Two Studies from Tanager’s IGNITE Project Published in African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Development

two women and a man working with the IGNITE project stand in a field in Ethiopia

Tanager’s Impacting Gender & Nutrition Through Innovative Technical Exchange in Agriculture (IGNITE) project has just published two research studies in a peer-reviewed journal, “African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Development” (Volume 24, Issue No. 3).  IGNITE is an investment mechanism designed to improve household nutrition and women’s empowerment by strengthening African institutions’ ability to integrate gender and nutrition into their interventions and way of doing business.

“Our research is increasingly showing how gender and nutrition integration in agriculture not only increases agricultural productivity but improves nutrition and increases women’s empowerment. Under IGNITE, we were able to take this one step further. Evidence from IGNITE research is enabling says Maureen Munjua, IGNITE team lead and Kenya country representative for Tanager.

As a principal investigator, Dr. Catherine Macharia-Mutie, IGNITE deputy team leader, was responsible for the study design, including tools development, data collection, data analysis, report development, and the client management process. “IGNITE is proud to share both technical support with clients and, going beyond this, study outputs with different stakeholders,” she says. “Telling the story of smallholder farmers not just as producers but as consumers together with their households is important for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers as we all seek to design interventions that improve the economic and health outcomes of the people we work with.”

The studies continue to inform IGNITE clients, including Sasakawa Africa Association, and other stakeholders on issues related to household decision-making as well as behaviors associated with teff farming and consumption of nutritious diets, Macharia-Mutie adds.

Dr. Sam Oando, IGNITE research manager, observes that research findings are not useful until they are disseminated to the target audience. He underscores that having two articles published in the journal’s special issue on extension models, in partnership with Sasakawa Africa Association and the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services, marks the pinnacle of achieving IGNITE learning outcomes.

The two IGNITE studies in question are:

  1. Integrating nutrition in the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) extension services: Knowledge, attitude, and practices among smallholder farmers. IGNITE has been helping Sasakawa Africa Association to address some of the unique nutritional challenges faced by smallholder farmers and their households in its areas of intervention in Ethiopia. According to the article abstract, “This survey, conducted in the Sasakawa Africa Association intervention areas of the Oromia and Southern Nation Nationalities of Ethiopia, aimed to establish nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices, and how gender influences household food-related decision-making processes

According to the study, women made decisions about intra-household food distribution, preservation, and storage, whereas males were primarily responsible for decisions regarding food produced for the home and market. Both men and women, meanwhile, had inadequate knowledge of biofortified sources of food and its benefits, hindering its uptake.

The study additionally found that promoting fruit and vegetable production in home gardens may be one way of improving household dietary quality as well as empowering women to make more decisions.

Read the journal article authored by Catherine Macharia-Mutie et al.

  1. Intra-household gender dynamics and the adoption of best practices among tefffarmers in Ethiopia. Teff farming is largely dominated by men, with women involved in activities such as weeding by hand or sowing in rows, which is labor-intensive. This study aimed to understand how gender dynamics influence decision-making on the adoption of agricultural best practices for teff farming. These dynamics include, but are not limited to, division of work between women and men, social and cultural norms, and access factors, and access to information..

The study recommends the designing of more gender-sensitive agricultural programs and extension services, which will likely encourage the adoption of best practices for both men and women, increase productivity and income for teff farming households, and empower women.

Read the study findings in the journal article authored by IGNITE learning partner Laterite’s Ioana Lungu et al.