo and Tigrigna. The materials were also pilot tested in four regions (Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR, Tigray) and enriched based on comments and feedback obtained during the pilot phase.
Meskerem described next steps for the women and youth CIG Business Guidebook including, CDSF’s intention to provide job-embedded support (JES) through our Zonal Capacity Development Officers (ZCDOs). She also recommended that AGP2 Regional PCUs and Cooperative Agencies should plan DA training for effective implementation of the CIG BGB.
Meskerem also discussed the importance of the Gender TKT indicating that it provides ready-reference guide material so that its users can systematically mainstream gender in their activities. The GTK has been produced in two volumes, including:
- Gender Action Learning System (GALS) which was selected because the methodology could be applied to both married women (MW) and female-headed households (FHHs) and men smallholder farmers; and
- Empowering rural women with community consultation
Meskerem emphasized the importance of providing close support provision to ensure successful rollout and utilization of the GTK. CDSF will closely work with F/R AGP2 PCUs and WAD for effective implementation of the toolkit.
Mr. Hamilton reiterated that the CIG BGB and Gender TKT material was developed together with a number of stakeholders, including Federal and Regional AGP2 Program Coordination Units, Women’s Affairs Directorate, Federal Cooperative Agency, CDSF team, and community-level beneficiaries. CDSF provides capacity development support to the F/R AGP2 PCUs and key IAs and the CIG BGB and GTK are very integral to the process.
Tirefessa Lelissa is Gender and Nutrition expert with Oromia AGP PCU. Tirefessa said the following about the CIG Business Guidebook.
“Most CIGs in Oromia, like CIGs elsewhere in the country, lack the knowledge and skills needed to run a successful business. They have not been successful in selecting the right businesses, preparing business plans and creating market linkages. The absence of reference materials for those topic areas exacerbated the problem.
I strongly believe that the CIG Business Guidebook will help contribute to the success of women and youth CIGs. I believe so because I know that the guidebook was prepared based on real problems CIGs have been facing. It was also prepared in such a way that CIG members can easily understand it. DAs have a separate guidebook which they use in supporting the CIGs and that too will contribute to the effectiveness of the CIGs. I also believe the Gender Toolkit will be instrumental in ensuring equal participation and benefit for women and men.
Having said all that, we have to make sure that CIGs at all levels receive copies of the guidebook and see to it that they are properly used.”